As the Soviet Union sought to dominate the sea during the cold war
Material posted: Publication date: 18-10-2017
In may 1945, Nazi Germany collapsed under the combined blows of the Soviet red army and the armies of the allies (Britain, France, USA). The anti-fascist war, which lasted in Europe for several years, finally came to an end. However, while the world celebrated the destruction of the fascist regime, a new war was on the doorstep. It was the cold war.

Especially in the cold war attracted the attention of the struggle of the USSR for hegemony of the sea. As said by the famous military strategist MA Han, "own the ocean — own the world". The USSR was guided by the same principle, so to avoid collision of "fire and sword" on the sea area was impossible. Looking back at Russia's past, it can be noted that attempts to win the leadership of the sea began with Emperor Peter I (for the sake of were wars with Sweden and Turkey), and later the kings were engaged in shipbuilding.

However to explain the interest of the Soviet Union to marine hegemony, there is little mention of "tradition," reaching from the past of the Russian Empire. The Soviet people wanted to achieve dominance at sea for quite objective reasons.

Although the Soviet Union in the early 1960-ies was already a nuclear power, during the Cuban crisis, when the United States announced a naval blockade of Cuba and put around the island to its fleet, the Soviet Union had to concede. The crisis ended when Soviet ships carrying nuclear warheads, going to Cuba, he was recalled back to Russia.


© AP Photo, DoD. A Soviet ship off the coast of Cuba. 23 Oct 1962

The USSR, of course, had many reasons to recall its fleet, but the training and equipping of the US Navy here clearly played an important role. For example, the Soviet Navy in the 1960-ies in comparison with the Second world war has not undergone any changes. The American naval base has been built around the world. The Americans overtook the Soviet Union and the size of the Navy and its quality, while the Soviet Union lagged behind the United States according to the same indices of ten years.

The Soviet Union did not want to tolerate this state of Affairs. Immediately after the Cuban missile crisis, the Soviet government began to invest heavily in strengthening the coastline and the development of the Navy.

New weapons of the Soviet Union

The dream of a strong Navy depended on the adoption of effective and decisive strategy. Drawing on rich state reserves, which were created because of the retreat in the Caribbean, the Soviet Union marked the beginning of active research and development of new types of weapons.

Consider the example of multiple collisions of Egypt, led by Nasser, and Israel. The Soviet Union supported Egypt, putting that missile boat "Komar", armed with missiles "Styx". Egypt was immediately put into service and was able to sink many Israeli ships. Thanks to the help of the Soviet Union, Egypt was able to regain the credibility of the sea. When the news from the Middle East came to the Western camp, immediately aroused great concern in developed countries. At the same time, third world countries have adopted anti-ship missiles "Styx". United States of America and the UK were amazed at the destructive power of anti-ship missiles, and suddenly realized that for five years (1962-1967) of the USSR after the failure during the Cuban missile crisis improved the Navy, thus becoming a competitive player in the pursuit of supremacy at sea.

The fight capital in the middle East

To attain naval hegemony, the Soviet Union, in addition to the active development of new weapons and the expansion of the Navy provided a large amount of loans and material assistance to those countries that fought against the presence of Western countries in the middle East.

The Soviet government understood that the economic achievements of the West during the Second world war, is inseparable from the supply of oil from the Middle East. The fact that the Western world supported the creation of the independent state of Israel, caused dissatisfaction among the Arab world. Thus, countries in the Middle East become yet another valuable chess piece on the Board of the USSR and the West.

For example, according to the sources, in the 1970s, years of economic and military assistance provided by the Soviet Union to the countries of the Middle East (mainly the Arab States) from 1954 to 1972, accounted for 41% of total aid to third world countries. When the attempt of the USSR to utilize the support of the countries of the Middle East in the struggle against Israel failed, this, however, contributed to the expansion of Soviet power in the region.

From the Soviet Union had sent numerous military advisers and technicians, who occupied strategically important positions in the military system of the Middle East and received the right to use the ports (in favor of his country). Gradually the Soviet presence in the middle East was an important step in the struggle for Maritime hegemony.


© RIA Novosti, Oleg Petrosyan. Friendly visit of warships of the United Arab Republic to Sevastopol

With the active assistance of the USSR the military power of the Arab countries in the Middle East grew rapidly, and in the Mediterranean and the Indian ocean was carried out large-scale joint military exercises together with the Soviet Union and some Eastern European countries.

The main purpose of conducting military exercises to intimidate Israel, demonstrating the power of the Arab Navy. In addition, the exercises allowed the countries of the region compete with each other and appreciate each other (in the case of Saudi Arabia and Iran). The Soviet Union was also able to make good use of this chance: there was a modernized fleet and strengthened its ability to adapt in various conditions. Including the Soviet experts have tested new weapons and checked the procedure for signing agreements with other countries on the sea. The USSR supported the Arab States. With his help, not only changed the balance of power in the middle East (the West is no longer suppressed Arab countries), but the Soviet government played the role of a deterrent in the conflict with Israel.

As you know, in the Soviet Union was a planned economy, the state intervened in all sectors. Fishing is no exception. At first, fishing was conducted only in coastal areas. But with the development of techniques of fishing and shipbuilding for the Soviet fishing now is the Golden time. At that time fishing boats of the USSR could be seen already in the Gulf of Mexico, and near Antarctica.

Of course, not only the Soviet Union occupied the outstanding position in the fishery, other countries also did not lag behind, but at Soviet technology had its "features".

The really interesting thing is that fishing boats could sail anywhere, and get not only catch, but also information. In the process of fishing boats to collect information, which is then raised up to the Ministry of defence. Therefore, inconspicuous to ordinary people, fishing vessels have become not only producers, but also a pioneer of naval hegemony of the Soviet Union. No wonder these ships was carefully tested by Western countries.

So, fishing became a part of the national strategy. Therefore, the Soviet government not only followed the constant upgrade of equipment and new technologies, but also paid attention to the fact that the ship was attended by relevant experts and technology to gather information.

Neither Bay (Ni Bei 逆北)


Tags: Russia , USSR , Sea doctrine , Sea policy