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Caspian Flotilla History

An attempt at the creation in the Caspian Sea of a flotilla of warships was for the first time undertaken in the reign of Aleksey Mikhaylovich. This was caused by the expansion of the commercial relations of Russia with Persia and by the need for a guarantee and protection of commercial ways along the Volga River. Tsarist edict of 19 July, 1667, prescribed "... for the messages from Astrakhan to Khvalynskoye sea to make ships in the Kolomna district in the village Dedinovo...". on 14 November 1667 in the village Dedinovo on the confluence of the Oka River and Moscow was placed on the Caspian Region the first Russian military three-masted ship "Orel". Simultaneously was constructed a yacht and two boats. The constructed vessels were sent down to the water and in 1669 to Astrakhan, but in the following year, during the uprising under the leadership of Razin's Stepana, these ships were seized and burnt.

In 1704 on the edict of Peter I in Kazan the admiralty was based and begun building a ship for the Caspian Region.

After the end of the northern war, Peter I manifested interest in the Caspian Region, knowing "... his good value for Russia, knowing that the welfare of Russia will rise, and when it becomes a pathway in the commercial sense between Europe and Asia...". Desiring to establish direct economic relations with the countries of Central Asia and with India, Peter I set for himself as a goal - to conquer the coast of Caspian Sea. But in the way of this stood Persia, a state sufficiently powerful at that time. The Russians carried out an expedition under the management of a.Bekovicha-Cherkassogo, lieutenant a.Kozhin, K.Verdena, F.Soymonova. This became the prelude of the great march, preparation for which began from the building of 200 river boats and 45 small wooden ships, the intended for the maintenance military ports. Beginning from 1721, Peter I unrolled the preparation for the Persian march. On 18 July 1722, 22 thousand people under the command of General- Admiral Apraksin on 274 vessels left from Astrakhan to the Caspian Sea. The main force was commanded Admiral Peter Mikhaylov, i.e., itself Peter I. After landing on the coast in present North Daghestan region, they were joined by 9 thousand cavalries, and the army moved by coast to Derbent. On 23 August ground forces engaged the city, and delivered there artillery and provisions.

In December 1722 the newly formed Russian Caspian flotilla made a landing in Enzeli. Rasht - the capital of the Iranian province of Gilyan - was then occupied. In July 1723 the Russian flotilla reached Baku, and the landing parties seized the city. In September 1723 the Russian-Iranian treaty was signed in St. Petersburg; under this treaty Derbent, Baku and Shirvan in Azerbaijan, and the Iranian provinces of Gilyan and Mazandaran passed to Russia.

With the march to Derbent the war with the Persians for the possession of the Caspian Sea did not conclude. The need for a constant presence in the Caspian Region of flotilla and creation of military port for the basing of flotilla arose. Specifically, a Persian march and a stay of Peter I in Astrakhan changed the relation of the Caspian fleet, and on 4 November 1722 an edict of sovereign based military port in Astrakhan formed the military flotilla, which accepted the baptism of fire in Persia. Specifically, this date is the day of the founding of Caspian flotilla.

The Persian march was finished by the signing of the treaties between Russia and Persia, on which into the perpetual possession to Russia moved away cities Derbent and Baku with all adjacent to them earth, and also the province of Gilyan, Mazandaran and Astrabad.

However, the achievements of Russians in the Caspian Region were lost after Peter Velikiy's death. In Anna Ioanovny's reign by agreement of 1735 their large part went away to Persia. Nevertheless, the interest of Russia in the Caspian Region did not weaken, and the outstanding worker of Yekaterina's epoch, Grigoriy Potemkin, undertook the return of the lost territories. In 1781 the squadron of ships in the composition of 3 frigates, bombardier ship and 2 boats, on the order of Ekaterina II, arrived to Astrakhan. From this point on, in Caspian Sea began to be contained the force of warships "... for the patronage of our commerce".

The achievement of the Caspian Region by Russia was conducted over almost 100 years. In 1813, with the conclusion of the Gyulistanskogo peace treaty, Russia acquired sole right to maintain a fleet in the Caspian Sea. Since 1867 by the main base of Caspian flotilla became Baku - an ice-free port.

As a result of the march of Russian troops in 1880-1881 under the command of General Skobelev, in whom sea forces headed the Captain of Second Rank S.O. Makarov, Turkmenia was connected to Russia, which received the designation of the Transcaspian region. The entry of the western and East Caspian region into the composition of Russia not only ensured safety of its southern boundaries, but also played progressive role in the development both of the economic and spiritual life of peoples, which populate this edge. Indeed Russia, in contrast to Turkey and Persia, was at that time the vigorously developing power.

In the subsequent time, up to 1918, the Caspian flotilla guarded commercial and fish trades to the Caspian Region, and also the Russian commodity-industry interests in Iran. For the combat merits the flotilla was rewarded the Georgiyevskoy tape, which personnel bore on the caps.

With the arrival in Baku of the English in 1918, the part of the ships of flotilla was disarmed, and the rest left into the port it was Petrovskiy (makhachkala). In the years of Civil War, the Caspian flotilla conducted war-fighting in the Volga and the Kama, together with the Red Army participated in combat for Kazan, Simbirsk, Syzran', Samara, Chistopol', Yelabugu, tsarina's. The second achievement of Caspian Sea was completed during May 1920, as a result of which white fleet was seized, and English interventionists and white guard parts stepped back into the depth of Iran. The Flotilla was rewarded with the honorable Red Banner Of vTsIKa, which is stored also on the present time.

During the first stage of the Great Patriotic War, a direct threat for the Caspian Sea Basin did not exist, and the activity of Caspian flotilla in essence was reduced to the bearing in the sea sector of the patrol service. In the period from 24 to 26 August, 1941, the flotilla on the order of Soviet government, together with the parts of Transcaucasian military district, conducted landing operation in the Iranian coast south of Iranian Astary, after landing the tactical landing force in the composition of mountain-rifle regiment, intensified by artillery battalion, and it supported by artillery fire attackers on the coast from the side Of lenkorani of the part of mountain rifle division. The introduction of Soviet troops to the territory of Iran was caused by strengthening there of German influence and by sympathies to the fascists of the number of those, who stand in the chapter for administration of Iran, which created the threat of the involvement of Iran in the war against the Soviet Union. After the introduction of Soviet troops into Iran, they occupied the northern part of Iran during the entire war, and the ships of Caspian flotilla performed stationary duty in the Iranian ports of Pahlevi, Noushekhr, Bender- Shah. Beginning from 1942, Caspian flotilla was declared and accomplished tasks in the guarantee of communications by that acting, directly covering on the passages from the action of the aviation of enemy by its ships of transport, and it organized anti-mine defense. On 27 August, 1945, in the combat service tos the native land in the years of Civil War and the years of World War II by the Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Caspian flotilla was rewarded with the Order of the Red Banner.

In the postwar years the flotilla continued to play the role of the stabilizing factor in the region. However, after the collapse of the USSR and conversion of the former republics into the sovereign states of the force of flotilla it was necessary to relocate from Baku to Makhachkala and Astrakhan, which became its main base. This became possible because of the joint efforts of former commanding of Caspian flotilla Vice Admiral zinin Boris Mikhaylovich and the governor of the Astrakhan province Of guzhvina Anatoliy Petrovich, that came forward with the petition before the government of the Russian Federation about the redislocation of the parts of the Caspian flotilla into Astrakhan city. This fact already at present became the history of modern Russia. Thus, the red banner Caspian flotilla returned to its historical native land after a lapse of 125 years. The main tasks are ensuring the national and state interests of Russia in the region, countering terrorism. Current realities of life set the ships and units of the Caspian Flotilla for guarding the southern borders of Russia. The example of further development and military buildup of the Caspian Flotilla is transferring to the composition of the Flotilla of new modern frigate «Tatarstan» with her patronage under the administration of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise «Production Association (PA) ”Plant named after Sergo”» in the city of Zelenodol'sk of the Republic of Tatarstan. At present, the RF Government approved the State shipbuilding programme for building ships for the Caspian Flotilla, which currently drafted warships specific to the Caspian Sea. In 2003, the planned start of construction of the ship in this series. Several years ago the Moscow-Chernigov Guards Marine Infantry Brigade was formed as a part of the Kaspian Flotilla, it participated in conducting the counter terrorist operation in Chechnya. Over 900 officers, warrant officers and warrant officers of the Flotilla were awarded the government awards. The Hero of Russia Chief Warrant Officer Grigory Zamyshlyak is an example in executing the military duty and service to the Motherland for the entire personnel of the Flotilla. In August 2002, by decision of the President of Russia, the large-scale exercise of the Caspian Flotilla the Caspian Sea was carried out, involving units of the Air Force, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the RF Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Liquidation and the Ministry of Transport of Russia. This was the first exercise of such a scale conducted in the Caspian region in the last decade, the tasks, which were set by the President of Russia during his visit to Astrakhan’ and visits to the ships of the Caspian Flotilla, were fulfilled. Also in September 2002, the Flotilla’s ships visited with a friendly visit the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan – Baku. In October 2002, the Caspian Flotilla celebrated its 280th anniversary and 10th anniversary of the withdrawal from Baku. In May 2003, the group of warships of the Caspian Flotilla composed of missile boat «Stupinets», coastal minesweepers «Magomed Hajiyev» and small hydrographic vessel «GS-30» under the flag of the Flotilla’s Commander visited the port of Aktau, the Republic of Kazakhstan. In July 2005, the Caspian Flotilla hosted the International Conference of representatives of the Navies of the Caspian States on establishing the Caspian naval group for operational cooperation «KASFOR». The Conference was initiated by the Commander of the Caspian Flotilla, which was supported by the Russian Defence Minister and the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. In 2010, the Caspian Flotilla continues the second phase of the reform of organizational structure in accordance with formation of a new make-up of the Armed Forces, as well as the work began on putting this association into the Southern Military District.




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