Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


The commercial fleet of the Soviet Union serves several purposes. It is an economic tool used to conserve scarse hard currency and even to earn it. The merchant marine has been a viable political tool. It has carried the influence and the doctrine of the USSR to many countries of the world. This has not been a recent use, but was done as far back as 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. Merchant shipping also supports the Russian Navy. This paper traces the development of the Russian Merchant Marine under the Soviet regime, and it discusses why and how this fleet has become one of the world's foremost seagoing institutions.