Admiral Pavel Stepanovich Nakhimov (June 23, 1802 - June 28, 1855) was one of the most famous admirals in Russian naval history, best remembered as the commander of naval and land forces during the Siege of Sevastopol (Sevastopol) in the Crimean War.
Born in the Gorodok village of Vyaz'ma district of Smolensk region, the son of a retired Russian Army major, Nakhimov entered the Morskoy Shlyakhetskiy Corpus (Naval Academy for the Nobility) in St. Petersburg in 1815. He made his first sea voyage in 1817, aboard the frigate Feniks (Phoenix), to the shores of Sweden and Denmark. Soon afterwards he was promoted to the rank of non-commissioned officer. In February 1818 he passed examinations to become a midshipman and was immediately assigned to the second Flotskiy Ekipazh (Fleet Crew) of the Russian Imperial Navy's Baltic Fleet.
At the beginning of his naval career, Nakhimov's experience was limited to the voyages in the Baltic Sea and a more extensive trip from the White Sea port of Arkhangelsk to Kronstadt naval base near St. Petersburg. His lucky break came in March 1822, when he was assigned to the frigate Kreiser; the vessel took part the round-the-globe expedition commanded by well-known Russian explorer Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev, who had already undertaken several such voyages.
During the three-year voyage, Nakhimov was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. On conclusion of this adventure, he received his first award, the Order of Saint Vladimir IV degree. He was then assigned to the 74-gun warship Azov, which made its maiden voyage from Arkhangelsk to Kronshtadt in autumn of 1826.
In the summer of 1827, Azov sailed to the Mediterranean as flagship of the Russian squadron under command of Rear-Admiral Geiden for a joint expedition with the French and English navies against the Ottomans. Just before departure, the Azov was visited by Tsar Nicholas I, who ordered that in the case of hostilities, to deal with the enemy "as the Russians do."
The Azov, under then-Captain First Rank M.P. Lazarev, most distinguished itself in the 1827 battle of Navarino, at which the allied British-French-Russian fleet totally destroyed the Ottoman fleet. For his outstanding gunnery performance during the battle, Nakhimov was promoted to the captaincy of a trophy ship and was decorated by the allied governments.
During the Crimean war Nakhimov distinguished himself by annihilating the Ottoman fleet at Sinope in 1853. His finest hour came during the Siege of Sebastopol (Sevastopol) where he and Admiral V.A. Kornilov organized from scratch the land defence of the city and its port, the home base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. As the commander of the port and the military governor of the city, Nakhimov became in fact the head of the Sevastopol naval and land defence forces. On June 28, 1855, while inspecting the forward-defence positions on Malakhov kurgan he was fatally wounded by a sniper.
Nakhimov was buried inside St Vladimir Cathedral in Sevastopol along with Mikhail Lazarev, V.A. Kornilov and General V.I. Istomin. There is a monument erected in his memory. The Imperial government presented other posthumous honors as well--naming the Naval college in St. Petersburg after him, and establishing the Order of Nakhimov (with two degrees) and the Nakhimov medal for Navy personnel.