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Project 23 Sovetskii Soyuz class

At the end of 1935 Stalin took control of the Soviet Navy, prompting a shift from littoral defense through air, submarine, and light surface forces into a massivee shipbuilding program centered on large battleships and battle cruisers. In 1937 Stalin ordered construction of a blue water navy. By 1939 the program evolved to build twenty-four powerful battleships by 1947, with fifteen for the Pacific Fleet and the rest divided among the Baltic, Black Sea, and Northern Fleets. These fleet goals were beyond pre-War Soviet shipbuilding capacity, and with the onset of the Great Patriotic War, all long-term projects were suspended.

The four battleships were called "Stalin's hammer of the seas". Stalin's motive for building a battleship fleet was the vision of the Soviet Union gaining supremacy in the four near seas and then becoming an oceanic power. The defeat of the Axis saw the prewar schemes reduced to three battleships and three battle cruisers, all of which were cancelled when Stalin died in 1953.

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