The Rurik Class:
Imperial Russia's Biggest Armored Cruisers (1895-1901)

Andreyevski naval jack used in the Imperial Russian Navy

Rurik answered Russia's need for a long-distance, heavily gunned cruiser with commerce raiding and intimidation duties resulting from the expansion of the Tsar's empire in the Far East. The Admiralty and the Baltic Works attempted to meet this need through three ships of this type, with some improvements made in each successive vessel.

Although her great size -- nearly 12,000 tons -- ramped up a shipbuilding competition with Britain with very large armoured cruisers produced until the eve of WWI, Rurik herself was a rather lame entry, under-powered and slow, carrying a narrow belt of obsolete-type armor, and with a less-then-optimal gunnery layout. In the photo of Rurik above, notice the unique contours of the hull, particularly the rolled-in shelf under the row of casemates on the hull -- a modification of a feature popular in Russian warships of the 1880s and 1890s, but one not repeated in the follow-on models of the class. Click the links below for detailed information, specifications, and ship histories on the three members of this hulking class of cruiser.

Rurik Type Cruisers

The Lead Ship: Rurik, 1895

Improved Rurik: The Rossiya, 1896

The Last Viking: The Gromoboi, 1901

Bow view of Rossiya highlights the fine lines, high-sided hull, and impressive size of the class.

Pertinent Weblinks

Imperial Russian eagle