Wednesday, May 2, 2012

300th Anniversary of the Russian Navy

The Russian Navy is the naval arm of the Russian Military. The present Russian Navy was formed in January 1992, succeeding the Navy of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which had itself succeeded the Soviet Navy following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The first Russian Navy was established by Peter the Great (Peter I) in October 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 international designation of Russian naval vessels is RFS — Russian Federation Ship.
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 Coastal Troops (consisting of the Naval Infantry and the Coastal Missile and Artillery Troops). The Russian Navy has suffered severely since the dissolution of the Soviet Union due to insufficient maintenance, lack of funding and thereby training of personnel and timely replacement of equipments. Another setback is attributed to Russia's domestic shipbuilding industry which is reported to have been in decline as to their capabilities of constructing contemporary hardware efficiently. Some analysts even say that because of this Russia's naval capabilities have been facing a slow but certain "irreversible collapse".
This commemorative Miniature sheet of 4 Russian stamps, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Russian Navy. was issued on 26th July 1996. The ship shown at top left was the Galley Printcipyum that served in the Navy in 1696. The ship shown in the stamp below that is the Azov which was a 74-gun ship of the line of the Imperial Russian Navy. Azov was built in 1826 to compensate the losses of the disastrous 1824 Saint Petersburg flood. In the same year Azov, commanded by Mikhail Lazarev, became the flagship of Admiral Login Geiden's First Mediterranean Squadron and sailed to the Aegean on a joint English-French-Russian peacekeeping mission. On October 20, 1827 Azov spearheaded the Russian squadron into in the Battle of Navarino. She engaged numerous enemy ships and sustained heavy damage. After refit at Malta Azov continued her service as Geiden's flagship and enforced naval blockade of Greece and the Dardanelles. In the beginning of 1830 Azov returned to Kronstadt. By this time the ship was literally rotten owing to poor workmanship and combat damage. She was retired in the same year and broken up in 1831 after only four years in service.
The stamp at top right depicts a Nuclear powered missile submarine. And below that is a stamp showing the Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. This ship proudly called Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov "Fleet Admiral of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov", laid down as Riga, launched as Leonid Brezhnev, on sea trials as Tbilisi, and finally named Kuznetsov is an aircraft cruiser (heavy aircraft carrying missile cruiser (TAVKR) in Russian classification) serving as the flagship of the Russian Navy. She was originally commissioned in the Soviet Navy, and was intended to be the lead ship of her class, but the only other ship of her class, Varyag, was never completed or commissioned and was sold to the People's Republic of China as a hulk by Ukraine. Kuznetsov was named after the Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Nikolai Gerasimovich Kuznetsov. This pretty mini sheet was given to me by my dear friend Maria.

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