This is a part of American history that I wasn’t aware of, it made me wonder how many others don’t know as well. It seems that when America was in it’s deepest turmoil unlikely as it seems Russia sent warships to protect the ports not only on the east coast but west coast as well. In Great Britain the powers of the time considered both America and Russia the oppressors. Times have changed but people and governments haven’t, even the locations look similar. Today in the eyes of some all they done is changed hats. Isn’t it the fear-mongers who create these situations. True cooperation doesn’t come from fear, but should come from mutual respect for one another. Governments come and go and the people endure, it will be the truth that sets people free. During the Civil War in America, Russia helped it remain free.
The Russo-American Connection (1861-1870)
During the first years of the American Civil War, France and England rather openly sided with the Southern secessionists. The Union had only one loyal ally in Europe: the Tsarist Russian state. Although we today think only of the repressive and autocratic side of the Romanov dynasty, Russia did indeed have periods of enlightened reform when nobles and patriotic bureaucrats attempted to make a modern, liberal state of their sprawling and unruly empire. The 1860s was one such time. Perhaps not coincidentally, Russia’s forward-looking Tsar Alexander II had just emancipated the serfs in 1860 — a few years before Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, liberating the slaves in the midst of the bloodiest war in American history. Supporting Lincoln and the integrity of the U.S. republic, Russia sent a number of large steam frigates to U.S ports east and west. In some cases the U.S. even provided the ships: the 50-gun frigate Alexander Nyevsky was entirely armed with American-made smoothbore cannon, cast in Pittsburgh. During this time of strife,
Russian friendship for the Union was most welcome, but there was an element of mutual advantage at work. In the aftermath of the Crimean War, Russia felt thretened by Britain and convinced that the British had backed a revolt in Russian-occupied Poland. The Tsar’s ministers feared a replay of 1856 and — in a perfect example of generals fighting the last war — determined to beef up their Baltic defenses. The Nyevsky was but the flagship of an impressive squadron commanded by R. Adm. Stepan S. Lessovsky, in America to acquire advanced naval artillery and technology. This naval mission included Nikolai Artseulov, a shipbuilding expert, and F.N. Pestich, a naval gun expert, both hungry for techniques and military aid.