Russian cruiser Aurora

Aurora (Russian: Авро́ра, tr. Avrora, IPA: [ɐˈvrorə]) is a Russian protected cruiser, currently preserved as a museum ship in Saint Petersburg. Aurora was one of three Pallada-class cruisers, built in Saint Petersburg for service in the Pacific. All three ships of this class served during the Russo-Japanese War. Aurora survived the Battle of Tsushima and was interned under US protection in the Philippines, and eventually returned to the Baltic Fleet.

Cruiser Aurora.jpg
Aurora, moored in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Russian Empire → Soviet Union → Russia
OrderedJune 1896
BuilderAdmiralty Shipyard, Saint Petersburg
Laid down23 May 1897
Launched11 May 1900[1]
Completed10 July 1903
Commissioned16 July 1903
Decommissioned17 November 1948
Honours and
FateMuseum ship since 1956
StatusCeremoniously commissioned
General characteristics
Class and typePallada-class protected cruiser
Displacement6,731 t (6,625 long tons)
Length126.8 m (416 ft 0 in)
Beam16.8 m (55 ft 1 in)
Draught7.3 m (23 ft 11 in)
Installed power
Propulsion3 shafts; 3 triple-expansion steam engines
Speed19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph)
Range7,200 km (4,500 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)

One of the first incidents of the October Revolution in Russia took place on the cruiser Aurora, which reportedly fired the first shot, signalling the beginning of the attack on the Winter Palace.

Russo-Japanese WarEdit

Aurora in 1903

Soon after completion, on October 10, 1903, Aurora departed Kronstadt as part of Admiral Virenius's "reinforcing squadron" for Port Arthur.[4] While in the Red Sea, still enroute to Port Arthur, the squadron was recalled back to the Baltic Sea, under protest by Admiral Makarov, who specifically requested Admiral Virenius to continue his mission to Port Arthur. Only the seven destroyers of the reinforcing squadron were allowed to continue to the Far East.[5]

After her detachment from the reinforcing squadron and her arrival back to home port she underwent new refitting.[6] After refitting, Aurora was ordered back to Port Arthur as part of the Russian Baltic Fleet[7][8] Aurora sailed as part of Admiral Oskar Enkvist's Cruiser Squadron whose flagship would be the protected cruiser Oleg, an element of Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky's Baltic Fleet.[9] On the way to the Far East, Aurora received five hits, sustaining light damage from confused friendly fire, which killed the ship's chaplain and a sailor, in the Dogger Bank incident.[10]

On 27 and 28 May 1905 Aurora took part in the Battle of Tsushima, along with the rest of the Russian squadron. During the battle her captain, Captain 1st rank Evgeny Egoriev, and 14 crewmen were killed.

October Revolution mutinyEdit

Aurora is pictured on the Order of the October Revolution

During World War I Aurora operated in the Baltic Sea performing patrols and shore bombardment tasks. In 1915, her armament was changed to fourteen 152 mm (6 in) guns. At the end of 1916, she was moved to Petrograd (the renamed Saint Petersburg) for a major repair. The city was brimming with revolutionary ferment and part of her crew joined the 1917 February Revolution.

The ship's commanding officer, Captain Mikhail Nikolsky, was killed when he tried to suppress the revolt.[11] A revolutionary committee was created on the ship, with Aleksandr Belyshev elected as captain.

Second World WarEdit

Aurora in 2004.

In 1922 Aurora returned to service as a training ship. Assigned to the Baltic Fleet, from 1923, she repeatedly visited the Baltic Sea countries, including Norway in 1924, 1925, 1928 and 1930, Germany in 1929 and Sweden in 1925 and 1928. On 2 November 1927, Aurora was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for her revolutionary merits.

During the Second World War, the guns were taken from the ship and used in the land defence of Leningrad. The ship herself was docked in Oranienbaum port,[12] and was repeatedly shelled and bombed. On 30 September 1941 she was damaged and sunk in the harbour.

She was later salvaged and repaired after the war.

To the presentEdit

Port side view of the cruiser in 2008
Aurora and Krasin in Kronstadt
The Aurora Ensign (Soviet era)

Having long served as a museum ship, from 1984 to 1987 the cruiser was once again placed in her construction yard, the Admiralty Shipyard, for capital restoration. During the overhaul, due to deterioration, the ship's hull below the waterline was replaced with a new welded hull according to the original drawings. The cut off lower hull section was towed into the Gulf of Finland, to the unfinished base at Ruchi, and sunk near the shore. The restoration revealed that some of the ship parts, including the armour plates, were originally made in Britain.[13]

In January 2013 Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu announced plans to recommission Aurora and make her the flagship of the Russian Navy due to her historical and cultural importance.[14] On 21 September 2014 the ship was towed to the Admiralty Shipyard in Kronstadt to be overhauled,[12][15] to return in 2016.[16] On 16 July 2016 she returned to her home harbour in Saint Petersburg.[17]

Aurora in Kronstadt in September 2015

See alsoEdit

Aurora anchored to the shore in Saint Petersburg


  1. ^ "History". The Cruiser Aurora. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  2. ^ "General information". The Cruiser Aurora. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  3. ^ Polenov, L.L. (1987). Крейсер «Аврора» [Cruiser "Aurora"] (in Russian). Leningrad: Судостроение. pp. 162–165.
  4. ^ Corbett (2015) Vol. 1, p. 51
  5. ^ Corbett (2015) Vol. 1, p. 146, 147
  6. ^ Kowner, Rotem (2006). Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War. The Scarecrow Press. p. 52. ISBN 0-8108-4927-5.
  7. ^ Corbett (2015) Vol. 2, Chapters I, VI, X, XI, XIII, XIV
  8. ^ British Naval Attache Reports (2003) p. 354 the new redesignation to the 2nd Pacific Squadron was rarely used, in both Corbett texts and official British Naval Attache Reports, the term Baltic Fleet is mostly consistent.
  9. ^ Corbett (2015) Vol. 2, p. 194, 215, 273
  10. ^ Corbett (2015) Vol. 2, p. 35
  11. ^ Dowling, p. 571
  12. ^ a b Sávina, Sofía (7 November 2014). "Aurora: The cruiser that sparked a revolution – or did it?". Russia Beyond.
  13. ^ "Aurora". Museum Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  14. ^ "«Аврора» вернется в строй" ["Aurora" will return to service]. Dve Novosti (in Russian). 27 January 2013. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  15. ^ RT (21 September 2014). "Russian Revolution Symbol: Iconic 'Aurora' cruiser towed to renovation port". YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021.
  16. ^ "Legendary Aurora to return to its harbour after overhaul in 2016". TASS. 13 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Bolshevik Revolution warship Aurora returns to St. Petersburg". The Everett Herald. 16 July 2016.


  • British Naval Attache Reports. (2003) The Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905. The Battery Press. Nashville, Tennessee ISBN 0-89839-324-8
  • Budzbon, Przemysław (1985). "Russia". In Gray, Randal (ed.). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. pp. 291–325. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.
  • Campbell, N. J. M. (1979). "Russia". In Chesneau, Roger & Kolesnik, Eugene M. (eds.). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860–1905. New York: Mayflower Books. pp. 170–217. ISBN 0-8317-0302-4.
  • Corbett, Sir Julian. (2015) Maritime Operations In The Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905. Vol. 1 originally published January 1914. Naval Institute Press ISBN 978-1-59114-197-6
  • Corbett, Sir Julian. (2015) Maritime Operations In The Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905. Vol. 2 originally published October 1915. Naval Institute Press ISBN 978-1-59114-198-3
  • Dowling, Timothy C. Russia at War: From the Mongol Conquest to Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Beyond. ABC-CLIO, 2015. ISBN 978-1-59884-947-9
  • McLaughlin, Stephen (2019). "In Avrora's Shadow: The Russian Cruisers of the Diana Class". In Jordan, John (ed.). Warship 2019. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. pp. 81–97. ISBN 978-1-4728-3595-6.
  • Skvorcov, Aleksiey V. (2015). Cruisers of the First Rank: Avrora, Diana, Pallada. Sandomierz, Poland: Stratus. ISBN 978-83-63678-56-2.
  • Watts, Anthony J. (1990). The Imperial Russian Navy. London: Arms and Armour. ISBN 0-85368-912-1.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 59°57′19″N 30°20′17″E / 59.95528°N 30.33806°E / 59.95528; 30.33806