Variag(redirected from Varyag)
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Russian cruiser that became famous during the time of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. Built in 1899 in Philadelphia (USA), it had a water displacement of 6,500 tons; a speed of 23-24 knots (42-44 km per hr); an armament of 12 guns of 152 mm, 12 of 75 mm, eight of 47 mm, and two of 37 mm and six torpedo tubes; and a crew of 570. At the beginning of the Russo-Japanese War it was docked, together with the gunboat Koreets, in the neutral Korean port of Chemulpo (Inchon), where it was blockaded by the squadron of the Japanese rear admiral Uryu, who threatened to attack Russian ships on the roadstead if they were not abandoned before 12 o’clock of Jan. 27 (Feb. 9), 1904. The commander of the Variag, Captain First Class V. F. Rudnev, decided to force his way through to Port Arthur. In a heroic battle with the Japanese squadron (one heavy and five light cruisers, eight destroyers) near the island of Wolmi, the Variag damaged two cruisers and sank one destroyer but was itself heavily damaged and lost 122 persons killed and wounded. In order to prevent seizure of the ships, the crews blew up the Koreets, sank the Variag, and returned to Russia via neutral ports. In 1905 the Variag was raised by the Japanese and enrolled in the navy as the Soya. In April 1916 it was bought by Russia from Japan and in November 1916, under its former name, Variag, arrived at Kola Bay, where it joined the flotilla of the northern Arctic Ocean. In February 1917 it was sent to England for repairs, but it was not completely repaired before the end of World War I and was then sold for scrap.