World War I: Imperial Russian Navy

Figure 1.-- The Royal Family watched the Imperial navy sail by in review (1908). We are not sure about the location. The photograph was taken by Princess Olga with her Kodak Brownie. Alexia is dressed in a sailor suit and wears a sailor cap. He is with his minder, the sailor Derevenko. Alexia suffered from haemophilia. Derevenko was compeletely devoted to the Tsarevich (Царевич) and was his constant companion.

The Russian Navy was devestated by the Japanese at the battle of Tsushima (1905) during the Russo-Japanese War (1905). The disasterous War led to unrest resulting in Bloody Sunday and the 1905 Revolution. Strikes were launched around the country. There were muinies in both the army and navy. The Revolution shook Russia to its core. Tsar Nicholas appointed Ivan Konstantinovich Grigorovich (1853-1930) to be Russia's Naval Minister (1911). Grigorovich was a naval officer who had commanded the garrison at Port Arthur during the Japanese seige. He was praised for both courage and competence--one of the few naval officers to emerge from the War with his reputation barnished. As Naval Minioster, he set out to reform and expand the Imperial Navy. He had a repoutation as a liberal and was thus a rare choice by her Tsar who surronded himself with conservsatives. He developed develped good relations with naval interests in the new Duma while retaining the ear of Nicholas II and his closest advisers. Grigorovich's reform program was only just beginning when World War I broke out (1914). He did have the Baltic Fleet prepared for action. Grigorovich was, however, unable to contol naval operations. Comand of the Navy was turned over to the army General Staff which ordered a basically defensive strategy. The Russian Navy was lsargely bottled up in the Baltic. The regional commander Alexander Kolchak made some effort to conduct offensive operations. Grigorovich warned the Tsar of growing unrest in the Russian Navy (1916), but the Tsar ignored these reports. And Grigorovich was unable to control the griwing unrest. Naval unrest played a role in the The February Revolution (1917).


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Created: 7:51 PM 8/15/2009
Last updated: 7:51 PM 8/15/2009