All too often, Western writers blithely—and inaccurately—use the word “never” when describing Russia’s relationship to the sea. “Never under the Tsars,” we are told, “did the Russian Navy penetrate the Mediterranean.” This, of course, is not true.
In 1725, one of Peter’s captains, Ivan Koshelev, with a ship-of-the-line and two frigates, voyaged from Kronstadt to Cadiz, and had a glimpse of the blue Mediterranean. In 1769, the Baltic Fleet came in force to fight the Turks in the Aegean, and commenced a Mediterranean squadron which had its bicentennial in November 1969.
While some writers may be forgiven for overlooking something that happened two-and-a-half centuries ago, it is harder to excuse those modern naval observers who maintain that “The Tsarist Navy never entered the Persian Gulf.”