FROM GARDEMARIN TO ADMIRAL
The life path and military career of Alexander Bubnov are in many respects typical of the representative of the naval estate of imperial Russia.
He was born 29 on May 1883 of the year in Warsaw in the family of military engineer Dmitry Bubnov, who had rich naval traditions, as evidenced by two crossed anchors on the family coat of arms. On the mother’s side, Elizabeth Smith came from a family of famous Norwegian shipbuilders. It is not surprising, therefore, that Alexander chose the career of a naval sailor. In 1900, he entered and in 1903, he successfully graduated from the Marine Corps. In 1903 – 1904, he made a round-the-world voyage as a watch officer. During the Russo-Japanese War, a midshipman - an artillery officer on the squadron battleship "Eagle" as part of the 1 armored detachment 2 of the Pacific Squadron, Admiral Zinovy Rozhdestvensky made an eight-month transition from the Baltic Sea to the Far East, and then participated in the Tsusm team. Being seriously wounded, as part of the crew of his heavily damaged armadillo (more than 75 hits of enemy shells), he was captured in Japan.
According to the memoirs of his granddaughter, Anyuta Bubnova-Škoberne, now a professor of jurisprudence at the University of Ljubljana, the grandfather believed that he owed his life to Japanese surgeons who had made him the hardest operation, without which he could be left without a leg and die. Upon his return from captivity, midshipman Bubnov was awarded the Order of St. Anna of the third degree with swords and bow for the heroism shown in the battle.
After the war, he graduated from the Nikolaev Naval Academy (1910), served in the Naval General Staff, on the training ships "Warrior" and "Peter the Great", on the battleship "Tsarevich" and the cruiser "Russia". In 1911, he taught maritime strategy at the Nikolaev Maritime Academy, was a member of the St. Petersburg Naval Circle, published the first theoretical works: “Russia and its seas. Brief история Russia from a marine point of view ”(1907),“ Marching order of the squadron ”(1909) and“ Higher tactics ”(1911). In 1911–1912, he was a senior flag officer of the Baltic artillery training artillery unit. fleet. December 6, 1913 promoted to captain 2 ranks. In 1913-1914 he served as a senior officer on the same type of Aurora cruiser Diana.
During the First World War - the flag-captain, and then the head of the Naval Administration in the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander (in Baranovichi, Mogilyov, and then in Orel). This period of his service was associated with the coordination of the hostilities of the forces of the imperial fleet, consisting of two fleets and five fleets (658 warships) in all maritime theaters of war. In particular, with his participation, an operation was carried out and carried out on the transfer by the fleet forces of parts of the 5 Caucasian Corps to Trabzon in 1916, and the planned, but unrealized Bosporus landing operation was developed in detail. 28 July 1917, Alexander Bubnov at the age of 34 years was promoted to rear admiral.
After the October Revolution, 1917 and the liquidation of the Headquarters sided with the White movement. At the end of 1918, Admiral Alexander Kolchak was included in the Russian delegation at the Versailles Peace Conference, headed by Sergei Sazonov. After the Russian delegation was not allowed to attend the conference, he returned to the disposal of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Southern Russia (VSYUR), General Anton Denikin. 3 May 1919, after the arrival of warships from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk, was appointed head of the destroyers division. August 20 1919 took over the post of Chief of Staff of the Commander of the Black Sea Fleet VSYUR.
7 February 1920 of the year for supporting General Peter Wrangel’s candidacy for the post of commander-in-chief, along with Vice-Admiral Dmitry Nenyukov, commander of the Black Sea Fleet, was “dismissed from service”. After that, from Sevastopol on a military ship, with his wife Elizabeth, his children Sergey, five, and Irina, three years old, were evacuated to Constantinople. Thus ended the service of Admiral Bubnov in Russia.
NAVAL EMIGRATION ACTIVITIES
In emigration, the admiral and his family lived first in Sofia (1920) and Paris (1921), and then in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (KSHS): in Ljubljana (1922 – 1923) and from 1923 in Dubrovnik, when Alexander Bubnov A well-known naval expert was personally invited by King Alexander I Karageorgievich to the emerging Naval Academy. At the same time, he received an invitation to take the position of professor at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, but he made a choice in favor of Yugoslavia (according to him, “if you have to return to Russia, then from Dubrovnik is much closer than from Annapolis”).
After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the newly formed state of the KSHS (since 1929 of the Year - the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) was faced with the task of creating its own naval forces, and without training national cadres it was impossible to do so. This is where the combat experience, organizational and scientific talents of the Russian admiral came in handy.
Over the years 18 - from 1923 to 1941 a year - Alexander Bubnov was a professor at the Naval Academy in Gruz, near Dubrovnik. He not only organized the teaching of the main naval subjects - naval history, strategy and tactics, but also worked out the concept of building and developing the naval forces of Yugoslavia, taking into account the rich Russian experience.
As of the beginning of 1941, the Navy of Yugoslavia, comprising the Naval Forces and the Danube River Flotilla, consisted of a 41 warship and 19 ships, and included 326 senior officers, 1646 junior officers and midshipmen and 1870 senior officers and sailors. However, only the 64 officer was from the “old guard” of the former Austro-Hungarian fleet who served in the Yugoslav fleet since its inception. All other officers received a special naval education in Yugoslavia, many of them took part in the revival of the national naval forces of the SFRY after the 1945 year. A great contribution to their preparation was made by the Russian admiral Bubnov.
Rear Admiral Alexander Bubnov, 1917 year.
In emigration, Alexander Bubnov showed himself to be a scientist and a publicist. In the Russian-language emigre periodicals published his cycles of articles "Thoughts on the restoration of the Russian naval armed forces", "Fundamentals of Russian maritime policy" and others. He closely collaborated with the Russian Scientific Institute in Belgrade, which united Russian émigré scientists, academics and professors of Russian universities in 1920 – 1940, and taught at the Higher Military-Scientific Courses of General Nikolai Golovin in Belgrade, uniting representatives of Russian military émigrés.
Together with General Golovin, he in English in 1922, and in Russian in 1924, he published the strategic issue “The Pacific Problem in the 20th Century” in Russian. This work is a brilliant forecast of the development of the military-strategic situation in the Asia-Pacific region. In particular, about the inevitability of a military clash between the United States and Japan, which will occur after Japan organizes its rear - “a vast base on the Asian mainland” - and will have to start a “warning war”, that is, the first to attack the United States, delivering the main blow to its naval bases, the strongest of which was Pearl Harbor. Subsequent events fully confirmed both the beginning of the scenario and the end of the war in the Pacific: "The United States will be able to defeat Japan only with the help of a strong Russia ... which deprived Japan of its base on the Asian mainland." This work has been translated into all European languages, published in Japan and even in Soviet Russia. In the preface to the Soviet edition (Golovin N., Bubnov A. The strategy of the American-Japanese war. M .: Izd-vo Military Gazette, 1925) Karl Radek wrote: “General without an army Golovin and the land admiral Bubnov, having made an analysis of the strategic position in the Far East, played a very useful role for Soviet Russia. "
“Overland Admiral” Bubnov wrote other fundamental works: “The Problem of the Bosphorus” in French in 1935, in the Serbian-Croatian - in the 1931 – 1933 three-volume “History of Naval Art” and in the 1937 - “Management Strategy war on the sea. In 1955, in the USA, the Chekhov Publishing House published, perhaps, one of his most famous books, “In the Tsar's Bet”, which, according to many historians, is the most objective source of the highest military authority of the Russian Empire during the First World War. Among the main reasons for the defeat of Russia, the author called: the unpreparedness of the country and the army for war, the removal of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich from the post of Supreme Commander, disastrous domestic policies, the rejection of measures to maintain order in the capital, the traitorous policy of the Allies on the Entente. Bubnov also cites among the reasons for the “non-execution of the Bosporus Operation in 1916”, the implementation of which, in his opinion, should inevitably lead to the military defeat of Turkey and, as a result, to the rapid end of the war in favor of the Entente.
In 1941, after the capitulation of Yugoslavia, Bubnov and his family moved to a small Slovenian town of Kranje, where he taught Russian from 1946 to 1953 for a year at a local gymnasium. In the year 1945, after the communists came to power, the process of issuing Russian White emigres to the Soviet authorities began. Such requests were received repeatedly by the former admiral, however, according to the professor at the University of Ljubljana, the former naval officer Anton Zhabkar, Bubnov’s extradition did not take place thanks to his former students - the naval cadets 1920 – 1930, who at that time held high positions in the Yugoslav Military Navy: Admirals Joseph Zern and Ivan Kern. By the way, in the post-war period, the fate of Anton Zhabkar and some other high-school students from a provincial town was largely determined by the teacher of Russian literature Alexander Bubnov, infecting sea romance, thanks to which they linked their lives with the fleet.
The last shelter of the Russian admiral found 2 February 1963, under the Orthodox cross in the cemetery of the town of Kranj. On the territory of the former Yugoslavia, his memory is preserved. In the seaside town of Pirna in the Maritime Museum of Slovenia there is a stand dedicated to Admiral Bubnov. In military encyclopedic editions of Slovenia, Serbia and Croatia, biographical articles are devoted to him, his name is mentioned in the history of the Navy of Yugoslavia.
His son, Sergey Bubnov (1914 – 2000), is a well-known seismologist. At the beginning of 1990’s, he was one of the organizers of the Slovenia-Russia society. In St. Petersburg, 1994 was given to the city’s leadership by the admiral Andreyevsky flag, which he his father carefully kept as a relic all the years of exile and bequeathed to return it to "new Russia". But in emigration, in addition to saving the flag, Admiral Bubnov saw "the duty of the officer corps to Russia is to preserve by all means the naval spiritual capital acquired through hard work and passed down from generation to generation."
It cannot be said that the legacy of Admiral Bubnov is completely unknown in Russia. Thanks to Alexander Savinkin, his separate articles from the emigrant periodicals are included in the collection “Russian Way” 1999 of the Russian Naval Idea: The Spiritual Heritage of the Imperial Navy. In the year 2004, the book “The Unheard Prophets of the Coming Wars” published his work “The Pacific Problem in the 20th Century”. The monograph of Igor Kozyr “From Tsushima to Ragusa”, published in the publishing house “Gangut” in 2011, is dedicated to the admiral’s biographies. But this is certainly not enough.
In the upcoming 2014 year - the year of mournful anniversaries: the 110 anniversary of the beginning of the Russian-Japanese and 100 anniversary of the First World War - translation and publication in Russian of two of the above-mentioned fundamental works of Admiral Bubnov, devoted to a detailed analysis of the naval component of these wars it would be the best step towards returning home and practical use of “naval spiritual capital”, preserved and multiplied by the Russian patriot.