The Russian Navy (Russian: Военно-морской Флот Российской Федерации (ВМФ России), Voyenno-morskoy Flot Rossiyskoy Federatsii (VMF Rossii), lit. Military-Maritime Fleet of the Russian Federation) is the naval arm of the Russian military. The present Russian Navy was formed in January 1992, succeeding the Navy of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which had itself succeeded the Soviet Navy following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.
The first Russian Navy was established by Peter the Great (Peter I) in October 1696. Ascribed to Peter I is the oft quoted statement: "A ruler that has but an army has one hand, but he who has a navy has both." The symbols of the Russian Navy, the St. Andrew's flag and ensign (seen to the right), and most of its traditions were established personally by Peter I.
Neither Jane's Fighting Ships or the International Institute for Strategic Studies list any standard international designation of Russian naval vessels for Russian Navy vessels. In United States Navy photographs, they are sometimes referred to as RFS—"Russian Federation Ship"; however, the Russian Navy does not use this convention for itself.
The Russian Navy possesses the vast majority of the former Soviet naval forces, and currently comprises the Northern Fleet, the Russian Pacific Fleet, the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the Russian Baltic Fleet, the Russian Caspian Flotilla, Naval Aviation, and the Coastal Troops (consisting of the Naval Infantry and the Coastal Missile and Artillery Troops).
A recently approved rearmament program has placed the development of the navy on an equal footing with the strategic nuclear forces for the first time in Soviet and Russian history. The program, covering the period until 2015, is expected to see the replacement of 45% of the inventory of the Russian Navy. Out of 4.9 trillion rubles ($192.16 billion) allocated for military rearmament, 25% will go into building new ships. "We are already building practically as many ships as we did in Soviet times," First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said during a visit to Severodvinsk in July 2007, "The problem now is not lack of money, but how to optimize production so that the navy can get new ships three, not five, years after laying them down."
The Russian Navy has suffered severely since the dissolution of the Soviet Union due to insufficient maintenance, lack of funding and thereby training of personnel and timely replacement of equipments. Another setback is attributed to Russia's domestic shipbuilding industry which is reported to have been in decline as to their capabilities of constructing contemporary hardware efficiently. Some analysts even say that because of this Russia's naval capabilities have been facing a slow but certain "irreversible collapse". But other analysts say that because of the recent rise in mineral prices (Key to Russia's economy) have enabled a sort of 'Renaissance of the Russian Navy' due to increased available funds, allowing Russia to begin 'developing the capacity to once again become a maritime threat to Western naval power'.
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“The Navy is the asylum for the perverse, the home of the unfortunate. Here the sons of adversity meet the children of calamity, and here the children of calamity meet the offspring of sin.”
—Herman Melville (18191891)
“Annie: Dances like Pavaliver, that child.
George Grainger: Dances like who?
Annie: Pavaliverthe Russian dancer. Dont be so ignorant.”
—Reginald Berkeley (18901935)