Soviet frigate Storozhevoy

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Kirvak I class frigate.jpg
A Burevestnik-class frigate at anchor. Storozhevoy would have looked identical in most respects to the vessel pictured here.
Career (USSR) Naval Ensign of the Soviet Union.svg
Name: Storozhevoy
Namesake: Russian for Vigilant
Builder: SY 190 Severnaya Verf
Commissioned: 1972–73
Struck: 2004(?)
General characteristics
Class and type: Project 1135 Burevestnik frigate
Displacement: 3,300 tons standard, 3,575 tons full load
Length: 405.3 ft (123.5 m)
Beam: 46.3 ft (14.1 m)
Draught: 15.1 ft (4.6 m)
Propulsion: 2 shaft; COGAG; 2x M-8k gas-turbines, 40,000 shp; 2x M-62 gas-turbines (cruise), 14,950 shp
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
Range: 4,995 nmi (9,251 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 200
Armament: 1× 4 SS-N-14 'Silex' ASW missiles
SA-N-4'Gecko' SAM (40 missiles)
4× 76 mm guns (2×2)
2 x RBU-6000 Anti-Submarine rockets
2× 4 533 mm torpedo tubes
Notes: (General class characteristics)

Storozhevoy (Russian: Сторожевой, "guard" or "sentry") was a Soviet Navy 1135 Burevestnik-class anti-submarine frigate (NATO reporting name Krivak). The ship was attached to the Soviet Baltic Fleet and based in Riga. It was involved in a mutiny in November 1975.


The mutiny was led by the ship's political commissar, Captain of the Third Rank Valery Sablin, who wished to protest against the rampant corruption of the Leonid Brezhnev era. His aim was to seize the ship and steer it out of the Bay of Riga, to Leningrad through the Neva River, moor alongside the museum ship Aurora, an old cruiser symbol of the Russian revolution, and broadcast a nationwide address to the people from there. In that address, he was going to say what he believed people publicly wanted to say, but could only be said in private: that socialism and the motherland were in danger; the ruling authorities were up to their necks in corruption, demagoguery, graft, and lies, leading the country into an abyss; communism had been discarded, and there was a need to revive the Leninist principles of justice.[citation needed]

On the evening of 9 November 1975, Sablin lured the captain to the lower deck claiming that there were some officers who needed to be disciplined by the Captain when the Captain arrived at the lower deck, Sablin detained the Captain and other officers in the forward sonar compartment and seized control of the ship. Sablin then summoned a meeting of all the senior officers on the ship, here a vote was taken amongst the fifteen officers present. Sablin informed the officers that he planned to sail to Leningrad and broadcast his revolutionary message, after a count of the votes, eight officers had voted in favor of the mutiny, the remaining seven senior members of the ship's crew who did not wish to go along with the plan were locked in a separate compartment below the main deck.[1]

Sablin then moved on to the next aspect of the plan, which was to win the support of the seamen which numbered about 145- 155 men, Sablin was a popular officer and he used this to his advantage, he assembled the crew and delivered a speech which instantly had all the seamen motivated and excited about a revolution. However one of the officers who had voted in favor of the mutiny had escaped under the cover of night and had run across the naval dock to raise the alarm, however the soldier at the gate did not believe him. [2]

On discovering that they might soon be detected Sablin decided that they set sail immediately rather than wait till the morning and set sail with the rest of the fleet (as originally planned). The crew immediately set sail under the cover of dark and made their way out of Riga, Sablin also ensured that the radar was off to avoid detection from Soviet forces. [3]

When Soviet authorities learned of the mutiny, upon direct instructions from the Kremlin it was ordered that control must be regained. Thirteen naval vessels were sent in pursuit and were later joined by three Yak-28 fighters, which dropped 500-lb bombs in the vicinity of the rebel ship. The aircraft also strafed Storozhevoy repeatedly. The ship's steering was damaged and she stopped dead on the water. After warning shots from the closing loyal warships, the frigate was eventually boarded by Soviet marine commandos. By then, however, Sablin had been shot and detained by members of his own crew, who also unlocked the captive captain and officers.[4] All the complement from Storozhevoy was arrested and interrogated, but only Sablin and his second-in-command, Alexander Shein, a 20-year-old seaman, were tried and convicted. At his trial in July 1976, Sablin was convicted of high treason and shot on 3 August 1976, while Shein was sentenced to prison and was released after serving eight years. The rest of the mutineers were set free but dishonorably discharged from the Soviet Navy.[5]

Fictional references with factual information[edit]

The mutiny was one of two incidents which inspired Tom Clancy to write The Hunt for Red October, set aboard the Typhoon-class submarine Red October. The other incident was the 1961 defection of Jonas Pleškys, a Soviet Navy submarine tender captain, a Lithuanian by birth, who sailed his vessel from Klaipėda to Gotland in Sweden, not to the planned destination of Tallinn.


Storozhevoy continued in service until the late 1990s. The crew was changed completely and the ship made extensive visits to foreign ports. She was transferred to the Russian Pacific Fleet and was sold to India for scrap.


  1. ^ Guttridge Leonard F. (2002). Mutiny: A History of Naval Insurrection. Berkley Books, p. 292. ISBN 0425183211
  2. ^ True story, History Channel, The hunt for red October
  3. ^ True story, History Channel, The hunt for red October
  4. ^ Guttridge(2002), p. 293
  5. ^ Gutridge (2002), p. 294


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