Emperor Paul I of Russia by Vladimir Borovikovsky - www.wikipedia.org
Friday, 11 June 2021 19:00
Estonian Life No. 23 2021 - Hain Rebas
Embassy of Estonia, Stockholm, May 5
Challenges in exploring the Arctic; historical maritime exploration and current realities
On the Russian early 19th century exploratory background
In the year 1800, Europe had been drawn into the Napoleonic wars, and Russia’s Czar Paul I still had some months to live before his assassination. The Czar’s influential Grand Marshal of the Court was count Fyodor Rostopchin
, an Army general, later distinguished as Moscow’s unhappy defender against Napoleon.
At a meeting of the Russian Foreign Policy Committee in 1800, count Rostopchin stood up and proclaimed prophetically that Imperial Russia will become the Hercules of international politics. – Hercules! - Therefore, Russian sea power should be established in new oceans far beyond the neighboring Baltic Sea. Factual background
Like everything else in early modern Russian history, the building of a merchant fleet and a navy started with Czar Peter I, who reigned a century before Paul I. The following Russian 18th century expansion on the European continent and the systematic development of Peter’s Baltic Sea Navy are well documented. Then already, Russian Cossack agents, like famous Jermak
and others, had penetrated the Eurasian continent with its great rivers through to the Pacific Ocean and claimed the territories for the crown.
Also, in the far north, Russians partly explored the Barents Sea, the Kara Sea, the Laptev Sea and even the East Siberian Sea - including the islands. Then, in the mid-18th century, great leaders and scholars, like the Dane Vitus Bering
, and Mikhail Lomonosov
, supported by the new Russian Academy of Sciences
, spent decades gathering, sorting out and presenting facts about faraway waters, coasts, passages, skerries, islands and their inhabitants, flora, fauna and minerals.
Around 1790, the Russian Baltic Navy prevailed in some decisive battles with the revengeful Swedes. In 1788 the attacking Swedish Navy failed to break the Russian defense-line at the island of Hogland in the middle of the Gulf of Finland. Another Swedish attempt 1790 outside Kronstadt, actually the last great sailing-ships line-to-line-battle in the Baltic Sea, ended in a draw. The war ended in status quo
- the point of which is, that from the end of the 18th century, the Russian Baltic Fleet indisputably was biggest and strongest in the Baltic Sea.
(Read more: Estonian Life No. 23 2021 paber- and PDF/digi