Butakov, Grigorii

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Butakov, Grigorii Ivanovich


Born Sept. 27 (Oct. 9), 1820, in Riga; died May 31 (June 12), 1882, in St. Petersburg. Russian admiral (1878).

Butakov was born into the family of a naval officer. After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1836, he served for a time with the Baltic Fleet and from December 1837, with the Black Sea Fleet. In the period 1847-50 he compiled the first systematic sailing manual for the Black Sea. During the Crimean War (1853-1856), Butakov was commanding officer of the steam frigate Vladimir, which captured the Turkish steamship Pervaz-Bakhri during an engagement. He was also commanding officer of the steam frigate Khersones during the defense of Sevastopol’. From 1856 he was commander in chief of the Black Sea Fleet and military governor of Nikolaev and Sevastopol’. From 1860 he again served with the Baltic Fleet, and from 1867 to 1877 he commanded a squadron of armored ships. In 1881 he became commander in chief of the St. Petersburg port.

A man of great erudition, Butakov held progressive views regarding the development of the navy and made a significant contribution to the theory and practice of Russian naval art. He introduced reforms in the organization and tactics of the Russian fleet in response to the development of a steam-powered fleet, and he trained an entire generation of well-prepared sailors; he was S. O. Makarov’s teacher. In his work New Foundations of Steamship Tactics (1863), which was translated into various languages, he provided some general conclusions about steamship combat. The principles that he developed in Rules of Steamship Maneuver were recognized and applied by fleets throughout the world.


Lur’e A., and A. Marinin. Admiral G. I. Butakov. Moscow, 1954. Berezin, E. Admiral G. I. Butakov, 2nd ed. St. Petersburg, 1884.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.