a Russian noble family of naval officers.
Naum Akimovich Seniavin. Born circa 1680; died May 24 (June 4), 1738. Vice admiral (1727).
N. A. Seniavin entered military service in 1698 as a soldier of the Preobrazhenskii Regiment. He subsequently served as a seaman and noncommissioned officer in the Baltic Fleet and distinguished himself in the Northern War of 1700–21. In 1713 he was appointed commander of a ship of the line. At the battle of Osel in 1719, while commanding a detachment of ships, he compelled three Swedish ships to surrender. A member of the Naval Collegia from 1721, Seniavin commanded the galley fleet from 1728 to 1732. In the Russo-Turkish War of 1735–39, he commanded the Dnieper Naval Flotilla from September 1737.
Aleksei Naumovich Seniavin. Born 1716; died Aug. 10 (21), 1797. Admiral (1775).
The son of N. A. Seniavin, A. N. Seniavin entered the navy in 1734 with the rank of ensign. He served in the Dnieper Naval Flotilla during the Russo-Turkish War of 1735–39 and in the Baltic Fleet from 1739. During the Seven Years’ War of 1756–63, A. N. Seniavin commanded a ship of the line at the blockade of Kolberg (Kotobrzeg). From 1762 to 1766 he was in retirement. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74, he commanded the Don Military Flotilla, supporting the Russian troops’ capture of the fortresses of Kerch and Enikale and defending the Crimean coast and the Kerch’ Strait. He helped create the Black Sea Fleet. A. N. Seniavin was a member of the Naval Collegia from 1794.
Dmitrii Nikolaevich Seniavin. Born Aug. 6 (17), 1763, in the village of Komlevo, now in Borovsk Raion, Kaluga Oblast; died Apr. 5 (17), 1831. Russian naval commander, adjutant general (1825), and admiral (1826).
The second cousin of A. N. Seniavin, D. N. Seniavin graduated from the Naval Cadet School in 1780 and entered service in the Black Sea Fleet in 1783. He fought in the battle of Cape Kaliakra in the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–91 and commanded the battleship St. Peter in Ushakov’s Mediterranean campaign of 1798–1800. In November 1798, while commanding a detachment of ships, D. N. Seniavin took the French fortress on Santa Maura Island and took part in the assault on Corfu. In 1806, while in command of a Russian fleet in the Adriatic, he prevented the French seizure of the Ionian Islands and captured several important fortresses, including Cattaro. In 1807, during the Second Archipelago Expedition, a Russian Aegean fleet under Seniavin’s command blockaded the Dardanelles and defeated the Ottoman fleet in battles in the Dardanelles and near Athos, which ensured the supremacy of the Russian fleet in the Greek archipelago.
D. N. Seniavin carried the naval tactics developed by F. F. Ushakov a step farther, maneuvering and concentrating forces to strike at the enemy’s flagships and coordinating the movements of tactical groups of ships along main and auxiliary axes. He showed great solicitude for the well-being of his crews, treating the seamen humanely and in return enjoying great popularity among them. He also displayed outstanding diplomatic abilities, especially during the Anglo-Russian War of 1807–12, when a Russian squadron found itself in difficulties in Lisbon. However, Alexander I was adamant in his dissatisfaction with Seniavin, both for the latter’s independent actions in the Mediterranean and for his negotiations with the British, as a result of which the Russian squadron was interned. Upon his return to St. Petersburg, Seniavin was appointed in 1811 to the minor post of commander of the port of Revel; in 1813 he was retired.
D. N. Seniavin’s democratic views attracted the attention of the Decembrists, who planned to give him a post in a provisional government they hoped to establish. In 1825, as Russo-Turkish relations deteriorated, Seniavin was recalled to service and appointed commander of the Baltic Fleet.
Various natural and man-made features are named after D. N. Seniavin—an island group in the Caroline Islands, capes on Bristol Bay of the Bering Sea and on southeastern Sakhalin Island, and several warships of the Russian and Soviet navies.
WORKS“Zapiski admirala D. N. Seniavina.” In V. Goncharov, Admiral Seniavin. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945.
REFERENCESShapiro, A. L. Admiral D. N. Seniavin. Moscow, 1958.
Tarle, E. V. Ekspeditsiia admirala D. N. Seniavina v Sredizemnoe more (1805–1807). Moscow, 1954.