Going on the Account: Приготовьтесь к тому, сели*

The Russians freed the Moscow University less than 24 hours after after she was seized.

Two things to note here are the preparations crews are making for such contingencies, and that the Russians carried out a masterful operation.  The description of safe rooms prepared for long sieges aboard a vessel probably conjure up images of panic rooms in homes of the rich and paranoid (hopefully in general as opposed to the one from the 2002 film), or if you’re of a certain age, fallout shelters (though supposedly there’s still a lot of interest in these today; go figure…).  Still, if you have a system in place where you batten down the hatches and can wait for help, it makes a great deal of sense to heave to this tact.  There’s plenty of benefit to a plan where loss of crew becomes minimal and the pirates have a harder time securing a vessel without a crew cooperating with them.

And the Russians proved that this system can work spectacularly.  To some extent, the Russian navy has not had a high positive profile in years (memories of the Kursk disaster still linger for many), and history hasn’t been kind to her successor forces either (lingering longer are memories of the Battle of Port Arthur).  In fact, when Catherine the Great needed to modernize her fleet, she turned to John Paul Jones, American naval hero of the Revolutionary War and one of the first members of the American military who became a consultant after he left the service.  This of course has made him a privateer in the eyes of some, notably British historians…

There are probably a few out there that never thought they’d see this sentence, but there’s a lot that could be learned from how the Russians handled this case.

* Supposedly, this is “Prepare to be boarded” in Russian, if Google Translate can be believed.  My apologies if the program I used returned something offensively different…


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