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Baltika

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The former VJATCHESLAV MOLOTOV (1940-1957) built at Amsterdam in 1939-1940 with her sistership, the IOSIF STALIN. Originally planned for the Pacific Ocean lines from Vladivostok over Petropavlovsk on Kamtchatka and up to Tchukotka on the Berings Strait and also theoretically also be possible to maintain a line between Vladivostok and San Fransisco. However the outbreak of the war made the sisterships stay inside the Baltic Sea and based at the GosTorgFlot (Baltic Sea Shipiing Company) of Leningrad on Baltic Sea lines like Leningrad-Danzig, Leningrad-Stockholm, Copenhagen and others. They were both painted with black hull liner colours.

On the war outbreak on the Eastern front on midsummer 1941 both liners belonged to the BF (Baltijskij Flot) of the USSR Navy as transport ships called B-521 and B-509(I think) and helped to evacuate both Tallinn and Hango garnisons in 1941. The IOSIF STALIN hit am ine and was totally damaged and was transported to the USSR coast to finally be broken up in late 1947.

The ''MOLOTOV'' had a much longer and vivid career. She managed to end up inside Leningrad under the war where she was used both for making electricity and as a helping ship under the harsh 900 day and night long fascist siege of the city -where no fascists ever were let inside the town. After the victory in 1945 she was transferred to Black Sea in grey hull in 1946-1950 where almost all ships based in Odessa had been sunk during the war. From 1950-1955 she was transferred to DVMP/FESCO of Vladivostok in black hull colour on the Vladivostok-Petropavlovsk-Anadyr-Providenija(on Tchukotka) run awaiting the many war payments to arrive from former fascist-German merchant fleet given to the USSR by the Allied conference in Potsdam (Berlin) in 1945, still under repair in Europe.

In 1955 she was transferred back to Europe and to the BMP/Baltic Sea Shippin Company - now all white painted. In 1956 whe opened her long line of her career: Leningrad-Helsinki-Stockholm-Riga/Liepaja/Gdynia/Rostock-Copenhagen-(Oslo)-Bremerhaven-London line. Some few routes over the years can have been added to Le Havre in France, but normaly not. Due to the 1956 20th Party Congress in Moscow all places, factories, cities, streets and ships named after still living people was banned by the congress, and in July 1957 the VJATCHELSVA MOLOTOV was renamed BALTIKA - after the name of the Baltic Sea ("Baltika" or 'Baltijskoje Morje'). (The Baltic states region between Narva in the North and down to Kaliningrad is called PRIBALTIKA in Russian). Until 1986 she worked on this line combined with her many assistaing voyages in the cruise business and transport ship to La Habana on the recently revolutionary liberated Cuba in those days. One of her last tasks was to be together with the GEORG OTS, staff ship at the Reykjavik Summit in late 1986 between USSR's Mihail Gorbatchóv and the American leader, R. Reagan. Due to the ADMIRAL NACHIMOV disaster on 31st August 1986, all ships in the Morflot fleet older than 30 years had to be withdrawn from any passenger service. In 1987 she was sold and broken up in Pakistan.

For many decades she was the fastest passenger ship on the Baltic Sea with her turbine machinery and a service speed of 20,25 knots. On her trials she was close to 23 knots.

Interestingly this end of the old MOLOTOV was synchronized with the death of the Vjatcheslav Molotov himself, the former world-known foreign minister of the USSR and the still longest-living comrade-in-arms and colleague of V.I. Lenin since October Revolution in 1917 - who died on 8th November 1986. The old Bolshevik veteran left bank note savings of in all 500 Roubles ("all for the funeral"). His last saying in his 97th year of living and the record holder of being a party member of close to 83 years (a world record) of his life was "Call Shevardnadze /the acting foreign minsiter in the Gorbatchov government in those days/ -and remember to hand over these do***ents". Since 1957 he had been an anonymous persona-non-grata in USSR society and he maintained no contacts with no politicians and official jornalists. However, for any historically interested person can read the most amazing interview biographical book with V.M. Molotov also in English, by the author Felix Chuev (Feliks Tchujev) "Molotov remembers" from the Russian edition "Sto sorok besed s Moltovym"("140 meetings with Molotov") where he speaks with the poet and journalist Chuev under 17 years (1970-1986) on every aspect of politics and present life, and the peculiar pre-war details from meetings with Hitler, Göring and others (he was the only world politician who had so many odd contacts of those days).

On of the most notorious histories was the most dangerous war flight to meet the US Preisdeent Roosevelt. Molotov arrived finally after exchanging his pilot mask and clothes with his portfolio to the White House. President Roosevelt asked a servant if we really could rely on this guy and the White House servant told about the contents of Molotov's portfolio: "one piece of black Russian bread, a salami and a pistol." A old bolshevik hardly needed anything else in wartimes...
 

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