Ice Breaker Krasin


International Radio Call Sign: Uniform-Golf-X-Ray-November

krasin wiki

Originally built in the United Kingdom at Armstrong Whitworth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, in 1916 under the name Svyatogor for Imperial Russia, the icebreaker Krasin would become one of the most famous icebreakers in the world and from launch until 1950 the most powerfullest icebreaker in the world.
The allied intervention of 1918-1919 in north Russia against the Bolsheviks the ship was scuttled by the Royal Navy, however she was raised and taken to Devonport and used to destroy hurdles placed to stop German submarines and ships entering key areas, she also carried out minesweeping duties.

In 1921 still under the name Svyatogor she was returned to the now called Soviet Union under what is called the Krasin trade agreement, and in 1927 she was renamed Krasin after the recently deceased Leonid Krasin and early Bolshevik leader and Soviet Diplomat.
In 1928 the Krasin would be called upon to assist in the rescue of General Umberto Nobile and his crew from the crashed airship Italia whilst it was on its return leg from the north pole, oddly on Krasin’s return with the survivors of the Italia she came across a German steam ship the Monte Cervantes which had been badly damaged after a collision with an iceberg, the crew of Krasin assisted the German ship.

Krasin in 1933 would become the first ship to reach the shores of the far northern uninhabited island of Novaya Zemlya, In 1938 the Krasin was called upon to rescue another icebreaker the Lenin and her convoy that had been trapped since the previous summer.
During World War II (Great Patriotic war to the Russians) Krasin would take part in many of the allied convoys, strangely in 1941 under and arrangement agreed between the Soviet and American governments to lease an icebreaker, Krasin was selected, she transited through the Northern routes and Pacific to arrive at Bremerton, she was inspected and noted she required considerable repairs totaling $500,000, the negotiations ended on November 25 1941, although she never entered service with the United States Coast Guard, the U.S gained a lot of valuable information about the ship and subsequently built the Wind Class Icebreakers.

Krasin would continue on through the Panama canal then on to the United Kingdom, here she was fitted with four 76mm main guns and seven 20mm anti aircraft guns, she would live out the rest of her war days as a convoy escort.

She was heavily rebuilt between 1953 to 1960 in the now East German yard VEB Matthias Thessen Werft to the appearance we see today.
She was used extensively until 1971 in the Northern sea routes, when she became a scientific research vessel and was owned by the International fund for History and Science, during her time she was also used to import cars from Europe to Russia, fortune changed again in 1989 when she was sold to JSC Tehmiks and listed for scrap in the United States.

The Russian government allegedly sabotaged the deal to save her, and as of today she is open to the public as a museum in St Petersburg.

Foot Note: Despite being a museum however it must be mentioned Krasin is fully operational and can put to sea, you can still see the rivets in the hull if your up close to her a testament to a 100+ year old ship.

Write-up by Blair Shaw 

To organize a more rewarding and in depth tour on any naval museum ship or naval museum in Russia please speak to Captain 1st Rank Igor Kurdin and his associates at the Submarine Veterans club by contacting him via email at

Museum info:
Address: 22 Naberezhaya Leitenanta Shmidta, corner of 23rd Liniya, v.o. St. Petersburg 199034, Russia
Phone: + 7(812)325-3547
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