Kola, Blockade, and Advances in Naval Medicine

  • Andrew C. Rath


The Solovetsky Monastery’s resistance fit seamlessly with the Czarist government’s wartime propaganda efforts. Russian writers mocked Britain and France for calling themselves Christian, “worrying about the abolition of slavery,” and “writing laws that prohibit the cruel treatment of animals” while entering into an “unrighteous alliance with the enemies of Christ (the Muslim Ottoman Empire).”1 News of the incident was “carried into every part of Russia,”2 and contemporary Czarist publications emphasized that it was “impossible to make up” facts including absence of any deaths among the small seagulls covering the monastery’s yards.3 Archimandrite Alexander, though, freely embellished the details of his monastery’s encounter in his official report and during a personal audience with Nicholas I.4 The Russian prelate neglected to mention that the first shots fired by the English were warnings that came nowhere near the monastery’s Holy Gates and instead claimed that the Miranda and Brisk were frigates mounting about 120 guns instead of their actual total of 31.5 Alexander also added poetic details such as the timing of the last British round, which allegedly hit just after a bell had signaled the beginning of a service of the Kazan Mother of God.6


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© Andrew C. Rath 2015

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