Russian Naval Bases


The Russian Empire was direct descendant of the landlocked Grand Duchy of Muscovy. What the Tsar IV the Terrible failed to achieve was achieved by Peter I the Great who made Grand Duchy into Russian Empire and gained Russian access to Baltic Sea and Black Sea and founded the Russian Imperial Navy. Russian Imperial Navy achieved many victories and many defeats and by the beginning of the 20th century could compete with major rival navies in Europe. After the Bolshevik coup of the 1917 the Imperial Navy became Soviet Navy. It lost very valuable ports in Baltic’s and Finland and barely survived the German offensive in 1941-1942. The victory in the World War II brought Russia new fruits as the Baltic States ports were regained and German East Prussia was annexed by USSR. As Soviet Union set new path of confrontation of the Western block it the Navy experienced a technical and numerical expansion  and was active on all oceans of the world and had net of overseas support bases. The 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union was catastrophic for the Soviet Navy. Once again the ports in the Baltic States were lost, important naval bases in Black Sea were lost to Ukraine and Georgia. Also Caspian Sea ports became property of the Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Only two Fleets that did not lost a single port were Pacific and Northern Fleet. The overseas naval support bases such as in Cuba were closed. Perhaps the most dramatic was the general downsize of the Soviet navy. Large number of ships and submarines had to be salvaged or even sold as the new Russian Federation could not afford to fully maintain the soviet inherited navy.

Despite the great issues, the new Russian Navy (Военно-морской Флот Российской Федерации (ВМФ России) faced it kept the Northern Fleet, Baltic Fleet, Caspian Flotilla and the Pacific Fleet. It also kept its naval support base in Tartus Syria. Since 2014 when Russia entered a new era of confrontation against NATO block the navy is on the verge of revival and activities have resumed. The melting of the Arctic ice fields has increased the importance of the Northern Fleet. Russia has used brutal force to keep its Naval presence in Crimea and currently is very active in Mediterranean sea.

On September 30, 2015 Russian Federation has started its intervention into the Syrian Civil War. Coming from the Black Sea bases, including  the occupied Crimea, Russian activity in Mediterranean became all-time high since the 5th Operational Squadron disbandment in 1992. From Kashin-class Smetlivy, commissioned in 1969, to Zeleny Dol, commissioned in late 2015 – a large number of ship classes was showcased within the newly formed Permanent Naval Group in the Mediterranean Sea.

In November 2016 North Fleet’s aircraft-carrying missile cruiser Kuznetsov began its second, widely observed deployment to Syria in 2010s, which ended in the following February. Having navigated 18,000 naval mines, the carrier lost 2 fighter planes due to non-combat accidents.

The question is – is Russian Navy able to  maintain adequate presence in its operational areas (Pacific, North, Baltic, Black Sea fleets and also Caspian and Mediterranean flotillas) without overreaching and withdrawing valuable assets from their usual place of deployment, like in the case of Kuznetsov? In any case, Russian diplomacy supports the affairs of its military, and vice versa.

The modern Russian Navy rests on the shoulders of the Soviet Navy. The latter became a subject of reduction in 1990s. The Black Sea fleet was slowly and painfully divided between Ukraine and Russia. 2 unfinished project 1143 aircraft missile cruisers were sold to India and China, and another one was dismantled. A lot of ships became undercrewed and neglected, as the new economy was unable to support this size of the fleet anymore.

However, Russia continued to build and refurbish nuclear-powered submarines. Its modern Navy is still following the doctrine of the Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union, Sergei Gorshkov. Under his command, in order to counter the operators of fixed-wing aircraft carrying ships,  the Soviet Navy was concentrating on commissioning more nuclear powered submarines and guided missile surface ships, cruisers and destroyers (usually designated as guard or anti-submarine ships in the Soviet terminology). Additional support was granted by the land-based long range aviation.

Over time, Russian Navy tried to gain more naval air capability, along with more aircraft-oriented Kuznetsov (compared to its predecessors) and an attempted acquisition of French Mistral-class amphibious assault ships (which was hindered by the sanctions related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine), but the core of its fleet remains the same.

Currently, Russia continues to operate Cold War-era ship and builds several new classes of small guided missile ships, corvettes and frigates.

Russian navy is heard everyday on shortwave radio nets, it always makes headlines in the security news feeds and Russian government has placed a tough, but ambitious task to revive Russian Navy to its former glory. For this reason we present you a map of the all known currently used Russian naval objects as well as the Naval infantry, Naval Aviation. Also the map includes the known locations of the Russian Naval ground stations and hydrographic stations that are used in communication with ships and they known callsigns as provided by trusted sources.

 

 

 

Sources:

Воинские части в городах

Wikimapia

Russian Navy Callsigns

 

 

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