On February 11, 1720 (January 31 under the Julian calendar) Peter the Great ordered, while the Admiralty Collegium ruled “to send peasant Yefim Nikonov to the office of Major-General Golovin and charge him with the task of building a model vessel.” The peasant from Pokrovskoye-Rubtsovo village and carpenter of the state-owned dockyard Yefim Nikonov finally got his own way, and his request was satisfied. Back two years ago he promised to the tsar to build a battleship that will be capable of “moving covertly,” approach “the very bottom of the enemy’s vessels,” and “launch shells at them, at least 10 or 20.” Thus, Nikonov was sent to Golovin’s office, and the carpenter started building a wooden submarine. The vessel that had been being built for 4 years was set afloat in spring 1724 in the presence of the emperor, admirals, military men and ordinary people. The submarine lay on the seabed and started a leakage, as the wooden body could not stand the blow. Both the vessel and its inventor were saved, the tsar forbade to blame him for the failure and ordered to reinforce the bottom of the submarine. However, Peter the Great failed to live till the construction of the new vessel, while his successors found it of no use. Consequently, the vessel failed to be built, while Nikonov was sent into exile to the port of Astrakhan.
Information provided by the Scientific Russia News Agency. Media outlet’s registration certificate: IA No. FS77-62580 issued by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media on July 31, 2015.
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