A vist to Russia's Pacific Fleet

In the Gold Corner Bay, Vladivostok, tourists curiously walk on board of C56, a Russian submarine which sank 10 and damaged four enemy warships during World War II and now anchors aside a memorial square.

A few steps away, in a grey building, generals are directing Russia's second largest naval force, the Pacific Fleet.

Opposite the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet, there is a navy port, where stand several huge Russian warships including a cruiser, a destroyer and a frigate, all armed with guided missiles. Civil vessels also ply the waters.

Since 1992, Vladivostok in Russia's Fast East has become an open city as most of warships have moved to a nearby navy port, to make room for domestic and foreign tourists who are flooding in, says a spokesman of the fleet headquarters.

The Pacific Fleet had its golden days. In the 1970s, it had 130,000 troops and about 700 warships of various types. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, the Pacific Fleet has been downsized, with the number of both troops and warships cut by nearly half, and no aircraft carrier is in service.

The Pacific Fleet has been reinforced in recent years as the defense budget increases with the gradual recovery of the Russian economy. The fleet now comprises a coastal flotilla, a united army group, a marine division, and an air force attached to it.

At present, the fleet has most of its troops deployed in the Kamchatka Peninsula and Promorsky Krai (Maritime Territory) in eastern Russia. The submarines equipped with strategic missiles, deployed in a base on the peninsula, could enter the Pacific Ocean directly.

Russian President Vladimir Putin once pointed out that Russia's Pacific Fleet takes a special position in the Russian Navy as well as the whole Russian armed force. It is a main tool for safeguarding the national interests and national security of Russia, he said.

Source: Xinhua

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