Lazarev, Mikhail

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lazarev, Mikhail Petrovich


Born Nov. 3 (14), 1788, in the city of Vladimir; died Apr. 11 (23), 1851, in Vienna and buried in Sevastopol’. Russian naval commander and navigator; admiral (1843). Son of a member of the dvorianstvo (nobility or gentry).

In 1800, Lazarev entered the Naval Cadet Corps; in 1803 he was sent to the English Navy, where he served continuously at sea for five years. In 1808–13 he served in the Baltic Fleet and participated in the Russo-Swedish War of 1808–09 and the Patriotic War of 1812. Lazarev completed his first voyage around the world in 1813–16; sailing aboard the ship Suvorov from Kronstadt to the shores of Alaska and back again, he discovered the Suvorov Atoll. As commander of the ship Mirnyi and an assistant on F. F. Bellingshausen’s around-the-world expedition in 1819–21, Lazarev participated in the discovery of Antarctica and numerous islands. In 1822, commanding the frigate Kreiser, he completed his third around-the-world voyage (1822–25), on which extensive scientific research was conducted in meteorology, ethnography, and so on. In 1826 he became squadron chief of staff and simultaneously commander of the battleship Azov, aboard which he completed a campaign in the Mediterranean Sea as part of Admiral L. P. Geiden’s squadron and took part in the battle of Navarino of 1827. For his distinguished service in the battle, he was promoted to rear admiral and the Azov, for the first time in the history of the Russian Navy, was awarded the Flag of St. George.

In 1828–29, Lazarev led the blockade of the Dardanelles; in 1830 he returned to Kronstadt and commanded a detachment of ships in the Baltic Fleet. In 1832 he became chief of staff of the Black Sea Fleet. In February-June 1833, while in command of a squadron, he led the Russian naval expedition to the Bosporus (1833), as a result of which the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi was concluded in 1833. In the same year he became commander in chief of the Black Sea Fleet and the Black Sea ports and military governor of Sevastopol’ and Nikolaev.

A talented military organizer, Lazarev advocated the creation of a strong steamship fleet, but the technical and economic backwardness of Russia blocked the achievement of this goal. Lazarev trained many talented naval commanders and captains (P. S. Nakhimov, V. A. Kornilov, V. I. Istomin, G. I. Butakov). An atoll in the Tuamotu Islands in the Pacific Ocean, capes in the Amur Liman and on the northern part of Unimak Island, an island in the Aral Sea, a bay and port in the Sea of Japan, and other places were named after Lazarev.


M. P. Lazarev: Dokumenty, vols. 1–3. Moscow, 1952–61.
Nikul’chenkov, K. I. Admiral Lazarev. Moscow, 1956.
Sokolov, A. V., and E. G. Kushnarev. Tri krugosvetnykh plavaniia M. P. Lazareva. Moscow, 1951.
Russkie moreplavateli. Moscow, 1953.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.