The Real Hunt for the Red October/Soviet Mutiny on the Storozhevoy

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Joey OD
Joined: 19-12-08
Jun 4 2010 20:38
The Real Hunt for the Red October/Soviet Mutiny on the Storozhevoy

ok, didnt see this mentioned anywhere else on libcom. Watched it on Tuesday 1st June 2010, also was on last year some time, channel 5 series on true stories behaind films, can also be seen online on Demand Five. Can also be found on Wikipedia.
Anyhow I thought the programme was really good and inspiring. Basically the mutinous political officer was a communist but he saw how the top brass of the party were corrupt and so his plan was to take over the ship, the Storozhevoy (which means the sentry, or the vigilant or the protective), sail from the Bay of Riga around to Leningrad and and broadcast messages to the population calling for another revolution to bring back the original ideas of the 1917 revolution, of communism.
The political officer Valery Sablin managed to lock the captain in a cellar. He then called in the officers, told them of his plan and then urged them to vote on it. They voted using black and white draughts pieces, white for abort, black for go (or maybe the other way around). The vote was dead even. The mutineers went ahead. The political officer was apparently very popular and the ranknfile were enthusiastic about the plan. Those who voted against were imprisoned in another cellar.
The soviet authorities assumed he was defecting to Sweden with military secrets aboard the ship and ordered an attack. Two planes attacked the ship. Sablin ordered his men not to attack fellow Soviets so they did not return fire. In the pandemonium caused by the rockets from the plan a panicked sailor let the other officers go and the freed captain shot Sablin (though not dead) and took over the radio assurring the airforce he had regained control. The attack was called off. Sablin was executed, Alexander Shein was imprisoned for 8 years then freed but not allowed to tell anyone the reason for his imprisonment. The rest were immediately freed on the condition they told noone. They were all dismissed from the navy.
The Soviet authorities accused Sablin not only of treason but of attempted defection to the West. This was a lie. He saw himself as a "revolutionary patriot".
Of course, some western analysts claim this was the first crack in the Soviet system that fell apart from 1989. But as the last commentator pointed out it was nothing of the sort. Rather it was an attempt to regain the original ideals of communism.
Of course, Sablin self identified as a Bolshevik, a Leninist. Some may say that he was nieve, even reckless. But to me he was a revolutionary hero and martyr. All the mutineers are heroes and, most of them alive and free today, should be hailed as such. Certainly Alexander Shein's ideals remain intact. Unlike the Sean Connery film about defection to America, this true story seems more like a Kronstandt of 1975.

Steven.'s picture
Joined: 27-06-06
Jun 4 2010 21:21

sounds pretty cool! Any good articles online anywhere? We could have one in our history section

Joined: 30-09-03
Jun 5 2010 08:02

Try Nick Heath, I'm sure he's written about this.