Sevastopol: Crimean Citadel from Potemkin to Putin

calendarclock - (GMT)

A lecture by Major General (Ret’d) Mungo Melvin CB OBE, Senior Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institute.Major General Retd Mungo Melvin CB OBE

In his lecture, Major General Melvin will reflect on his historical research and contemporary analysis of the situation in Crimea, exploring why the peninsula and its Black Sea naval base, Sevastopol, established in 1783 at the recommendation of Prince Grigory Potemkin, are so vitally important to Russia. He will discuss the enduring geostrategic value of the port, describing how it was besieged during both the Crimean War and the Second World War, and explain how Sevastopol became ‘sacred ground’ for all Russians and a ‘hero city’.

He will illuminate his lecture with quotations from the vast historical literature of Sevastopol, including that from Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain and Anton Chekhov. He will also explain how Crimea and Sevastopol became part of Ukraine in 1954, and how this apparently inconsequential decree of Khrushchev after the break-up of the Soviet Union acquired such international significance, leading to the recent (and much disputed) annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation under President Putin. Finally, he will argue that Russian national interest and popular sentiment are important strategic factors that the world cannot afford to ignore.

Major General (Ret’d) Mungo Melvin CB OBE became a Senior Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute in January 2012, having been a member for over thirty years. Mungo retired from the British Army in December 2011. He has a long association with defence policy, military strategy, joint professional education, military history and analysis of operations. Since retirement, Mungo has been a Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Defence Committee and is also Senior British Army Adviser for the First World War centenary commemorations. He has been President of the British Commission for Military History since 2012. In addition, he has worked with industry, bringing to life strategy-making and leadership through experiential learning. He authored the prize winning Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2010), and is now writing a new military history of Sevastopol, Russia’s Crimean citadel, due to be published by Osprey in early 2016.

Refreshments will be served from 1030.

This event is open to all RUSI members. To become a member, please click here.

To attend this event, please register online using the "Book your place" button above. If you have any queries please contact Sarah Morrison, Members’ Events Co-ordinator, at or call +44 (0)20 7747 2600.

Explore our related content