21 October 2010

Anniversary Of Russia's Navy Celebrated

Russia's navy celebrated its birth yesterday.
October 20th marks the birth of the Russian naval fleet. More than three centuries ago, Emperor Peter the Great ordered shipbuilders to start building naval ships. The Boyar Duma passed a resolution to that effect on October 20th 1696. Immediately the country’s top ship-builders flocked to Voronezh, where ships of the first naval flotilla – “Apostle Peter” and “Apostle Paul” – were built under the supervision of Dutch experts.

Russia’s first attempt at creating a flotilla of its own dates back to the early 17th century, when the country’s first tsar of the Romanov dynasty – Mikhail Romanov – invited Danish shipbuilders to build a three-mast vessel based on a European model. The resulting ship, “Frederic”, was short-lived. Shortly after setting sail, it sank in a storm. A bit later, an Astrakhan boyar, Afanasiy Ordin-Nashchokin, built a naval frigate but its life was equally short. Built in the heat of the Cossack uprising led by Stepan Razin, the frigate was plundered and burnt by the insurgents.

The third attempt to build a regular fleet was made by Peter the Great. Historian Vladimir Ovchinnikov has this to say.

After the failure of the Azov campaign in 1695, it became clear that a fleet was crucial in naval warfare. With the arrival of the first ships in 1696, the Azov Fortress was successfully captured, and the emperor issued a decree to build a regular fleet.

Russia’s first shipyards came into being in the Baltic Sea a few years later. Simultaneously, there appeared the Baltic fleet, based in St.Petersburg. At the end of the 18th century, following Russo-Turkish wars for supremacy in the Black Sea, Russia acquired the Black Sea fleet. Until the early 20th century Russia’s naval fleet was the third largest after Britain and France. After a fiasco in the 1904-05 war with Japan and losses in the First World War, the October Revolution and the Civil War, the Russian fleet saw a decline but regained its bygone might under the Soviet government and played a significant role in the Second World War.

Today, having survived the collapse of the Soviet Union and after losing a number of naval bases, the Russian navy is rising up again. By 2020 the Black Sea fleet is to be provided with 15 military frigates and non-nuclear submarines. Deputy Chairman of parliamentary defense committee Yuri Sovenko comments.

Russia’s naval fleet is combat ready, fully prepared for any missions in any corner of the world. We have got orders for new warships, and new nuclear subs come off shipping lines regularly. Russian military ships escort civilian vessels in pirate-infested areas.

Since it was built three centuries ago Russia’s naval fleet has proved its vast potential and will continue to pursue important missions in the future.
By: Shelldrake

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