1908-01-01 THE NAVY AGITATION
London Times, 1 January 1908, p. 7: THE NAVY AGITATION(From our own correspondent). St. Petersburg, Dec. 28.
Commander Rimsky Korsakoff yesterday delivered a lecture at the Public Men’s Club on the reasons which made it necessary for Russia to have an active fleet. He pointed to the present political conjuncture; the cloud in the Far East might burst at any moment; Japan and America stood face to face, watching one another’s movements; nor was Europe quiet; there was rivalry between England and Germany. Where, then, was the regenerated Russian fleet to be stationed? The lecturer concluded in favour of the Baltic; since with the loss of Port Arthur Russia had been deprived of a secure base in Far Eastern waters.
Admiral Birileff, who was present, next addressed the audience. The former Minister of Marine insisted on the necessity of organizing without delay a fleet efficient alike for offensive and defensive warfare. Its confinement to the Baltic was, however, tantamount to renouncing all idea of an active fleet, which was so essential to a first-class Power. His successor was now working for the re-establishment of the navy. It was, however, erroneous to suppose that Russia had no fleet. Since the war the navy had been increased by 24,000 tons and 193,000 h.p. as compared with the opening of the Russo-Japanese war. The personnel was a harder problem, as the loss of 387 officers was difficult to replace.
Captain Dobrotvorsky made an energetic rejoinder to the lecturer and to Admiral Birileff, maintaining that there was no necessity of building a fleet for offensive purposes. Only submarines could restore Russian prestige in Far Eastern waters.
Provided by Stephen McLaughlin