Heroes of the Crimean War of 1853-1856: list. History of the Crimean War

The basis of the foreign policy of Nicholas I during the whole period of his rule was the solution of two issues - "European" and "Eastern".

The European question developed under the influence of a series of bourgeois revolutions, which undermined the foundations of the rule of monarchical dynasties and thus threatened the imperial power in Russia with the spread of dangerous ideas and trends.

The “Eastern Question”, despite the fact that this concept was introduced into diplomacy only in the thirties of the 19th century, had a long history, and its development stages consistently expanded the borders of the Russian Empire. The bloody and senseless Crimean War of Nicholas I (1853-1856) was one of the stages of solving the "Eastern Question" in order to establish influence in the Black Sea.

Tsar Nicholas I

Territorial acquisitions of Russia in the first half of the XIX century in the East

In the 19th century, Russia carried out an active program to annex neighboring territories.For these purposes, ideological and political work was carried out to develop influence on the Christian, Slavic and oppressed populations of other empires and states. This created precedents for the voluntary or as a result of military operations the inclusion of new lands in the jurisdiction of the Russian Empire. Several important territorial wars with Persia and the Ottoman Empire long before the start of the Crimean campaign were only part of the state’s vast territorial ambitions.

Eastern military operations of Russia and their results are presented in the table below.



Peace treaty

Affiliated territories

Paul's decree



War of Russia and Persia



Dagestan, Kartli, Kakheti, Migrelia, Guria and Imereti, all of Abkhazia and part of Azerbaijan within the territorial boundaries of the seven principalities, as well as part of the Talysh Khanate

War of Russia and Ottoman Empire



Bessarabia and a number of areas of the Transcaucasian region, confirmation of privileges in the Balkans, ensuring the right of Serbia for self-government and the right of a protectorate of Russia to Christians living in Turkey. Russia lost: ports in Anapa, Poti, Akhalkalaki

War of Russia and Persia



Remaining not affiliated to Russia, part of Armenia, Erivan and Nakhichevan

War of Russia and the Ottoman Empire



The entire east coast of the Black Sea - from the mouth of the Kuban River to the fortress of Anapa, Sujuk-Kale, Poti, Akhaltsikhe, Akhalkalaki, islands in the mouth of the Danube. Russia also received a protectorate in Moldova and Wallachia.

Voluntary acceptance of Russian citizenship



The future heroes of the Crimean War (1853-1856) took part in some of these wars.

In the solution of the "Eastern Question", Russia advanced significantly, gaining control over the southern seas by diplomatic means until 1840. However, the next decade brought significant strategic losses in the Black Sea.

The war of Russia with Persia 1826-1828

Empire wars on the world stage

The history of the Crimean War (1853-1856) began in 1833, when Russia concluded the Unkar-Iskelesi Treaty with Turkey, which strengthened its influence on the territory of the Middle East.

Such cooperation between Russia and Turkey caused discontent among European states, especially the main opinion leader in Europe, England. The British Crown sought to maintain its influence in all the seas,being the largest owner of the commercial and military fleet in the world and the largest supplier of industrial goods to the international market. Its bourgeoisie increased its colonial expansion in the surrounding regions, rich in natural resources and convenient for trading. Therefore, in 1841, as a result of the London Convention, Russia's independence in relations with the Ottoman Empire was limited by the introduction of collective oversight over Turkey.

Russia thus lost its almost monopolistic right to supply goods to Turkey, reducing its trade in the Black Sea by 2.5 times.

For the weak economy of serf Russia, this was a serious blow. Not having the ability of industrial competition in Europe, she traded food, resources, and fishery goods, and also supplemented the treasury with taxes from the population of the newly acquired territories and customs duties — strong positions in the Black Sea were important to her. Simultaneously with the restriction of Russia's influence on the lands of the Ottoman Empire, the bourgeois circles of European countries and even the United States armed the army and navy of Turkey, preparing them for military operations in the event of war with Russia. Nicholas I also decided to start preparing for a future war.

The main strategic motives of Russia in the Crimean campaign

Russia's objectives in the Crimean campaign were to consolidate influence in the Balkans with control of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits and political pressure on Turkey, which was in a weak economic and military situation. In the distant plans of Nicholas I was the division of the Ottoman Empire with the transition to Russia of the territories of Moldavia, Wallachia, Serbia and Bulgaria, as well as Constantinople as the former capital of Orthodoxy.

Calculation of the emperor was that England and France in the Crimean War will not be able to unite, because they are irreconcilable enemies. And therefore, they will observe neutrality or will enter the war one by one.

The alliance of Austria Nicholas I considered secured in view of the services rendered to them by the Austrian emperor in the liquidation of the revolution in Hungary (1848). And Prussia will not decide on her own.

The reason for the tension in relations with the Ottoman Empire became Christian shrines in Palestine, which the sultan handed over not to the Orthodox, but to the Catholic Church.

A delegation was sent to Turkey with the following objectives:

• putting pressure on the sultan in the matter of transferring Christian shrines to the Orthodox Church;

• consolidating Russia's influence in the territories of the Ottoman Empire, where the Slavs live.

The delegation headed by Menshikov did not achieve the goals assigned to it, the mission was failed. The Turkish sultan was already tentatively prepared for negotiations with Russia by Western diplomats who hinted at the serious support of influential states in a possible war. Thus, the long-planned Crimean campaign became a reality, starting with Russia's occupation of the principalities on the Danube, which occurred in the middle of the summer of 1853.

The main stages of the Crimean War

From July to November 1853, the Russian army was located in Moldavia and Wallachia with the aim of intimidating the Turkish sultan and forcing him to make concessions. Finally, in October, Turkey decided to declare war, and Nicholas I launched the start of hostilities with a special manifesto. This war has become a tragic page in the history of the Russian Empire. The heroes of the Crimean War forever remained in people's memory examples of courage, endurance and love for their homeland.

The first stage of the war is the Russian-Turkish fighting, which lasted until April 1854 on the Danube and the Caucasus, as well as naval operations in the Black Sea. They were conducted with varying success.The Danube war had a protracted positional character, which was senselessly exhausting the troops. In the Caucasus, the Russians conducted active hostilities. As a result, this front was the most successful. An important event of the first period of the Crimean War is the naval operation of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the water area of ​​Sinop Bay.

Turkish sailors are evacuated from burned and damaged ships after the battle in Sinop Bay

The second stage of the Crimean battle (April 1854 - February 1856) is the period of intervention of the coalition military forces in the Crimea, the port areas in the Baltic, on the coast of the White Sea, Kamchatka. The combined coalition forces of the British, Ottoman, French empires and the Sardinian kingdom attacked Odessa, Solovki, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the Aland Islands in the Baltic and landed their troops in the Crimea. The battles of this period include military operations in the Crimea on the Alma River, the siege of Sevastopol, the battles for Inkerman, the Black River and Evpatoria, and the Russian occupation of the Turkish fortress of Kars and a number of other fortifications in the Caucasus.

Thus, the united coalition’s Crimean War began with a simultaneous attack on several strategically important objects of Russia, which was to sow panic from Nicholas I and also provoke a distribution of Russian forces into combat operations on several fronts.This radically changed the course of the Crimean War of 1853-1856, putting Russia in an extremely disadvantageous position.

Battle in the waters of the Bay of Sinop

Sinop battle was an example of the feat of the Russian sailors. The Sinopskaya Embankment in St. Petersburg was named after him, the Order of Nakhimov was established, and on December 1 it is annually celebrated as the Memorial Day of the heroes of the Crimean War of 1853-1856.

The battle began with a squadron raid led by Vice-Admiral of the Fleet P. S. Nakhimov to a Turkish group of ships that had experienced a storm in Sinop Bay in order to attack the Caucasus coast and occupy the Sukhum-Kale fortress.

Six Russian ships, arranged in two columns, participated in the naval battle, which improved their safety under enemy shots and provided opportunities for quick maneuvers and reconfigurations. 612 cannons were mounted on the ships participating in the operation. Two more small frigates blocked the exit from the bay to prevent the remnants of the Turkish squadron from fleeing. The battle lasted no more than eight hours. Directly Nakhimov led the flagship "Empress Maria", which destroyed two ships of the Turkish squadron.In battle, his ship received a large amount of damage, but remained afloat.

Vice-Admiral PS Nakhimov

Thus, for Nakhimov, the Crimean War of 1853-1856 began with a victorious naval battle, covered in detail in the European and Russian press, and also entered into military historiography as an example of a brilliantly conducted operation that destroyed the superior enemy fleet of 17 ships and the entire coast guard.

The total losses of the Ottomans amounted to more than 3,000 killed, and many people were also captured. Only the steamship of the united coalition “Taif”, which had fled at high speed past Nakhimov’s frigates at the entrance to the bay, was able to avoid fighting.

The Russian group of ships survived in full, but human casualties could not be avoided.

For the cold-blooded conduct of combat operations in the Sinop Bay, V.I. Istomin, commander of the Paris ship, was awarded the rank of Rear Admiral. Subsequently, the hero of the Crimean War of 1853-1856 Istomin V.I., who was in charge of the defense of Malakhov Kurgan, would die on the battlefield.

Captain 1st Rank Istomin V.I.

Siege of Sevastopol

During the Crimean War of 1853-1856 defense of the Sevastopol fortress holds a special placebecoming a symbol of unparalleled courage and perseverance of the defenders of the city, as well as the most protracted and bloody on both sides operation of the coalition forces against the Russian army.

In July 1854, the Russian fleet was blocked in Sevastopol by superior enemy forces (the number of ships of the united coalition exceeded the strength of the Russian fleet more than three times). The main coalition warships were steam iron, that is, more high-speed and resistant to damage.

To detain enemy troops on the approaches to Sevastopol, the Russians launched a military operation on the Alma River, near Evpatoria. However, the battle could not be won and had to retreat.

Siege of Sevastopol

Then began the preparation of Russian troops with the involvement of the local population of fortifications for the defense of Sevastopol from enemy bombardments from land and from the sea. The defense of Sevastopol was led at this stage by Admiral V. A. Kornilov.

The defense was conducted according to all the rules of fortification and helped the defenders of Sevastopol to hold siege for almost a year. Fortress garrison was 35,000 people.On October 5, 1854, the first sea and land bombardment of the fortifications of Sevastopol by coalition troops took place. The shelling of the city was carried out from almost 1,500 guns simultaneously from the sea and from land.

The enemy intended to destroy the fortress, and then take it by storm. In total, five bombings were conducted. As a result of the last fortification on the Malakhov Kurgan, the enemy’s troops finally collapsed and stormed.

After taking the height of "Malakhov Kurgan", the troops of the united coalition installed guns on it and began shelling the defense of Sevastopol.

Hussars are preparing for dinner, a rare photograph from the time of the Crimean War of 1853-1856

When the second bastion fell, the defensive line of Sevastopol was seriously damaged, which forced the command to give an order to retreat, which was carried out quickly and in an orderly manner.

During the siege of Sevastopol, more than 100 thousand Russians and more than 70 thousand coalition troops died.

The abandonment of Sevastopol did not lead to the loss of the combat capability of the Russian army. Having led her to nearby heights, the commander of Gorchakov established defense, received reinforcements and was ready to continue the battle.

Heroes of Russia

Heroes of the Crimean War of 1853-1856 steel admirals, officers, engineers, sailors and soldiers.A huge list of those killed in a heavy confrontation with the far superior enemy forces makes every defender of Sevastopol a hero. On the defense of Sevastopol, more than 100,000 Russian people, military and civilian, died.

The courage and heroism of the participants of the defense of Sevastopol inscribed the name of each of them in golden letters in the history of the Crimea and Russia.

Some of the heroes of the Crimean War are listed in the table below.

Adjutant General. Vice Admiral Kornilov V. A.

He organized for the construction of fortifications of Sevastopol population, military and the best engineers. He was the inspiration for all involved in the defense of the fortress of people. The admiral is considered the founder of a number of areas in a positional war. Effectively used various methods of protecting the fortress and surprise attack: sorties, night landings, minefields, methods of naval attack and artillery confrontation from land. He offered to conduct an adventure operation to neutralize the enemy’s fleet before the beginning of the defense of Sevastopol, but was refused by the commander of the troops Menshikov. Killed on the day of the first bombing of the city

Vice Admiral P.S. Nakhimov

He commanded the Sinop operation in 1853, led the defense of Sevastopol after the death of Kornilov, enjoyed the unparalleled respect of soldiers and officers. Cavalier 12 orders for successful military operations. He died from a mortal wound on June 30, 1855. During his burial, even his opponents lowered flags on their ships, observing the procession through binoculars. The coffin was carried by generals and admirals

Captain 1st Rank Istomin V.I.

Supervised defensive structures, which included Malakhov Kurgan. An active and enterprising leader, devoted to the motherland and to the cause. Awarded the Order of St. George 3rd degree. Died in March 1855

Surgeon Pirogov N. I.

He is the author of the basics of surgery in the field. He conducted a large number of operations, saving the lives of defenders of the fortress. In the operations and treatment applied advanced methods of his time - a plaster cast and anesthesia.

Sailor of the 1st article Cat P. M.

During the defense of Sevastopol, he distinguished himself by courage and resourcefulness, making dangerous forays into the enemy’s camp for the purpose of reconnaissance, capturing prisoners of "tongues" and destroying fortifications. Awarded with military awards

Daria Mikhailova (Sevastopol)

Showed incredible heroism and endurance in difficult periods of war, saving the wounded and taking them out of the battlefield. She also dressed as a man and participated in combat raids into the enemy camp. Before her courage admired the famous surgeon Pirogov. Awarded the Emperor's personal reward

Totleben E.M.

Supervised the construction of engineering structures of the bags with the ground. Its buildings survived the five most powerful bombing raids and turned out to be more enduring than any stone fortresses.

On the scale of the hostilities that were conducted simultaneously in several places scattered over a large territory of the Russian Empire, the Crimean War became one of the most strategically complex campaigns. Russia not only fought with a powerful coalition of united forces. The enemy is significantly superior manpower and level of equipment - firearms, cannons, as well as more powerful and high-speed fleet. The results of all the naval and land battles carried out showed the high skill of the officers and the unparalleled patriotism of the people, which compensated for serious backwardness, mediocre leadership and poor supply of the army.

Results of the Crimean War

The exhausting fighting with a large number of casualties (according to some historians, 250 thousand people on each side) forced the participants in the conflict to take steps to end the war. The negotiations were attended by representatives of all the countries of the united coalition and Russia. The terms of this document were observed until 1871, then some of them were canceled.

The main articles of the treatise:

  • the return of the Caucasian fortress of Kars and Anatolia to the Russian Empire of Turkey;
  • the prohibition of the presence of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea;
  • depriving Russia of protectorate rights over Christians living in the territory of the Ottoman Empire;
  • Russia's ban on the construction of fortresses on the Aland Islands;
  • the return by the coalition of the Russian Empire of the Crimean territories conquered from it;
  • the return by the coalition of the Russian Empire of Urup Island;
  • the prohibition of the Ottoman Empire to keep a fleet in the Black Sea;
  • Danube navigation is declared free for all.

As a summary, it should be noted that the united coalition achieved its goals, for a long time weakening Russia's position on influencing political processes in the Balkans and controlling trade operations in the Black Sea.

If we evaluate the Crimean War as a whole, then as a result of it, Russia did not suffer territorial losses, and the parity of its positions in relation to the Ottoman Empire was respected. The defeat in the Crimean War is estimated by historians on the basis of a large number of human victims and those ambitions that were invested as targets at the very beginning of the Crimean campaign by the Russian court.

The reasons for Russia's defeat in the Crimean War

Most historians list the reasons for the defeat of Russia in the Crimean War identified since the era of Nicholas I, which are considered to be the low economic level of the state, technical backwardness, poor logistics, corruption in the army supply and poor command.

In fact, the reasons are much more complicated:

  1. Russia's unwillingness to war on several fronts, which the coalition imposed.
  2. Lack of allies.
  3. The superiority of the coalition fleet, forcing Russia to move to a state of siege in Sevastopol.
  4. Shortage of weapons for high-quality and effective defense and countering the landing of the coalition landing on the Peninsula.
  5. Ethnic and national contradictions in the rear of the army (the Tatars supplied the coalition army with food, Polish officers deserted from the Russian army).
  6. The need to keep the army in Poland and Finland and wage wars with Shamil in the Caucasus and to protect ports in the zones of threat of the coalition (Caucasus, Danube, White, Baltic Sea and Kamchatka).
  7. Anti-Russian propaganda unfolding in the West in order to put pressure on Russia (backwardness, serfdom, Russian cruelty).
  8. Poor technical equipment of the army, both with modern small arms and cannons, and steam vessels. A significant drawback of warships, in comparison with the coalition fleet.
  9. The lack of railways for the rapid transfer of the army, weapons and food to the combat zone.
  10. The arrogance of Nicholas I after a series of successful previous wars of the Russian army (at least six total number - both in Europe and in the East). The signing of the "Paris" treatise occurred after the death of Nicholas I. The new command of the Russian Empire was not ready to continue the war due to economic and internal problems in the state, therefore, it agreed to the humiliating conditions of the "Paris" treatise.

The consequences of the Crimean War

The defeat in the Crimean War was the largest after Austerlitz.It caused significant damage to the economy of the Russian Empire and made the new autocrat Alexander II look at the government differently.

Therefore, the consequences of the Crimean War of 1853-1856 were major changes in the state:

1. The construction of railways began.

2. Military reform abolished the old-regime recruitment duty, replacing it with universal, and restructured the management of the army.

3. The development of military medicine began, the founder of which was the hero of the Crimean War surgeon Pirogov.

4. The countries of the coalition organized for Russia the isolation regime, which had to be overcome in the course of the next decade.

5. Five years after the war, serfdom was abolished, giving a breakthrough to the development of industry and the intensification of agriculture.

6. The development of capitalist relations made it possible to transfer into private hands the production of weapons and ammunition, which stimulated the development of new technologies and price competition among suppliers.

7. The solution of the Eastern question continued in the 70s of the XIX century by another Russian-Turkish war, which returned to Russia the lost positions in the Black Sea and territories in the Balkans.Fortements in and in this battle were erected by the hero of the Crimean War engineer Totleben.

Alexander II

The government of Alexander II made good conclusions from the defeat in the Crimean War, having carried out economic and political changes in society and a serious re-equipment and reform of the armed forces. These changes anticipated the industrial growth that in the second half of the XIX century allowed Russia to return its right to vote on the world stage, turning it into a full-fledged participant in European political life.

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