14 Russian Cruiser Varyag

Russian Cruiser Varyag

“Varyag”, Russian cruiser, had a fascinating, rich and sad history. She will always be the pride of the Russian fleet.

Varyag used to be an Admiral Kuznetsov class multirole aircraft carrier of the Soviet Union. She was built in 1898 in Philadelphia and given to the fleet of the Russian Empire in 1900.

Some investigators believed that initially underdeveloped structure of the boilers and some defects in construction led to considerable decrease of speed which levelled its advantages. It was even decided to return the ship back to its constructors for repairing. However, in 1903 Varyag developed speed equal to the one shown during trial studies.

The ship is going to be descended into the water soon.

Officers’ cabin.

Conning tower.

Pilot room.

The church.

An after bridge.

Running tests in the Atlantic ocean.

Varyag on the Delaware river.

May 18 1901.


An engine crew.

After Varyag became a part of Russian fleet, it was based at Port Arthur.

During the Battle of Chemulpo Bay at the start of the Russo-Japanese War, Varyag under the command of Captain of the First Rank Vsevolod Rudnev accepted a badly unequal battle with the Japanese squadron of Admiral Uriu in a heroic attempt to break out from Chemulpo  harbour February 9, 1904. Chemulpo was in neutral Korean waters. Admiral Uriu gave the Russian ships in harbor an written ultimatum to sail by 12:00 noon or be attacked in the harbor itself.

Captain Rudnev made a sortie, accompanied by the gunboat Koreets; having lost 31 men dead, 191 injured (out of 570) and outgunned, both ships returned to harbor by 1:00 p.m., the crew decided not to surrender, but to sink the ship. The crew was saved by transferring them to the British cruiser Talbot, the French cruiser Pascal, and the Italian cruiser Elba; the captain of the American cruiser Vicksburg declined doing so as a violation of U.S. neutrality.

The Varyag was later salvaged by the Japanese and repaired. She served with the Imperial Japanese Navy as light cruiser Soya.

During First World War Russia and Japan became allies. In 1916 Soya was purchased back by Russia and shifted to Vladivostok. She was named Varyag again.

In 1917 the ship was transferred to the United Kingdom for the purpose of its repairing but was confiscated as the Soviet government refused to pay for the work done. In 1925 it sank down next to the coast of the Irish sea. Some metal constructions of the ship were removed by local inhabitants. Later Varyag was exploded.

via nektonemo

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14 Responses to “Russian Cruiser Varyag”

  1. ayaa says:

    Conflicting statements in the captions here.

  2. geoff says:

    What a terrific story.

    But “multirole aircraft carrier”……..I wonder what was considered naval aircraft in 1898…?…The cannon projectile……??

  3. Y5K says:

    There are 2 tall masts on the ship. Were they for radio communication already?

    They look too small for sail considering the hull.

    • Sean D says:

      They were used for hoisting signal flags and for lookout positions. And could be used as cranes for lifting stores and supplies aboard too.

  4. Johan says:

    Does anyone know what the diagonal “pipes”” on the sides were for?

    • Sean D says:

      They are booms for extending anti-torpedo nets out from the hull.

    • HenryR says:

      The diagonal “pipes” on the side are the booms for the anti-torpedo nets. They could be lowered to horizontal and a net suspended from the ends to form a barrier around the ship when at anchor.

  5. Starik says:

    What he means is that there was a later ship named “Varyag,” an aircraft carrier. Many navies reuse famous ship names, such as the U.S. Navy’s “Enterprise.” These are wonderful pictures, and the English captions are better than anything I could write in Russian.

    • geoff says:

      The story about the modern guided-missile cruiser Varyag was on here about three weeks ago. It is not an aircraft carrier.

    • ayaa says:

      The first Varyag ship was a ship of the old Imperial Navy. Confiscated by the British in 1917, and later sank in 1920.

      The current Varyag is a “slava” class missile cruiser. Together with the Kirov class battle-cruisers, they are often called carrier-killers. It is NOT an aircraft carrier.

      The Varyag is also the name popularly used to describe the hull of what would have been the second ship of the Kusnetsov class carriers. It was not completed and was later sold to China.

  6. VikingBerserker says:

    This was really interesting, well done!

  7. Jock says:

    There were/are three ships named Varyag, the cruiser circa 1900, the missile cruiser and now there is an aircraft carrier which has been sold to the Chinese.

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