On December 8th 1991, as the world looked on in wonder, leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine declared the cessation of the U.S.S.R. and formed a Commonwealth of Independent States comprising 15 separate countries. Following this dissolution a severe dispute broke out between Russia and Ukraine (considered at that time the non-Baltic ‘old boy’ most likely to succeed, although this did not transpire) over who had control of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet and of the Crimean port of Sevastopol where the fleet was based. Early in 1992 Ukraine laid claim to the entire fleet, which had been a most important naval asset of the Soviet Union. Russia held as inarguable the fact that the fleet always had been Russian and would ever remain so. Things have now gone their way: pro-Russian Ukrainian P.M. Yanukovych struck a deal over resources in 2010 which extended the lease on port facilities at Sevastopol to the Russian Black Sea Fleet up to 2042. But back then there was also a much less public dispute of wide-reaching implication between diminished Russia and a perceived titan of the newly-independent states, probably Belarus, claiming ownership over the Soviet Union’s broadbeam nuclear submarines – capable of staying submerged for a couple of years as they patrolled the globe – which confused the matter of whose navy’s weapon platforms they really were until two years later. Apparently the subs remained submerged and attended to their nuclear duties whilst they waited upon which specific nation was to govern them.

Nostradamus Quatrain X 32

1568 Lyon Benoist Rigaud

Le grand Empire chacun en deuvoit estre
Vn sur les autres le viendra obtenir,
Mais peu de temps sera son regne & estre,
Deux ans aux naues se pourra soustenir.

Translation 1:
Each is required to exist in the great Empire
One will come to govern it over the others,
In but little time its reign will be,
Two years in the vessels they can sustain themselves.

Line 1, OF ‘Le grand Empire’ likely means the ex-U.S.S.R., which covers a very great area of land indeed, whilst OF ‘devoir’ meant EITHER a fee to a lord or a tribute to Rome OR
What must be done
What we have to do (by moral obligation or according to custom or by practical necessity)
The recognition due (to and from each other)
This definition adequately describes EITHER the navy/vessels under review here going about their duties OR the mutually understood ‘ground rules’ for the emerging Commonwealth of ex-Soviet countries, with each striving to rebuild its own individual economy, armed forces, institutions, diplomacy and political structure as their first priority.

Translation 2:
Regarding the great Commonwealth in which each must follow their own duty
For two years the naval vessels may sustain themselves,
Rulership over that estate will be for but a little time,
One will obtain the Empire over the others.

There are, of course, other shades of interpretation available but the first line makes me confident that this is about the change away a from Soviet collective to a commonwealth in 1991 and the confusion over the USSR fleet underway but unflagged.

                                                    Nigel Raymond Offord © 2012