The Kara class were Cold War era Soviet warships designated guided missile cruisers by NATO. The Soviet designation is Project 1134B Berkut B - Беркут Б (Golden Eagle) and the Soviet mission description is "large anti-submarine warfare ship" (BPK) and not "cruiser".
These ships were enlarged versions of the Kresta II class, with gas turbine engines replacing the steam turbines. These ships were fitted as flagships with improved command, control and communications facilities. These are dedicated ASW ships with significant anti-aircraft capability including both SA-N-3 and SA-N-4 surface-to-air missiles.
The specifications for the class were issued in 1964 with the design being finalised in the late 1960s. The gas turbine engine was chosen instead of steam for greater efficiency and quietness, and because the main Soviet gas turbine plant had a long association with the Nikolayev shipyards.
The cruiser Azov was constructed as a trials ship for the SA-N-6 missile system and was also fitted with the associated Top Dome Radar. During the Cold War she was confined to the Black Sea.