From Siberia to Crimea: The Revenge of History in U.S.-Russian Relations

    Lyle J. Goldstein

    Security, Europe

    Russian army troops rehearse before the World War II anniversary in Moscow

    One is tempted to conclude that the Washington foreign-policy establishment has learned little over the past century.

    Strolling the cavernous and well-appointed halls of Russia’s carefully renovated Central Naval Museum [Центральный Военно-морской Музей] near the Neva River in St. Petersburg, one can find an assortment of interesting artifacts, not least the small skiff in which Peter the Great learned to sail more than three centuries ago now. Among the many captured battle standards from Sweden, Turkey and Germany that are proudly displayed, a few of the expansive oil paintings took me by surprise. There was, for example, a picture depicting the Russian fleet at anchor off of Kodiak in Alaska during the mid-eighteenth century. Another showed the Soviet Navy’s first submarine kill by torpedo on July 31, 1919. On that day, the British destroyer HMS Vittoria was sunk by the Bolshevik submarine Pantera under the command of Alexander Bakhtin. I had known, of course, that Allied forces intervened in the Russian Civil War during 1918–22, but was not aware that the intervention had occasioned such deadly incidents.

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