On December 23, the Russian Navy received a New Year’s gift when the Severodvinsk Engineering Plant held a solemn ceremony, hoisting the St. Andrew’s flag on the Alexander Nevsky, the first series-produced (and second manufactured), 955 Borey Class, missile-strategic, submarine cruiser with 16 Bulava strategic missiles onboard.

Previously, it had been planned to deliver the Alexander Nevsky to the Navy on December 21, but because of undisclosed reasons, the procedure was postponed for two days.

Rumors claimed this had been done in order to avoid associations with Joseph Stalin’s birthday – which is actually on December 21.

The ceremony of admitting the new cruiser into the Russian Navy was attended by the Minister of Defense and General of the Army Sergey Shoygu, Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Viktor Chirkov, and chairman of the government committee for commissioning this nuclear-powered cruiser, Rear-Admiral Igor Fedorov, who signed for the submarine together with Mikhail Budnichenko, general director of the plant.

The ship, which was made at the Sevmash Plant in 2004, is now part of the Pacific Fleet of Russia and will be on active service at the Volyuchinsk Naval Base in the Kamchatka Peninsula.

In anticipation of its arrival, dormitories for the vessel’s crew and the berth with all necessary pipeline connections have been built at the base.

“State testing of the first series-produced Project 955 nuclear submarine cruiser, the Alexander Nevsky, has been completed,” Shoygu reported to President Vladimir Putin from a video-conferencing room of the vessel. “During the testing, all combat characteristics of the project have been confirmed.”

The first Borey Class missile submarine, the Yury Dolgoruky was admitted to the Northern Fleet and is on active duty at the Gadzhiyevo Naval Base.

Putin noted that the admission of Alexander Nevsky into the Russian Navy is an important day not only for the Armed Forces, but for the entire country as well.

Putin emphasized that the Alexander Nevsky is a brand new, modern nuclear-powered missile submarine, and that Borey Class vessels like this should become the main component of the naval element of Russia’s nuclear triad.

“As we know, by 2020, the Navy should receive eight Borey and Borey A Class missile submarines. Thus we will have completely upgraded the naval element of the Russian nuclear forces.” He added that besides the Borey submarines, the Navy should receive eight Yasen Class all-purpose nuclear submarines by 2020.

“The Severodvinsk Plant has almost completed construction of the first submarine of this series – the Severodvinsk,” Mr. Putin added.

The President reminded people that the Yury Dolgoruky, the first Borey Class submarine, had been commissioned in January 2013.

Construction of the second series-produced submarine of this type, the Vladimir Monomakh, should be completed soon.

“Next year, it shall assume combat duty as well,” announced the Russian Supreme Commander-in-Chief.

First published in Russian in Nezavisimaya Gazeta