The Northern Fleet (Severnyy flot) is the fleet of the Russian Navy in the Arctic. Established in 1933 by the Soviet Union as the Northern Flotilla, the fleet historically descends from the Russian Imperial Arctic Sea Flotilla established in 1916 to protect the White Sea during World War I. It was developed into a full fleet of the Soviet Navy in the 1930s, and after being awarded the Order of the Red Banner in 1965, it was officially known as the Red Banner Northern Fleet.
During the Soviet era the Northern Fleet operated more than 200 submarines, ranging from diesel-electric to nuclear-powered ballistic missile classes. The Northern Fleet is tasked with responsibility for operations and defense in the Arctic seas along Northern Russia, including the Barents Sea and Kara Sea, as well as the northwestern maritime approaches to Russia including the Norwegian Sea and Atlantic Ocean. In the end Cold War, the Northern Fleet includes about two-thirds of all the Russian Navy’s nuclear-powered ships.
The Northern Fleet’s headquarters and main base are located in Severomorsk, Murmansk Oblast, with secondary bases elsewhere in the greater Kola Bay area. Today, the Northern Fleet is the basis of the Northern Fleet Joint Strategic Command (Russia), established in 2014 and which includes all Russian armed forces located in the Murmansk Oblast and Arkhangelsk Oblast, and on Russia’s offshore islands along its northern coast. The current commander is Vice-Admiral Aleksandr Moiseyev, who has held the position since May 2019.
It comprises over 40 warships and over 40 submarines, including nuclear-powered ones, with “Pyotr Velikiy” (Peter the Great) battle cruiser being the fleet’s flagship. The Northern Fleet main base is Severomorsk with six more naval bases at Polyarnyy, Olenya Bay, Gadzhiyevo , Vidyayevo , Bolshaya Lopatka, and Gremikha. Civilian Arktika nuclear-powered icebreakers are based at Murmansk. Shipyards are located in Murmansk, Severodvinsk, Roslyakovo, Polyarnyy, Nerpa, and Malaya Lopatka. Spent fuel storage sites include Murmansk, Gremikha, Severodvinsk and Andreyeva Bay.