“A ruler that has but an army has one hand, but he who has a navy has both,” said Peter the Great in 1696 when he established the Russian Navy.
Today, Soviet sailors are organized into 7 naval forces: the Northern Fleet, the Russian Pacific Fleet, the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the Russian Baltic Fleet, the Russian Caspian Flotilla, Naval Aviation, and the Russian Coastal Troops. While the number of vessels has significantly declined since the fall of the Soviet Union, a recently approved rearmament program is expected to provide new ships.
Naval parades are planned in many port cities, including a large celebration in St. Petersburg. 11 ships will be on display and available for exploration. Some are brand new and never before seen by the public. The Grachonok is a minesweeper which detects mines left over from World War II. These types of boats haven’t been produced for 30 years. Concerts featuring nautical songs and dances will also be included, and the celebrations will conclude with an amazing fireworks display.
In Vladivostok, 2 squadrons of the U.S. and Japanese navies are docked at the Russian Pacific Fleet’s main base to participate in ceremonies. Residents of the region will have the rare opportunity to explore the foreign vessels. After the celebrations, all three countries will practice rescue exercises together and help further establish military cooperation.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is spending the weekend in Ukraine for a visit with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. They will attend several Navy Day ceremonies along the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.