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Scotland to unveil legendary cruiser memorial

07.09.2007 A memorial in honor of the Russian cruiser "Varyag" will be unveiled on the Scottish coast, near the town of Lendlefoot, on September 8.

Everyone interested in Russian naval history knows the place. That was where the legendary warship found her last abode.

The "Varyag" earned global renown with one of the most dramatic battles of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-05. The cruiser faced a Japanese squadron alone. The crew refused to surrender and opened fire. The ship came out of the battle badly damaged and with tremendous casualties. Her name became the epitome of martial glory with friend and foe alike. The Japanese government ordered a "Varyag" memorial museum opened in Seoul after the war, and conferred the Order of the Rising Sun on Captain Vsevolod Rudnev.

The ship largely owes her fame in her own country to a song that has become an informal anthem of the Russian Navy. Not many know that it was written by Rudolf Grenz, a poet of German origin-most Russians are sure it is a folk song.

The February 1917 Revolution found the cruiser, which was at the time part of the Arctic Ocean Flotilla, on an overhaul in Britain. The "Varyag" was sold to Russian official agents after the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917, and resold to Germany as scrap in 1920. That was where the mystery began. The ship never reached its destination. She was caught in a storm while being tugged across the Irish Sea and went down in the Firth of Clyde. The new owner determined to salvage the wrecked cruiser underwater-but one attempt after another was thwarted by stormy sea, and the venture was finally given up in 1925.

Interest in naval history is sweeping Russia, so the Russian Charity Foundation for the Support of the "Varyag" Cruiser aroused public enthusiasm with its idea of a seaside monument in Scotland, where it would be a first-ever Russian naval memorial. The Scottish were no less enthusiastic than Russians about it-they reverentially remember the heroic crew.

The memorial is a conventionalized cross, representing on its front the cruiser dashing toward the enemy at top speed. Decorating the arms of the cross are naval insignia, ship ribs, rivets and bitts. The Order of St. George is represented in the center.

A plaque was unveiled before the memorial near Lendlefoot on July 30, 2006-Russian Navy Day.

There is a "Varyag" monument in the Vladivostok Naval Cemetery, a major Russian Pacific port, and another in Inchhon, Korea, where wounded sailors were hospitalized.

The Lendlefoot celebration will certainly come as a landmark of Russian naval history and Russian-Scottish cultural contacts.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

Source: RIA Novosti

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