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Exhibition devoted to heroic cruiser Varyag and gunboat Koreyets

Exhibition devoted to heroic cruiser Varyag and gunboat Koreyets 28.01.2010
Relics of legendary cruiser Varyag are exhibited in Baltiysk, the main naval base of Baltic Fleet. Historical items taken from Inchon City Museum (Republic of Korea) will be shown at Baltic Fleet Museum for one week.

BF mariners, representatives of the fleet's command, veterans of the Navy, and common citizens taking part in solemn opening ceremony of the exhibition Cruiser Varyag: discovery of relics were the first in the Amber Land [Baltic region] who saw miraculously preserved symbols of Russian sailors' great bravery taken from the sea 100 years ago.

Among the most valuable and interesting showpieces exhibited these days at BF Museum are Variag's jack flag, boat flag of Koreyets, Russian merchant flag of steamship Sungari. Besides, visitors can see Russian rifles of 1870-1971; model of cruiser Varyag; service medals; pictures of participants; album with water paintings drawn from nature and showing sea battle of Varyag and Koreyets against fourteen Japanese warships. This most rare document makes it possible to imagine forces posture off Chemulpo prior to battle and at its every stage right up to submerging of Russian ships by their crews.

Speaking at solemn opening ceremony, BF Commander Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov outlined the importance of symbolism of military honor and bravery of the crews of Varyag and Koreyets for current generation of naval mariners. "Although hundred years is between us and that heroic events, today Baltic Fleet sailors are also ready to defend our Motherland and show bravery for the sake of Russia", said the commander.

According to Vice Admiral retired Viktor Litvinov, BF Museum researcher and veteran of the Navy, Russian heroes from cruiser Varyag and gunboat Koreyets present shining example of devotion to native land and people for the numerous future generations of sailors, officers and admirals. "And now, standing next to historical battle flags we veterans are excited, inspired and proud of belonging to glorious Russian Navy", said Viktor Litvinov.

At the opening ceremony everyone could hear pathetic and warm-hearted songs about heroism of the cruiser, St. Andrew's colors, sea, sailors and naval service sung by Gardemariny children's choir of Baltiysk.

Member of the exhibition's steering committee Capt 1 rank Viktor Basov reported to attendants that after Baltiysk the holy naval relics would be sent to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski and then to Vladivostok.

Cruiser Varyag and gunboat Koreyets became a legend on February 9 [January 27 O.S.] 1904, when they took part in sea battle against 14 warships of Japanese Imperial Navy. Russian sailors repelled an offer to capitulate. Even though the battle was non-equal, Varyag and Koreyets managed to scupper two opponent's cruisers and one destroyer. However, damages of Russian cruiser were serious, too. To avoid capture of the ships, the crews decided to submerge Varyag and explode Koreyets. But not to haul down the St. Andrew's Flag in the enemy's face!

Source: Russian Ministry of Defense, photo: cruiser Varyag

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