By order of the Russian Empire, the Varyag cruiser was built at the William Crump and Sons shipyard in Philadelphia. fleet, it was equipped with the most modern weapons, it had excellent speed and was even electrified and telephonized.It was introduced to the Russian Navy in 1901, the Varyag was based in Port Arthur.
Why did the modern cruiser enter service only two years after construction? There were rumors that serious flaws were found on the Varyag, which took a lot of time to fix. For example, Nikloss's boilers often failed, which made it impossible to develop the declared speed of 26 knots. Affected by the fact that under the contract the Americans had to complete the construction in just 20 months, the desire to meet these deadlines often went to the detriment of the quality of work.
Before leaving for Port Arthur, the Varyag cruiser visited Kronstadt, where Emperor Nicholas II personally examined it. According to eyewitnesses, the monarch was satisfied with the inspection of the Varyag. In the conditions of the imminent war with Japan, it was believed that the cruiser would have a significant superiority over the enemy ships.
The staff of the "Varyag" team consisted of 20 officers and 550 lower ranks. In December 1902, the captain of the first rank Vsevolod Fedorovich Rudnev, an experienced sailor, a member of three round-the-world expeditions, was appointed the commander of the cruiser. One of the ancestors of Vsevolod Fedorovich, sailor Semyon Rudnev, was a participant in the Azov campaign, he was elevated to the officer's rank by a personal decree of Peter the Great.
In 1904, at the start of the Russo-Japanese War, the Varyag was in the port of Chemulpo on the Korean Peninsula. While en route to Port Arthur, the Russian cruiser was attacked by enemy ships, received serious damage and was forced to return back to Chemulpo.
On February 9, 1904, Rudnev received an ultimatum from the Japanese Rear Admiral Uriu: an ultimatum to leave the port immediately, otherwise the Varyag would be destroyed in the roadstead. Rudnev decided to break through to Port Arthur with a fight, if it turns out to be impossible - to blow up the ship in order to exclude the possibility of its capture by the enemy.
At noon, the Varyag, together with the gunboat Koreets, left the port of Chemulpo and entered into battle with a Japanese squadron of 15 ships. During an hour-long battle, the cruiser was badly damaged. But the proposal of the Japanese side to surrender Russian sailors It was decided to sink the ship, blowing it up was risky, as the explosion could damage the ships of neutral states that were in Chemulpo. Only the gunboat Koreets was blown up. And the cruiser was sunk on February 9, 1904 at 18:10.
The crews of "Varyag" and "Koreyets" were taken to ships of other states, where the wounded received the necessary medical assistance. Then, through neutral ports, they managed to return to Russia. In April 1904, they arrived in St. Petersburg, where they met with Nicholas II. By decree of the emperor, the officers were awarded orders, and the lower ranks - the St. George's crosses.
After returning to St. Petersburg, Vsevolod Fedorovich Rudnev was appointed commander of the battleship Andrew the First-Called. But he did not serve there for long, in November 1905 he was dismissed for his loyalty to the revolutionary sentiments of the sailors.
In 1905, Japan raised a sunken cruiser from the bottom. It was renovated and entered the Japanese fleet with a new name - "Soya". It was possible to return it to Russia only in 1916, when the ship was bought by the Russian government. The former name was returned to the cruiser.
In February 1917, the cruiser went to Great Britain for a major overhaul. The British refused to return it back, since the field of the revolution, Russia decided not to pay the tsarist debts. In 1920 "Varyag" was sold to Germany for scrap. But, the "Varyag" did not reach its destination, running aground. After a while, it was blown up.
It is interesting that in 1954, when the 50th anniversary of the battle at the port of Chemulpo was celebrated, the Soviet government decided to find the surviving participants of this event for the presentation of medals "For Courage".
Inspired by the feat of the Varyag crew, the Austrian poet Rudolf Greinz dedicated his poem to him. It was translated into Russian by Evgenia Studenskaya, and the military musician and composer Alexei Turishchev became the author of the music. This is how the song-march "Our proud" Varyag "did not surrender to the enemy. It was written for the performance of the officers and sailors of" Varyag "and" Koreyets "by Emperor Nikolai II at a gala reception