Nakhimov, Pavel Stepanovich

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nakhimov, Pavel Stepanovich


Born June 23 (July 5), 1802, in the village of Gorodok, Viaz’ma District, Smolensk Province, now the village of Nakhimovskoe, Andreevka Raion, Smolensk Oblast; died June 30 (July 12), 1855, in Sevastopol’. Russian naval commander; admiral (1855). Son of an officer.

Nakhimov graduated from the Naval Cadet School in 1818 and served in the Baltic Fleet. Between 1822 and 1825 he sailed around the world on the frigate Kreiser. He was a battery commander on the ship of the line Azov in the battle of Navarino of 1827. In the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29 during the blockade of the Dardanelles, Nakhimov commanded a corvette and, from 1829 until his return to Kronstadt, the frigate Pallada.

Transferred to the Black Sea Fleet in 1834, Nakhimov was placed in command of a ship of the line. He made observation cruises along the Caucasian shores and took part in the disembarkation of landing parties and the fortification of the Black Sea coast in the 1840’s. He was promoted to rear admiral and appointed commander of a ship brigade in 1845; he was promoted to vice admiral and appointed chief of a naval division in 1852. Nakhimov was Admiral M. P. Lazarev’s associate and earned great respect for his knowledge of the naval art. In the Crimean War of 1853–56, while commanding a squadron of the Black Sea Fleet, Nakhimov located and blocked the main forces of the Turkish Navy at Sinop and defeated them on November 18 (30) in the battle of Sinop of 1853. Nakhimov’s actions in the battle were marked by aggressiveness, resoluteness, and the effective use of artillery.

During the defense of Sevastopol’ of 1854–55, Nakhimov correctly gauged the strategic importance of Sevastopol’ and used all the men and matÄäïriel at his disposal to consolidate the defense of the city. At the time, Nakhimov was officially the commander of a squadron and, from February 1855, commander of the port of Sevastopol’ and military governor, but from the very beginning of the defense of Sevastopol’, he virtually headed the heroic garrison of the defenders of the fortress, displaying outstanding ability in organizing the defense of the naval base from the sea and land. Nakhimov directed the formation of naval battalions, the construction of batteries, and the formation and training of reserves. He directly decided the major questions of combat leadership, directed combat operations along the main axes and the repulse of enemy attacks, and was daily concerned with the organization of coordination between land and naval forces, the most effective use of artillery, the construction of engineer installations, and the provision of medical and logistic services.

As organizer and leader of the defense, Nakhimov was highly respected and loved by the defenders of Sevastopol’, before whom he set an example of bravery and endurance. While touring a forward fortification, he was struck in the head by a bullet on Malakhov Hill on June 28 (July 10). He was buried in Sevastopol’ in Vladimir Cathedral. A monument to Nakhimov was erected in Sevastopol’ (bronze and granite, 1959; sculptor N. V. Tomskii). In 1944 the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR instituted the Order of Nakhimov First and Second Class and the Nakhimov Medal. A cruiser of the Soviet Navy and other ships have been named in honor of Nakhimov.


Nakhimov, P. S. Dokumenty i materialy. Moscow, 1954.


Admiral Nakhimov: Stat’i i ocherki. Compiled by B. I. Zverev. Moscow, 1954.
Belavenets, P. I. Admiral Nakhimov. Sevastopol’, 1902.
Mazunin, N. P. Admiral P. S. Nakhimov. Moscow, 1952.
Zverev, B. I. Vydaiushchiisia russkii flotovodets P. S. Nakhimov. Smolensk, 1955.
Polikarpov, V. D. P. S. Nakhimov. Moscow, 1960.
Davydov, Iu. V. Nakhimov. Moscow, 1970.


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