Akula-class submarine in the Barents Sea. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Northern Fleet will not send nuclear sub to main Navy parade

Amid Baltic Sea NATO expansion and growing east-west mistrust, Russia has decided not to sail a nuclear-powered submarine from the Kola Peninsula to the annual high-profile naval parade taking place in St. Petersburg on July 30.
July 14, 2023


State-controlled TASS news agency quotes unnamed military officials confirming the non-appearance of Russia’s most potent naval assets.

“Nuclear submarines of the Northern Fleet will not take part in the Main Naval Parade 2023, unlike previous parades,” the new agency’s source said.

This is the first time since the current Navy Day format was established in 2017 that no nuclear subs from the Northern Fleet sail south to participate. 

There are no given explanations for why Russia this year choose not to show off a nuclear sub. The naval parade in St. Petersburg is the country’s second most important military festivity after the May 9 Victory Parade on the Red Square. Vladimir Putin use to give a speech, like last year when he presented the country’s updated Marine Doctrine.

All since the practice of arranging a large naval parade in Kronstad outside St. Petersburg was resumed in 2017, the Northern Fleet has sent at least one nuclear-powered submarine together with other warships. The voyages have been high-profile, taking place around Scandinavia, and mostly with the submarines sailing in surface position and followed by Norwegian, Danish, Swedish and Finnish military. 

With Finland joining NATO in April and Sweden given the green light just ahead of this week’s NATO Summit in Vilnius, Russia is surrounded by NATO members in the Baltic Sea. Previous Northern Fleet subs at Naval Parade in St. Petersburg:

  • 2022: Akula Vepr, Yasen Severodvinsk and Borei Knyaz Vladimir
  • 2021: Oscar-II Orel and Akula Vepr
  • 2020: Oscar-II Orel
  • 2019: Oscar-II Smolensk
  • 2018: Oscar-II Orel
  • 2017: Typhoon Dmitry Donskoi



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