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The Russian Navy or VMF ( ) is the naval arm of the Russian Armed Forces. The international designation of Russian naval vessels is RFS—"Russian Federation Ship".

The present Russian Navy succeeded the Navy of the Commonwealth of Independent States which succeeded the Soviet Navy after the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War in 1991. The regular Russian Navy was originally established by Peter the Great (Peter I) in October of 1696. Ascribed to Peter I is the oft quoted statement: "A ruler that has but an army has one hand, but he who has a navy has both." The symbols of the Russian Navy, the St. Andrew's flag and ensign (seen to the right), and most of its traditions were established personally by Peter I.

The Russian Navy possesses the vast majority of the former Soviet naval forces, and currently comprises the Northern Fleet, the Russian Pacific Fleet, the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the Russian Baltic Fleet, the Russian Caspian Flotilla, Naval Aviation, and the Russian Coastal Troops (consisting of the Naval Infantry (Marines) and Coastal Missile and Artillery Troops).

Recently approved, a rearmament program until 2015 puts, for the first time in Soviet and Russian history, the development of the navy on an equal footing with strategic nuclear forces. The program covering the period until 2015 is expected to replace 45% of the military inventory in the army and navy. Out of 4.9 trillion rubles ($192.16 billion) allocated for military rearmament, 25% will go into building new ships. "We are already building practically as many ships as we did in Soviet times," First Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov said during a visit to Severodvinsk in July 2007, "The problem now is not lack of money, but how to optimize production so that the navy can get new ships three, not five, years after laying them down."


Flag of the Commander-in-Chief, Russian Navy.

The origins of the Russian navy may be traced to the period between the 4th and the 6th century, when Early East Slavs were engaged in a struggle against the Byzantine Empire. The first Slavic flotillas consisted of small sailing ships and rowboats, which had been seaworthy and able to navigate in riverbeds. In the 9th-12th century, there were flotillas in Kievan Rus' consisting of hundreds of vessels with one, two or three mast. The citizens of Novgorodmarker are known to have conducted military campaigns in the Baltic Seamarker (e.g., the siege of Sigtunamarker in 1187). Lad'ya (ладья in Russian, or sea boat) was a typical boat used by the army of Novgorod (length - 30 m, width - 5 to 6 m, 2 or 3 masts, armament - battering rams and catapults, complement - 50 to 60 men). There were also smaller sailboats and rowboats, such as ushkuys (ушкуи) for sailing in rivers, lakes and skerries, kochis (кочи), and nosads (носады), used for cargo transportation.In the 16th-17th century, the Cossacks conducted military campaigns against the Crimean Khanate and Ottoman Empire, using sailboats and rowboats. The Don Cossacks called them strugs (струг). These boats were capable of transporting up to 80 men. The Cossack flotillas numbered 80 to 100 boats.

The centralized Russian state had been fighting for its own access to the Baltic Sea, Black Seamarker and Sea of Azovmarker since the 17th century. By the end of this century, the Russians had accumulated some valuable experience in using riverboats together with land forces. Under Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich construction of the first three-masted ship to be built entirely within Russia was completed in 1636. It was built in Balakhnamarker by Danishmarker shipbuilders from Holstein according to European design and was christened the Frederick. In 1667-1669, the Russians tried to build naval ships in a village of Dedinovo on the shores of the Oka River for the purpose of defending the trade routes along the Volga, which led to the Caspian Seamarker. In 1668, they built a 26-cannon ship Oryol (Орёл, or Eagle), a yacht, a boat with a mast and bowsprit and a few rowboats.

During much of the seventeenth century Russian merchants and Cossacks, using koch boats, sailed across the White Seamarker, exploring the Rivers Lenamarker, Kolyma and Indigirka, and founding settlements in the region of the upper Amurmarker. Unquestionably the most celebrated Russian explorer was Semyon Dezhnev, who, in 1648, sailed the entire length of present-day Russia by way of the Arctic Oceanmarker. Rounding the Chukotsk Peninsulamarker, Dezhnev passed through the Bering Seamarker and sailed into the Pacific Oceanmarker.

The Imperial Russian Navy

The regular Russian Navy was created at the initiative of Peter the Great. During the Second Azov campaign of 1696 against Turkeymarker, the Russians employed for the first time 2 warships, 4 fireships, 23 galleys and 1300 strugs, built on the Voronezh River. After the Azovmarker fortress was taken, at PeterI's request the Boyar Duma understood the vital importance of a navy for successful warfare and passed a decree on commencing the construction of a regular navy on October 20, 1696. This date is considered the official birthday of the regular Russian Navy. In 1700 at Voronezh the first major ships launched for the fledgling Russian Navy - for use with the Azov Fleet - were the 58-gun Goto Predestinatsiya(God's Providence), the 80-gun Staryy Orel(Old Eagle), and the 70-gun Staryy Dub(Old Oak).

During the Great Northern War of 1700-1721, the Russians built the Baltic Fleet and the city of St. Petersburg. In 1703-1723, the main base of the Baltic Fleet was located in St. Petersburgmarker and then in Kronshtadtmarker. Other bases were later established in Vyborgmarker, Helsingforsmarker, Revel(now Tallinn) and Åbomarker. At first, Vladimirskiy Prikaz was in charge of shipbuilding. Later on, these functions were transferred to the Russian Admiraltymarker.

Basic principles of the Russian Navy, its educational and training methods, as well as methods for conducting military action were all summarized in the Naval Regulations [Морской устав] (1720). Peter the Great, Feodor Apraksin, Alexey Senyavin, Naum Senyavin, Mikhail Golitsyn are generally credited for the development of the Russian art of naval warfare. Main principles of naval warfare were further developed by Grigoriy Spiridov, Feodor Ushakov, and Dmitriy Senyavin.

The Russo-Turkish Wars of Catherine the Great resulted in the establishment of the Black Sea Fleet, with its bases in Sevastopolmarker and Khersonmarker. It was at that time that Russian warships started to venture into the Mediterranean on a regular basis. In 1770, Grigoriy Spiridov’s squadron gained supremacy in the Aegean Seamarker by destroying the Turkish fleet in the Battle of Chesma. After having advanced to the Danube, the Russians formed the Danube Military Flotilla for the purpose of guarding the Danube estuary from the Turks.

During the Mediterranean expedition of 1799, Fyodor Ushakov single-handedly carved out the Greek Republic of Seven Islands, proceeding to clear from the French Corfumarker and all the Ionian islandsmarker. His squadron then blocked the French bases in Italymarker, notably Genoamarker and Anconamarker, and successfully assaulted Naplesmarker and Romemarker. Ushakov, proclaimed a patron saint of the Russian Navy in the 21st century, was succeeded in command by Dmitriy Senyavin who reasserted Russian control of the southern Adriaticmarker, disrupted Dubrovnikmarker's sea trade, and destroyed the Ottoman Fleet in the Battle of Athos (1807). Between 1803 and 1855, Russian sailors undertook over 40 circumnavigations and distant voyages, which played an important role in exploration of the Far East and culminated in Faddey Bellingshausen's discovery of Antarcticamarker.

Notwithstanding these triumphs, Russia’s slow technical and economic development in the first half of the 19th century caused her to fall behind other world powers in the field of steamboat construction. It was in 1826 that the Russians built their first armed steamboat Izhora. At the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1853, steamships were few and sailing ships heavily predominated. The Battle of Sinope, won by Pavel Nakhimov, is remembered in history as the last significant naval battle involving sailing ships. During the Siege of Sevastopol in 1854-1855, Russian sailors set an example of using all means possible for defending their base from land and sea. Although the Russians introduced modern naval mining in the Baltic and repelled the Siege of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy in the Pacific, Sevastopol was finally surrendered on honourable terms. In accordance with the Treaty of Paris, Russia lost its right to have a military fleet in the Black Sea.

As a consequence, the Russian sailing fleet lost its significance and was rapidly replaced by steamboats, including the first steel armored gunship Opyt and one of the first seafaring ironclads Pyotr Velikiy. On January 16, 1877 Admiral Stepan Makarov became the first to launch torpedoes from a boat in combat. He also proposed the idea and oversaw the construction of the world's first ocean-going icebreaker "Yermak", commanding it in two Arctic expeditions in 1899 and 1901. At about the same time, Aleksey Krylov elaborated the modern floodability theory.

The Russian Navy was considered the third strongest in the world on the eve of the Russo-Japanese War, which turned to be a catastrophe for the Russian military in general and the Russian Navy in particular. Although neither party lacked courage, the Russians were defeated by the Japanese in the Battle of Port Arthurmarker, which was the first time in warfare that mines were used for offensive purposes. The warships of the Baltic Fleet sent to the Far East were lost in the Battle of Tsushimamarker.

Soon after the war Russia devoted a significant portion of its military spending to an ambitious shipbuilding program aimed at replacing lost warships with modern dreadnoughts. During World War I, the fleets played a limited role in the Eastern Front, due to heavy defensive and offensive mining on both sides. Characteristically, the Black Sea Fleet succeeded in mining the Bosporusmarker, thus preventing the Ottoman Fleet from entering the Black Sea. After the revolution forced Russia to quit the war, the Baltic Fleet was evacuated from Helsinkimarker and Tallinnmarker to Kronshtadt during the Ice Cruise of the Baltic Fleet and many of the ships of the Black Sea Fleet found their last refuge in Bizerte.

The Soviet Navy

For the most part, Russian sailors welcomed the Russian Revolution of 1917, in which they participated. Earlier, in 1905, sailors of the Imperial Russian battleship Potemkin in the Black Sea Navy revolted. In 1906 rebellious soldiers gained control of some Helsinkimarker coastal fortifications during events known as the Viapori Rebellion, which was subsequently put down, following bombardments from ships of the Baltic Fleet which remained loyal to the Tsarist government. The first ship of the Soviet Navy could be considered to be the rebellious Imperial Russianmarker cruiser Avroramarker, whose blank shot from a forecastle gun signaled the October Revolution. In March 1921, the sailors of Kronshtadtmarker rebelled against the Bolsheviks, demanding freedom of speech and closing of concentration camps, but this belated revolt was ruthlessly suppressed by Leon Trotsky.After the Revolution, the Navy's restoration was slow, and only with the beginning of industrialisation in 1930 was a large shipbuilding program developed, but not accomplished before the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. As a result, the Soviet Navy during World War II consisted of some old World War I-era ships, some modern pre-war built cruisers and destroyers, and a number of torpedo boats.

Unfortunately for the Soviets, much of their fleet on the Baltic Sea was blocked in Leningradmarker and Kronshtadtmarker by Finnish and German minefields during 1941–1944 and maimed by mines and air attacks, nevertheless numerous sorties by attack boats and submarines actions were held. On the Black sea with the loss of main naval base - Sevastopol, and effective actions of axis aviation as well as minefields navy limited the efficiency of large surface ships. The Northern Fleet, composed mostly of destroyers (World War I Novik-class and more modern project 7 and 7u vessels), played a major role in anti-aircraft and anti-submarine defence of allied convoys heading to Murmansk.

During the Cold War, the Soviets gave their navy a number of missions, in addition to its role as one of the legs of the nuclear triad, the navy was supposed to destroy American SSBNs and carrier groups, interdict NATO lines of communications, and assist the ground forces incontinental theatre offensives. They were quick to equip their surface fleet with missiles of various sorts. In fact, it became a hallmark of Soviet design to place large anti-ship missiles onto relatively small and fast missile boats. The Soviet Navy also possessed several very large guided missile cruisers with great firepower, such as those of the Kirov class and the Slava class cruisers. In the 1980s the Soviet Navy acquired its first true aircraft carrier, Tbilisi (subsequently renamed Admiral Kuznetsovmarker).

In some respects, including speed and reactor technology later Soviet submarines were, and remain, some of the world's best. Their primary shortcomings were insufficient noise damping (American boats were quieter) and sonar technology. The Soviets possessed numerous purpose-built guided missile submarines, such as the Oscar class, as well as many ballistic missile submarines, such has the Delta class submarines, and attack submarines, such as the Victor and Akula class submarines. The Soviet Navy's Typhoon class boats are the world's largest submarines. The Soviet attack submarine force was, like the rest of the navy, geared towards the interception of NATO convoys, but also targeted American aircraft carrier battle group.

Today: Russian Navy once again

The dissolution of the Soviet Union led to a severe decline in the Russian Navy. Defense expenditure was severely reduced. Many ships were scrapped or laid up as accommodation ships at naval bases, and the building program was essentially stopped. However Sergey Gorshkov's buildup during the Soviet period had emphasised ships over support facilities, and Gorshkov had also retained ships in service that were beyond their effective lifetimes, so a reduction was due anyway. What made matters worse was the impractical variety of vessels which the Soviet military-industrial complex, with the support of the leadership, forced on the navy - taking modifications into account, the Soviet Navy in the mid 1980s had nearly 250 different ship types. The Kiev class aircraft carrying cruisers and many other ships were prematurely retired, and the incomplete Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier Varyagmarker was eventually sold to the People's Republic of Chinamarker. Funds were only allocated for the completion of ships ordered prior to the collapse of the USSR, as well as for refits and repairs on fleet ships taken out of service since. However, the construction times for these ships tended to stretch out extensively: in 2003 it was reported that the Akula class SSN Nerpa had been under construction for fifteen years. Storage of decommissioned nuclear submarines in ports such as Murmanskmarker became a significant issue, with the Bellona Foundation reporting details of lowered readiness. Naval bases outside Russia, such as Cam Ranh Baymarker in Vietnam, were gradually closed, with the exception of the bases in the Crimeamarker, leased from Ukrainemarker to support the Black Sea Fleet, and the modest technical support base in Tartus, Syria to support ships deployed to the Mediterranean. Naval Aviation declined as well from its height as Soviet Naval Aviation, dropping from an estimated 60,000 personnel with some 1,100 combat aircraft in 1992 to 35,000 personnel with around 270 combat aircraft in 2006. In 2002, out of 584 naval aviation crews only 156 were combat ready, and 77 ready for night flying. Average annual flying time was 21.7 hours, compared to 24 hours in 1999. However since 2002 these figures may have improved .

Training and readiness also suffered severely. In 1995 only two missile submarines at a time were being maintained on station, from the Northern and Pacific Fleets. The decline culminated in the loss of the Oscar II class Kursk submarine during the Northern Fleet summer exercise that was intended to back up the publication of a new naval doctrine. The exercise, involving some 30 submarines and surface ships, was to have culminated with the deployment of the Admiral Kuznetsovmarker task group to the Mediterranean.

As of 2006, The Russian Navy has 50 nuclear submarines with only 26 operational compared to 170 vessels in 1991. The Navy plans to reduce the number to 20 submarines, including ten strategic missile submarines and ten multi-purpose (attack) submarines, according to unofficial reports.

As of February 2008, The Russian Navy had: 44 nuclear submarines with 24 operational; 19 diesel-electric submarines - 16 operational; and 56 first and second rank surface combatants - 37 operational.

Admiral Popov (Ret.), former commander of the Russian Northern Fleet, said that the Russian Navy will greatly decline in combat capabilities by 2015 if the current rate of new ship construction remains unchanged, due to the retirement of ocean going ships.


Recruitment is a mixture of conscripts serving two year terms and volunteers (Officers and Ratings). In 2004 the Navy had about 160,000 sailors. By 2006 the IISS estimate of strength was 142,000. As of 2008 the conscription term was reduced to one year and a major downsizing reorganization was underway.

The headquarters of the Russian Navy (Russian Navy Main Staff) is located in Moscow. In 2008, plans were announced to move the headquarters to The Admiralty in St. Petersburg, the historic location of the Imperial Russian Navy.

The Russian Navy consists of four fleets and one flotilla (in chronological order):

  • The Pacific Fleet, established on 10 May 1731 and is headquartered in Vladivostok and based around Vladivostokmarker and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiymarker. As of early 2008 the fleet had: 22 submarines (15 nuclear), including 4 Delta III class ballistic missile submarines, 5 Oscar class cruise missile submarines, 6 Akula class attack submarines, and 7 Kilo class diesel-electric submarines. The major surface combatants included: one Slava class cruiser Varyag; four Udaloy class destroyers Marshal Shaposhnikov, ADM Tributs, ADM Vinogradov, and ADM Panteleyev; 3 Sovremennyy class destroyers Burnyy, Bystryy, and Bezboyaznennyy. There are also 30 coastal combatants, eight mine warfare vessels, four amphibious ships, and 57 logistics and support vessels.

  • The Russian Northern Fleet, established as a modern formation in 1933, is headquartered at Severomorskmarker and spread around various bases in the Murmanskmarker area. This is the main fleet of the Russian Navy and as of 2004 consisted of about 55,000 service personnel. In early 2008, the Fleet had: 11 nuclear-powered ballistic missile (SSBN)submarines, of which two were in reserve; 23 general purpose submarines: 16 nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) and nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines (SSGN) and 7 attack submarines (SSK). It also had 11 major surface combatants, including: Admiral Kuznetsov; two Kirov class nuclear-powered cruiser Petr Velikiy and Admiral Nakhimov; one Slava class cruiser Marshal Ustinov; five Udaloy class destroyers - Vice Admiral Kulakov, Severomorsk, Admiral Levchenko, Admiral Kharlamov, and Admiral Chabanenko; two Sovremennyy class destroyers Gremyashchiy and Admiral Ushakov. There are also an estimated 26 patrol and coastal combatants, 18 mine warfare vessels, eight amphibious ships, and 130+ logistics and support ships and craft. As of February 2008 the Russian Northern Fleet had: 11 ballistic missile submarines of the Delta III, Typhoon, and Delta IV class (of which 2 were in reserve and 2 in overhaul); 23 general purpose submarines, including 11 nuclear powered attack submarines (SSN) of the Victor III, Sierra I, Sierra II, and Akula I and II classes; 5 nuclear powered cruise missile submarines (SSGN) of the Oscar II class; and 7 diesel-electric submarines (SS) of the Kilo Class.


Soviet/Russian navy 1985-2010

The recent improvement in the Russian economy has led to a significant rise in defence expenditure and an increase in numbers of ships under construction, focusing on submarines, such as the conventional Petersburg class and nuclear Severodvinsk class. Some older ships have been refitted as well. Jane's Fighting Ships commented in 2004 that the construction programme was too focused on Cold War scenarios, given the submarine emphasis. The Steregushchiy class corvettes, the lead ship of which was laid down on 21 December 2001, is the first new surface construction since the collapse of the Soviet Union, while the new Admiral Sergei Gorshkov class frigates marks the first attempt of the Navy to return to the construction of large blue water capable vessels.

In 2005 it was announced that the Russian Navy planned a class of 2-4 new aircraft carriers which could start construction in 2013-14 for initial service entry in 2017. Jane's said it was not clear whether 'this was a funded programme'. New amphibious ships are planned as well. In mid-2007 the new Navy chief announced plans to reform the country's naval forces and build a blue-water navy with the world's second largest fleet of aircraft carriers, aiming to create 6 aircraft carrier strike groups in the next 20 years.

In 2002, British commentators said that economic situation 'makes most of these plans look unrealistic for the immediate and mid term future.' However whether this is still accurate is uncertain. In 2002 also the nuclear deterrent force was reported to be in trouble. Three new SSBNs are now under construction, (the Dolgorukiy class SSBN), but the first has been under construction since 1996- its completion was expected in 2008. The lead Dolgorukiy Class unit Yuriy Dolgorukiy was launched in April 2007 and began sea trials in June 2009. The fourth unit is scheduled to be laid down on 21 December 2009. The mainstay of the SSBN force, the Delta IVs, joined the fleet in 1985-91. Apparently while the service life of an SSBN normally is twenty to twenty-five years, without maintenance, it may be as short as ten to fifteen years.

On September 24, 2008, Moscowmarker a Russian lawmaker said that Russia could offer Ukraine contracts to build aircraft carriers for the Russian Navy. He commented on Russian Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov's statement on Tuesday that Russia could make several lucrative proposals to Ukraine that could convince Kiev to allow Russia's Black Sea Fleet to remain in Sevastopol after 2017, when the lease on the naval base in the Crimea expires. "We can offer Ukraine extensive and lucrative opportunities in the sphere of shipbuilding. They have the Nikolaev shipyards that used to build aircraft carriers during Soviet times," said Vyacheslav Popov, a former commander of the Northern Fleet who now sits in the upper house of parliament. These shipyards are bankrupt and abandoned at present and with mutual consent we could help reactivate them," Popov said.

Russia currently does not have a facility capable of building aircraft carriers. The most promising sites for a future such facility are either St. Petersburg or Severodvinsk but significant capital improvements would be required.

In September 2009, russian officials confirmed talks with France about purchasing units of the Mistral class amphibious assault ship. Another option was reported to be the Dutch Rotterdam class amphibious transport dock. (JDW 9 September 2009) Some Russian military experts have questioned the purchase both from the financial and military standpoint.

Expeditions and Increase in Activity

In the last years of the 1990s naval activity was very low. Even at the height of the Kosovo war crisis a planned task group deployment to the Mediterranean was reduced to the dispatch of the intelligence ship Liman.2003 saw a major increase in activity, including several major exercises. A May joint exercise with the Indian Navy saw two Pacific Fleet destroyers and four vessels from the Black Sea Fleet, led by the Slava-class cruiser Moskva, deployed for three months into the Indian Ocean. The largest out-of-area deployment for a decade, the INDRA 2003 exercise, was highlighted by a series of missile launches by two Tu-160s and four Tu-95s, which made a 5,400 mile round trip flight from Engels-2marker air base near Saratovmarker to the exercise area. In August 2003 the Navy also participated in the Far Eastern exercise Vostok-2003, which saw the Slava-class cruiser Varyag and the Sovremennyy class destroyer Bystryy active, as well as an amphibious landing carried out by three Pacific Fleet Ropucha class LSTs. Warships and helicopters from the Japanese and South Korean navies also took part. The Northern Fleet followed in January 2004 when thirteen ships and seven submarines took part in exercises in the Barents Sea. The involvement of Admiral Kuznetsov and Kirov-class nuclear-powered cruiser Petr Velikiy was overshadowed however by two ballistic missile launch failures, made more embarrassing because President Vladimir Putin was afloat aboard the Typhoon-class SSBN Arkhangelsk to witness the tests. Neither of the Delta IV-class Novomoskovsk nor Kareliya were able to successfully launch what were apparently RSM-54 SLBMs. Former Navy Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Kuroyedov's early dismissal may have resulted from these gaffes. He was replaced by Admiral Vladimir Masorin in September 2005.

Embarrassment for the Navy had unfortunately continued, with a mine accident during rehearsals for the Baltic Fleet's celebration of Navy Day in St. Petersburg in July 2005 and the Priz class mini-submarine AS-28 having to be rescued by a joint British/U.S. effort using a Royal Navy unmanned submersible in the Far East in early August 2005. However exercises and operations continued - Peace Mission 2005 in August 2005 involved a new level of cooperation between Russia and the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy. Two months later the Slava-class cruiser Varyag led Russian participation in INDRA 2005, held off Vishakapatnammarker between 14 and 20 October 2005. It included surface firings, air defence, and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercises.

Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy became Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy on September 11, 2007, having moved up from the Northern Fleet, which he had commanded since September 2005.

On October 16, 2008, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament said that Russia could resume a naval presence in Yemenmarker. Authorities in the Middle East country had been calling on Moscow to help fight piracy and possible terrorist threats. The U.S.S.R. had a major naval support base in the former socialist state of South Yemen, which merged with North Yemen in 1990 to form the present-day Yemen. Speaking to journalists in Sanamarker, the capital of Yemen, Federation Council Speaker Sergey Mironov said the new direction of Russia's foreign and defense policies and an increase in its naval missions would be taken into consideration when making a decision on the request. "It's possible that the aspects of using Yemen ports not only for visits by Russian warships, but also for more strategic goals will be considered," he said.

Mironov also said a visit to Russia by the president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, could take place in the near future and that the issue of military technical cooperation could be raised during his visit.

North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea

  • In February 2008 a Russian naval task force completed a two-month deployment in the Mediterranean Seamarker and the North Atlanticmarker which started on December 4, 2007. The operation was the first large-scale Russian Navy deployment to the Atlantic and the Mediterranean in 15 years. The task force included the Kuznetsov-Class aircraft carrier Kuznetsov, the Udaloy-Class destroyers Admiral Levchenko and Admiral Chabanenko, and the Slava-Class guided missile cruiser Moskva, as well as auxiliary vessels. During the operation the navy practiced rescue and counter-terror operations, reconnaissance, and missile and bomb strikes on the (theoretical) enemy's naval task force. Over 40 Russian Air Force aircraft took part in joint exercises with the navy as well. Vice-Admiral Nikolay Maksimov, the Northern Fleet commander, said during the operations that the deployment was aimed at ensuring Russia's naval presence "in key operational areas of the world's oceans" and establishing conditions for secure Russian maritime navigation. "After this visit to the Mediterranean and France, the first in 15 years, we will establish a permanent presence in the region" he said. Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy summed up the results in February saying: "What is important is that we have appeared [in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean] at a scheduled time and not just that we appeared there. We'll do all we can to build up our presence where Russia has strategic interests", adding that Russia intended to carry out similar missions once every six months.

  • In October, 2008, a naval task group from the Northern Fleet, comprising the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiymarker, the large ASW ship Admiral Chabanenko, and support ships, left their homeport of Severomorsk in northern Russia on September 22 and is currently in the northern Atlantic, having covered a distance of 1,000 nautical miles (2,000 km) in a week. "Having some spare time before a joint exercise with the Venezuelan navy, which is planned for November 2008, the warships will perform a number of tasks in the Mediterranean Sea and visit several Mediterranean ports, including Tripoli," the Navy's press service said in a statement. Russian warships are scheduled to participate in joint naval exercises with the Venezuelan navy in the Caribbean on November 10-14, in line with the 2008 training program, and in order to expand military cooperation with foreign navies. These exercises actually took place on 1 December.

  • October 11, 2008, Russian warships bound for Venezuela, including the nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great), put in Saturday at the Libyan port of Tripoli for refuelling.

  • From Venezuela the Petr Velikiy proceeded to a port call in Capetown, South Africa, then participated in the INDRA-2009 exercise off western India, briefly engaged in counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, and returned to its homeport of Severomorsk in March 2009.


  • In September 2008 It has been reported that Russia and Syria are conducting talks about permitting Russia to develop and enlarge the base in order to establish a stronger naval presence in the Mediterranean., and amidst the deteriorating Russia relations with the west in conjunction with the 2008 South Ossetia war‎ and the plans to deploy US missile defense shield in Poland, it has even been asserted that president Assad has agreed to Tartusmarker port’s conversion into a permanent Middle East base for Russia’s nuclear-armed warships. Moscowmarker and Damascusmarker additionally announced that it would be renovating the port, although there was no mention in the Syrian press. On September 19, ten Russian warships haved docked in Tartus,Syria. According to Lebanese-Syrian commentator Joseph Farah the flotilla which has been moved to Tartus consists of the Moskva cruiser and four nuclear missile submarines. According to Farah upgrades of the port facilities are already under way. Since 1992 the port has been in disrepair with only one of its three floating piers remaining operational,but the facilities now are being restored.

  • On September 22, 2008, Russian Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said the nuclear-powered Peter the Great cruiser, accompanied by three other ships, sailed from the Northern Fleet's base of Severomorskmarker. The ships will cover about 15,000 nautical miles to conduct joint maneuvers with the Venezuelan navy. Dygalo refused to comment on Monday's report in the daily Izvestia claiming that the ships were to make a stopover in the Syrian port of Tartus on their way to Venezuelamarker. Russian officials said the Soviet-era base there was being renovated to serve as a foothold for a permanent Russian navy presence in the Mediterranean.

Caribbean Sea

  • On September 8, 2008, it was announced that the Pyotr Velikiy would sail to the Caribbean Seamarker in order to participate in naval exercises with the Venezuelan Navy. This action would represent the first major Russian show of force in that sea since the end of the Cold War. On 22 September the Kirov-Class nuclear missile cruiser Petr Velikiy and the Udaloy-Class large anti-submarine ship Admiral Chabanenko, accompanied by support vessels, left their homeport of Severomorsk for naval exercises with Venezuela scheduled for early November 2008.

East Africa: Somalian Coast

  • On September 24, 2008, the Russian Neustrashimyy left its home base at Baltiysk, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, for counter-piracy operations near the Somali coast, said Russian Navy spokesman Captain 1st Rank Igor Dygalo. . (The Ukrainian merchant vessel Faina was seized by Somali pirates on 25 September. The deployment of the Neustrashimyy was not in response to the seizure of the Faina.)

  • On September 26, 2008, a Russian warship was rushed to intercept a Ukrainian vessel carrying 33 battle tanks and a hoard of ammunition that was seized by pirates off the Horn of Africa — a bold hijacking that again heightened fears about surging piracy and high-seas terrorism. The Ukrainian vessel Faina was manned by 17 Ukrainians and 3 Russians, and one Lithuanian was bound for Kenya.

  • In October 22, 2008, The Neustrashimyy frigate had passed through the Suez Canal on its way to join an international naval group fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia, a senior Navy official said.

  • On November 19, 2008, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Vysotskiy, speaking to the official news agency, RIA Novosti, stated that the Russian Navy would send additional vessels to the area.

  • On December 28, 2008, the Neustrashimyy entered Aden, Yemen, for a three day stay to replenish and provide for crew rest. The Udaloy I class destroyer Admiral Vinogradov will continue to fight piracy in January, according to a Russian Defense Ministry source.

  • On January 2, 2009, the Neustrashimyy met with the Pacific Fleet's Admiral Vinogradov and other ships south of the island of Socotra. Information on counter-piracy operations was exchanged between staff officers.

  • From January 11 through 17 March 2009, the Admiral Vinogradov took up the counter-piracy mission from the Neustrashimyy and upon completion took a course home to Vladivostok by way of a port visit to Djakarta, Indonesia 24-28 March 2009.

  • From 26 April through 7 June 2009, the Pacific Fleet destroyer Admiral Panteleyev took up counter-piracy duties in the Gulf of Aden, having left Vladivostok at the end of March 2009 to relieve the Admiral Vinogradov. It returned to Vladivostok on 1 July.

  • On 29 June 2009, the Pacific Fleet destroyer Admiral Tributs was preparing to depart Vladivostok to relieve Admiral Panteleyev for counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. Depending on the situation, the deployment could last from two to six months.

Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea

  • On 11 January, 2009, Army General Makarov - Chief of the Russian General Staff - announced that the Kirov class nuclear-powered cruiser Petr Velikiy and five other ships would take part in exercises with the Indian Navy in late January 2009

Lists of Russian Navy ships

References and sources

  1. RIA Novosti - Opinion & analysis - Unmanned aerial vehicles increase in numbers
  2. Russia's Navy gets ambitious Russian News & Information Agency
  3. The NAVY of the Russian Empire, St. Petersburg, 1996
  4. The date is based on the citation from the decision of the Boyar Duma ( ) dated 20th October 1696 "Sea vessels there shall be..." ("Морским судам быть....") although the question was addressing the settlement of the Azov and the creation of the Sea of Azov fleet. This date was confirmed by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation on July 22 1992 during preparations for the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Russian Navy.
  5. B N Makeyev, Voyenno-Morskiye Aspekty Natsionalnoy Bezopasnosti Rossii, Moscow: Komitet po Nerasprostraneniya i Kriticheskim Tekhnologiyam, 1997, p25, cited in Mikhail Tsypkin, Rudderless in a Storm: The Russian Navy 1992-2002, B58, Conflict Studies Research Centre, RMA Sandhurst, December 2002
  6. " The Self-Designing High-Reliability Organization: Aircraft Carrier Flight Operations at Sea." Rochlin, G. I.; La Porte, T. R.; Roberts, K. H. Footnote 39. Naval War College Review. Autumn, 1987, Vol. LI, No. 3.
  7. CSRC B58
  8. Captain First Rank S Topichev, 'What Fleet we had and how it should be reformed today', Morskoy sbornik (in Russian), No.12, 1996, p.13, cited in Greg Austin & Alexey Muraviev, The Armed Forces of Russia in Asia, I.B. Tauris, London, 2000, p.209
  9. Foreword to Jane's Fighting Ships 2003-2004, p.80
  10. IISS Military Balance, 1992-93 and 2006 editions
  11. Mikhail Khodarenok, 'Chernyy god Rossiyskogo Flota', NVO, 23 February 2001, cited in Mikhail Tsypkin, 'Rudderless in a Storm, CSRC B58, December 2002
  12. IISS Military Balance 1997/98, p.102
  13. Foreword to Jane's Fighting Ships 2001-02, p.80
  14. 3rd Atomic Submarine of the 4th Generation to be Ready in 5 years (Kommersant)
  15. Kommersant VLAST No.7(760) 25 February 2008
  16. Russian Navy could be in dire straits by 2015 - expert
  18. Kommersant VLAST No.7/2008 25 Feb 2008
  19. IISS Military Balance 2006, Routledge, 2006, p.162
  20. Foreword to Jane's Fighting Ships 2004-2005, p.30
  21. Foreword to Jane's Fighting Ships, 2002-2003, p.79
  23. Interfax, Russia Developing New Aircraft Carrier, May 15, 2005,
  24. Opinion & analysis: Will Russia create the world's second largest surface navy? RIA Novosti Retrieved on April 11, 2008
  25. Mikhail Tsypkin, Rudderless in a Storm: The Russian Navy 1992-2002, B58, Conflict Studies Research Centre, RMA Sandhurst, December 2002, p.13
  26. Rossiyskaya Gazeta Online Retrieved on June 21, 2009
  27. Interfax-AVN Online Retrieved 26 June 2009
  31. Foreword to Jane's Fighting Ships, 2004-05, p.29
  32. Jane's Fighting Ships, 2004-05, p.29
  33. Jane's Fighting Ships , 2006-7, p.33
  34. Russian Ministry of Defence, Navy Commander-in-Chief, accessed December 2007
  36. Russian Mediterranean Naval Build-Up Challenges NATO Sixth Fleet Domination - Defense Update News Analysis
  37. Over 40 Russian planes to take part in naval drills in Atlantic RIA Novosti Retrieved on April 11, 2008
  38. Thirty Russian aircraft take part in exercises over two oceans RIA Novosti Retrieved on April 11, 2008
  39. Russia to build up presence in global ocean - navy commander, RIA Novosti, Retrieved on April 11, 2008
  43. David R. Sands, "Russia Expanding Navy into Mediterranean Sea", The Washington Times, August 7, 2007.
  44. “Syria and Russia strengthen naval cooperation” Itar-Tass news agency via Haaretz, retrieved September 12, 2008
  45. Reuters: Russia says to send battleship to Caribbean Sea
  46. [ITAR-TASS 1007GMT 22 Sep 2008]
  48. Moscow Interfax-Agenstvo Voyennykh Novostey 24 Sep 2008
  50. London 13 Nov 2008
  54. Moscow ITAR-TASS 1557 GMT 30 Dec 2008
  55. Moscow INTERFAX 1420 GMT 24 Dec 2008
  56. Moscow INTERFAX 1650 GMT 2 Jan 2008
  57. Moscow ITAR-TASS 1754 GMT 11 Jan 2008, Moscow INTERFAX 1641 GMT 11 Jan 2008
  62. Moscow ITAR-TASS 1125 GMT 11 Jan 09

Further reading

  • Reuben Johnson, 'Russian Navy 'faces irreversible collapse,' Jane's Defence Weekly, 15 July 2009, and link to original Russian article at [46705]

See also

External links

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