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The Era of Gorshkov: Triumph and Contradictions

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During the three decades of Admiral Sergei Gorshkov's leadership, the Soviet Navy – traditionally focused on coastal defense – expanded into a formidable ocean-going fleet, capable of confronting the US in distant waters. The author makes the provocative point that any competent leader of the Soviet Navy would have pursued the same course, as prescribed by the logic of the Cold War competition. Gorshkov was not only a gifted strategist, but also excelled at bureaucratic politics, and proved remarkably successful in convincing the Soviet leadership of the imperative of developing an ocean-going fleet. However, Gorshkov's fleet-building plans also contained vast inadequacies – most notably the tendency to undervalue repair and basing issues – which are amply described in this paper.
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Keywords: Gorshkov; Kuznetsov; Soviet Navy; Zhukov; balanced; growth; ocean-going; submarine

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Central Naval Museum, St Petersburg

Publication date: 2005-04-01

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