Pavel Nakhimov

Pavel Stepanovich Nakhimov (Russian: Павел Степанович Нахимов, pronounced [ˈpavʲɪl stʲɪˈpanəvʲɪtɕ nɐˈxʲiməf]) (July 5 [O.S. June 23] 1802 July 12 [O.S. June 30] 1855) was one of the most famous admirals in Russian naval history, best remembered as the commander of naval and land forces during the Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War.

Pavel Nakhimov
Admiral Pavel Nakhimov
Born(1802-07-05)5 July 1802
Vyazma uyezd, Smolensk Governorate, Russian Empire
Died12 July 1855(1855-07-12) (aged 53)
Sevastopol, Taurida Governorate, Russian Empire
Allegiance Russian Empire
Service/branch Imperial Russian Navy
Years of service1818–1855
Commands heldCorvette Navarine
Frigate Pallada
Ship of the line Silistria
Ship Brigade of Black Sea Fleet
Chief of Fleet Division
Squadron of Black Sea Fleet
Commander of Fleet and Port
Battles/warsGreek War of Independence

Russo-Turkish War (1828–29)
Crimean War

Awardssee awards


Born in the village of Gorodok in the Vyazma uyezd (district) of Smolensk Governorate into a noble Russian family. He was the seventh of eleven children of a landlord, a second major Stepan Mikhailovich Nakhimov and his wife Feodosia Ivanovna Nakhimova (née Kozlovskaya). Six of his siblings died as infants; all of his four brothers also became professional seamen, including vice admiral Sergei Stepanovich Nakhimov (1805—1872).[1]

In 1817 he entered the Naval Academy for the Nobility ( Morskoy Dvoryanskiy Korpus) in Saint Petersburg. He made his first sea voyage in 1817, aboard the frigate Feniks ("Phoenix"), to the shores of Sweden and Denmark. Soon afterwards he was promoted to the rank of non-commissioned officer. In February 1818 he passed examinations to become a midshipman and was immediately assigned to the second Fleet Crew (Flotskiy Ekipazh) of the Russian Imperial Navy's Baltic Fleet.

At the beginning of his naval career, Nakhimov's experience was limited to voyages in the Baltic Sea and to a more extensive trip from the White Sea port of Arkhangelsk to Kronstadt naval base near Saint Petersburg. His lucky break came in March 1822, when he was assigned to the frigate Kreiser ("Cruiser"); the vessel took part in a round-the-globe expedition commanded by the well-known Russian explorer Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev (1788-1851), who had already undertaken several such voyages.

During the three-year voyage, Nakhimov was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. On conclusion of this adventure, he received his first award, the Order of Saint Vladimir IV degree. He returned to his native Smolensk and was assigned to the 74-gun warship Azov, which made its maiden voyage from Arkhangelsk to Kronstadt in the autumn of 1826.

In the summer of 1827, Azov sailed to the Mediterranean as flagship of the Russian squadron under the command of Rear-Admiral Lodewijk van Heiden for a joint expedition with the French and British navies against the Ottomans. Just before its departure, Emperor Nicholas I visited the Azov and ordered that in the case of hostilities, the crew should deal with the enemy "as the Russians do".

Azov, under then-Captain First Rank M.P. Lazarev, distinguished itself most prominently in the Battle of Navarino (20 October 1827), during which the allied British-French-Russian fleet "totally" destroyed the Ottoman squadron.[2] For his outstanding gunnery performance during the battle, the 27-year-old Nakhimov was promoted to the captaincy of a trophy ship[3] and was decorated by the allied governments.[4]

During the Crimean War of 1853-1856 Nakhimov distinguished himself by annihilating the Ottoman fleet at Sinope in 1853. His finest hour came during the siege of Sevastopol, where he and Admiral V. A. Kornilov organized from scratch the land defense of the city and its port, the home base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. As the commander of the port and the military governor of the city, Nakhimov became in fact the head of the Sevastopol naval and land defense forces. On July 10 [O.S. June 28] 1855, while inspecting the forward-defense positions on Malakhov Kurgan, he was fatally wounded by a sniper; he died two days later.

Nakhimov was buried inside St Vladimir's Cathedral in Sevastopol along with Mikhail Lazarev, V.A. Kornilov and Vladimir Istomin. There is a monument erected in his memory. The Soviet government instituted posthumous honors as well, introducing Nakhimov Naval Schools for teenagers in 1943, and establishing in 1944 both the Order of Nakhimov (with two degrees) and the Nakhimov Medal for Navy personnel. The Order of Nakhimov, one of the highest military decorations in the Soviet Union, continues in the Russian Federation.

Ships named after Nakhimov

Honours and awards


  1. Spiridonova L.I., Fyodorova G. N. (2003). P. S. Nakhimov. The Collection of Documents and Materials. — Saint Petersburg: Petersburg Institute of Printing Arts, pp. 355—387 ISBN 5-8122-0302-4
  2. Cochrane, George (1837). Wanderings in Greece. 1. Henry Colburn, Publisher. p. 115. Retrieved 21 April 2019. [...] the battle of Navarino, which ended in the total destruction of the Turko-Egyptian squadron.
  3. "Pavel Stepanovich Nahimov". ZoomInfo. 10 March 2005. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  4. "Admiral P. S. Nakhimov". Russian Navy. 1998–2012. Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
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