The Rurik (Рюрик) was an armoured cruiser built for the Imperial Russian Navy in 1895. She was named in honour of Rurik, the semi-legendary founder of ancient Russia. She was sunk at the battle of Ulsan in the Russo-Japanese war.
After her commissioning, the Rurik headed for the Russian Pacific Squadron based at Vladivostok. Admiral Fyodor Dubasov, who commanded the Pacific Squadron, recommended various modifications to the ship after a short period of service, including reboilering and the removal of the ship's rigging. The reboilering project never got off the ground, but the amount of rigging was cut down significantly.
When the Russo-Japanese War broke out in 1904, the Rurik and the other cruisers of the Pacific Squadron, the Rossia, the Gromoboi, and the Bogatyr, were all charged with seeking out and destroying Japanese merchant vessels. By August 1904, only one ship had been sunk and the Japanese Army had moved siege artillery close enough to shell the main Russian port in the Pacific, Port Arthur. The siege of Port Arthur kept a number of Russian naval vessels tied up inside the port, and several attempts at breakouts occurred, all of which were supposed to be supported by the Pacific Squadron.
On 14 August, three of the four Pacific Squadron cruisers sortied to Port Arthur (the Bogatyr having received damage due to grounding). They were met by a squadron of Japanese warships which resulted in the battle off Ulsan. Early in the engagement, the weaker Rurik was hit by Japanese fire and was slowed, splitting it from the rest of the Russian ships. The Russian Admiral Karl Yessen attempted to provide cover for the ship, but was pushed back by the Japanese cruisers. As the Russian ships withdrew, the Rurik was set upon by several Japanese cruisers. Rather than surrender the ship to the Japanese, the senior surviving officer, one Lieutenant Ivanov, ordered the ship to be scuttled. The Japanese picked up about 625 survivors, the rest perishing in the engagement.
The other two Russian cruisers escaped without incident.
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