Order of the October Revolution
The Order of the October Revolution was instituted on October 31, 1967, in time for the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. It was conferred upon individuals or groups for services furthering communism or the state, or in enhancing the defenses of the Soviet Union and civil, it is the second-highest Soviet order, after the Order of Lenin. The insignia of the Order consisted of a badge, a red star with golden rays between the arms. Above this was a red flag bearing the words "October Revolution" in Russian. A Hammer and Sickle emblem was placed at the bottom; the badge was worn on the left chest with a red ribbon bearing five blue stripes at the centre. The Aurora was itself awarded the Order, the only ship to have received the award. Military units and institutions receiving the award applied the order name to their title upon its reception. Order of the October Revolution at the Directory of the orders and signs of the USSR. Order of the October Revolution Reference Page
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest confrontation of World War II, in which Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in Southern Russia. Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians in air raids, it was the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare. After their defeat at Stalingrad, the German High Command had to withdraw vast military forces from the Western Front to replace their losses; the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing; the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the German 6th Army's flanks.
The Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the army make no attempt to break out. Heavy fighting continued for another two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food; the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted one week and three days. By the spring of 1942, despite the failure of Operation Barbarossa to decisively defeat the Soviet Union in a single campaign, the Wehrmacht had captured vast expanses of territory, including Ukraine and the Baltic republics. Elsewhere, the war had been progressing well: the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been successful and Erwin Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a line running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not threatening. Hitler was confident that he could master the Red Army after the winter of 1942, because though Army Group Centre had suffered heavy losses west of Moscow the previous winter, 65% of its infantry had not been engaged and had been rested and re-equipped.
Neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again. With the initial operations being successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union; the initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the industrial capacity of the city and the deployment of forces to block the Volga River. The river was the Caspian Sea to central Russia, its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields; the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign expanding them to include the occupation of the city of Stalingrad. Both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city, based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union.
Hitler proclaimed that after Stalingrad's capture, its male citizens were to be killed and all women and children were to be deported because its population was "thoroughly communistic" and "especially dangerous". It was assumed that the fall of the city would firmly secure the northern and western flanks of the German armies as they advanced on Baku, with the aim of securing these strategic petroleum resources for Germany; the expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germany's failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence and an underestimation of Soviet reserves. The Soviets realized, they ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war. Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there; the planned summer offensive, code-named Fall Blau, was to include the German 6th, 17th, 4th Panzer and 1st Panzer Armies.
Army Group South had overrun the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1941. Poised in Eastern Ukraine, it was to spearhead the offensive. Hitler intervened, ordering the Army Group to split in two. Army Group South, under the command of Wilhelm List, was to continue advancing south towards the Caucasus as planned with the 17th Army and First Panzer Army. Army Group South, including Friedrich Paulus's 6th Army and Hermann Hoth's 4th Panzer Army, was to move east towards the Volga and Stalingrad. Army Group B was commanded by Field Marshal Fedor von Bock and by General Maximilian von Weichs; the start of Case Blue had been planned for late May 1942. However, a number of German and Romanian units that were to take part in Blau were besieging Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula. Delays in ending the siege pushed back the start date for Blau several times, the city did not fall until early July. Operation Fridericus I by the Germans against the "Isium bulge", pinched off the Soviet
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established after the 1917 October Revolution; the Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; the Red Army provided the largest land force in the Allied victory in the European theatre of World War II, its invasion of Manchuria assisted the unconditional surrender of Imperial Japan. During operations on the Eastern Front, it accounted for 75–80% of casualties the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS suffered during the war and captured the Nazi German capital, Berlin. In September 1917, Vladimir Lenin wrote: "There is only one way to prevent the restoration of the police, and, to create a people's militia and to fuse it with the army."
At the time, the Imperial Russian Army had started to collapse. 23% of the male population of the Russian Empire were mobilized. The Tsarist general Nikolay Dukhonin estimated that there had been 2 million deserters, 1.8 million dead, 5 million wounded and 2 million prisoners. He estimated the remaining troops as numbering 10 million. While the Imperial Russian Army was being taken apart, "it became apparent that the rag-tag Red Guard units and elements of the imperial army who had gone over the side of the Bolsheviks were quite inadequate to the task of defending the new government against external foes." Therefore, the Council of People's Commissars decided to form the Red Army on 28 January 1918. They envisioned a body "formed from the class-conscious and best elements of the working classes." All citizens of the Russian republic aged 18 or older were eligible. Its role being the defense "of the Soviet authority, the creation of a basis for the transformation of the standing army into a force deriving its strength from a nation in arms, furthermore, the creation of a basis for the support of the coming Socialist Revolution in Europe."
Enlistment was conditional upon "guarantees being given by a military or civil committee functioning within the territory of the Soviet Power, or by party or trade union committees or, in extreme cases, by two persons belonging to one of the above organizations." In the event of an entire unit wanting to join the Red Army, a "collective guarantee and the affirmative vote of all its members would be necessary." Because the Red Army was composed of peasants, the families of those who served were guaranteed rations and assistance with farm work. Some peasants who remained at home yearned to join the Army. If they were turned away they would prepare care-packages. In some cases the money they earned would go towards tanks for the Army; the Council of People's Commissars appointed itself the supreme head of the Red Army, delegating command and administration of the army to the Commissariat for Military Affairs and the Special All-Russian College within this commissariat. Nikolai Krylenko was the supreme commander-in-chief, with Aleksandr Myasnikyan as deputy.
Nikolai Podvoisky became the commissar for Pavel Dybenko, commissar for the fleet. Proshyan, Steinberg were specified as people's commissars as well as Vladimir Bonch-Bruyevich from the Bureau of Commissars. At a joint meeting of Bolsheviks and Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, held on 22 February 1918, Krylenko remarked: "We have no army; the demoralized soldiers are fleeing, panic-stricken, as soon as they see a German helmet appear on the horizon, abandoning their artillery and all war material to the triumphantly advancing enemy. The Red Guard units are brushed aside like flies. We have no power to stay the enemy; the Russian Civil War occurred in three periods: October 1917 – November 1918: From the Bolshevik Revolution to the First World War Armistice, developed from the Bolshevik government's nationalization of traditional Cossack lands in November 1917. This provoked the insurrection of General Alexey Maximovich Kaledin's Volunteer Army in the River Don region; the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk aggravated Russian internal politics.
The situation encouraged direct Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, in which twelve foreign countries supported anti-Bolshevik militias. A series of engagements resulted, amongst others, the Czechoslovak Legion, the Polish 5th Rifle Division, the pro-Bolshevik Red Latvian Riflemen. January 1919 – November 1919: Initially the White armies advanced: from the south, under General Anton Denikin; the Whites defeated the Red Army on each front. Leon Trotsky reformed and counterattacked: the Red Army repelled Admiral Kolchak's army in June, the armies of General Denikin and General Yudenich in October. By mid-Nove
Hero of the Soviet Union
The title Hero of the Soviet Union was the highest distinction in the Soviet Union, awarded or collectively for heroic feats in service to the Soviet state and society. The award was established on April 1934, by the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union; the first recipients of the title received only the Order of Lenin, the highest Soviet award, along with a certificate describing the heroic deed from the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Because the Order of Lenin could be awarded for deeds not qualifying for the title of hero, to distinguish heroes from other Order of Lenin holders, the Gold Star medal was introduced on August 1, 1939. Earlier heroes were retroactively eligible for these items. A hero could be awarded the title again for a subsequent heroic feat with an additional Gold Star medal and certificate. An additional Order of Lenin was not given until 1973; the practice of awarding the title multiple times was abolished by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in 1988 during perestroika.
Forty-four foreign citizens were awarded the title. The title was given posthumously, though without the actual Gold Star medal given; the title could be revoked only by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. As the Highest Honor of the Soviet Union. Individuals who received the award were entitled to special privileges; these include: A pension with survivor benefits in the event of the death of the title holder. First priority on the housing list with 50% rent reduction, tax exempt and an additional 45 square metres in living space. Annual round-trip first class airline ticket Free bus transportation Free annual visit to sanitarium or rest home Medical benefits Entertainment benefits In total, during the existence of the USSR, the title of Hero of the Soviet Union was awarded to 12,777 people, including twice – 154, three times – 3 and four – 2. Ninety-five women were awarded the title. Among the Heroes of the Soviet Union, 44 people are citizens of foreign states; the great majority of them received it during World War II.
Eighty-five people were awarded the title for actions related to the Soviet-Afghan War, which lasted from 1979 until 1989. The first recipients of the award were the pilots Anatoly Liapidevsky, Sigizmund Levanevsky, Vasily Molokov, Mavriky Slepnyov, Nikolai Kamanin, Ivan Doronin, Mikhail Vodopianov, who participated in the successful aerial search and rescue of the crew of the steamship Cheliuskin, which sank in Arctic waters, crushed by ice fields, on February 13, 1934. Valentina Grizodubova, a female pilot, was the first woman to become a Hero of the Soviet Union for her international women's record for a straight-line distance flight. Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, a Soviet partisan, was the first woman to become a Hero of the Soviet Union during World War II, posthumously. In addition, 101 people received the award twice. A second Hero title, either Hero of the Soviet Union or Hero of Socialist Labour entitled the recipient to have a bronze bust of his or her likeness with a commemorative inscription erected in his or her hometown.
Two famous Soviet fighter pilots, Aleksandr Pokryshkin and Ivan Kozhedub were three times Heroes of the Soviet Union. A third award entitled the recipient to have his/her bronze bust erected on a columnar pedestal in Moscow, near the Palace of the Soviets, but the Palace was never built. After his release from serving a 20-year sentence in a Mexican prison for the assassination of Leon Trotsky, Ramon Mercader moved to the Soviet Union in 1961 and was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union medal from KGB head Alexander Shelepin; the only individuals to receive the title four times were Leonid Brezhnev. The original statute of the Hero of the Soviet Union, did not provide for a fourth title. Both Zhukov and Brezhnev received their fourth titles under controversial circumstances contrary to the statute, which remained unchanged until the award was abolished in 1991. Zhukov was awarded a fourth time "for his large accomplishments" on the occasion of his 60th birthday on December 1, 1956. There is some speculation that Zhukov's fourth Hero medal was for his participation in the arrest of Beria in 1953, but this was not entered in the records.
Brezhnev's four awards further eroded the prestige of the award because they were all birthday gifts, on the occasions of his 60th, 70th, 72nd and 75th birthdays. Such practices halted in 1988 due to a decision of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, which formally ended it. By the 1970s, the award had been somewhat devalued. Important political and military persons had been awarded it on the occasions of their anniversaries rather than for any immediate heroic activity. All Soviet cosmonauts, starting from Yuri Gagarin, as well as foreign citizens who participated in the Soviet space program as cosmonauts, received Hero award for each flight. Apart from individuals, the title was awarded to twelve cities as well as the fortress of Brest for collective heroism during the War; the last recipient of the title "Hero of the Soviet Union" was a Soviet diver, Captain of the 3rd rank Leonid Mikhailovich Solodkov on December 24, 1991 for his leadership and participation in a series of unprecedented extreme depth diving experiments.
Following the collapse of the
A platoon is a military unit composed of two or more squads/sections/patrols. Platoon organization varies depending on the country and the branch, but per the official tables of organization as published in U. S. military documents. S. infantry rifle platoon consists of 43 Marines. There are other types of infantry platoons, depending upon service and type of infantry company/battalion to which the platoon is assigned, these platoons may range from as few as 18 to 69. Non-infantry platoons may range from as small as a nine-man communications platoon to a 102-man maintenance platoon. A platoon leader or commander is the officer in command of a platoon; this person is a junior officer—a second or first lieutenant or an equivalent rank. The officer is assisted by a platoon sergeant. A platoon is the smallest military unit led by a commissioned officer. Rifle platoons consist of a small platoon headquarters and three or four sections or squads. In some armies, platoon is used throughout the branches of the army.
In a few armies, such as the French Army, a platoon is a cavalry unit, the infantry use "section" as the equivalent unit. A unit consisting of several platoons is called a company/battery/troop. According to Merriam-Webster, "The term was first used in the 17th century to refer to a small body of musketeers who fired together in a volley alternately with another platoon." The word came from pelote meaning a small ball. The suffix "-on" can be an augmentative suffix in French, but on the other hand is a diminutive suffix in relationship to animals, so the original intention in forming peloton from pelote is not clear. Nonetheless it is documented that it took the meaning of a group of soldiers firing a volley together, while a different platoon reloaded; this implies an augmentative intention in the etymology. Since soldiers were organized in two or three lines, which were supposed to fire volleys together, this would have meant platoons organised with the intention of a half or a third of the company firing at once.
The modern French word peloton, when not meaning platoon, can refer to the main body of riders in a bicycle race. Pelote itself comes from the low Latin "pilotta" from Latin "pila", meaning "ball", the French suffix "-on" derives from the Latin suffix "-onus"; the platoon was a firing unit rather than an organization. The system was said to have been invented by Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in 1618. In the French Army in the 1670s, a battalion was divided into 18 platoons who were grouped into three "firings"; the system was used in the British, Austrian and Dutch armies. On 1 October 1913, under a scheme by General Sir Ivor Maxse, the regular battalions of the British Army were reorganised from the previous eight companies to a four company structure, with each company having four platoons as separate units each commanded by a lieutenant with a platoon sergeant as his deputy; each platoon was divided into four sections, each commanded by a corporal. Due to a shortage of officers, a non commissioned officer rank of Platoon Sergeant Major was introduced from 1938 to 1940 for experienced non-commissioned officers who were given command of platoons.
In the Australian Army, an infantry platoon has thirty-six soldiers organized into three eight-man sections and a twelve-man maneuver support section. A lieutenant as platoon commander and a sergeant as platoon sergeant, accompanied by a platoon signaller and sometimes a platoon medic. A section comprises eight soldiers led by a corporal with a lance corporal as second in command; each section has two fireteams of four men, one led by the corporal and the other by the lance corporal. Each fireteam has one soldier with a 7.62mm Maximi GSMG and the other three armed with F88 Steyr assault rifles. One rifle per fireteam has an attached 40mm grenade launcher. Fireteam bravo has a HK417 7.62mm for the designated marksman role. More the designated marksman of each Australian fireteam has been issued the HK417 in Afghanistan and afterwards; the platoon may have three MAG 58 general-purpose machine guns, one M2 Browning heavy machine gun or a Mk 19 grenade launcher at its disposal. In the British Army, a rifle platoon from an infantry company consists of three sections of eight men, plus a signaller, a platoon sergeant, the platoon commander and a mortar man operating a light mortar.
This may not be the case for all British Infantry units, since the 51mm mortars are not part of the TOE post-Afghanistan. Under Army 2020, a platoon in the Heavy Protected Mobility Regiments will consist of around 30 soldiers in four Mastiff/FRES UV vehicles; as of March 2016, the British Army is reviewing whether to retain the FN Herstal Para Minimi 5.56×45mm light machine gun and the M6-640 Commando 60 mm mortar at platoon level in dismounted units. Each section is commanded by a corporal, with a lance corporal as second-in-command and s
Battle of France
The Battle of France known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until 6 June 1944. Italy invaded France over the Alps. In Fall Gelb, German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes and along the Somme valley, cutting off and surrounding the Allied units that had advanced into Belgium, to meet the expected German invasion; when British and French forces were pushed back to the sea by the mobile and well-organised German operation, the British evacuated the British Expeditionary Force and French divisions from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo. German forces began Fall Rot on 5 June; the sixty remaining French divisions and two British divisions made a determined resistance but were unable to overcome the German air superiority and armoured mobility.
German tanks outflanked the Maginot Line and pushed deep into France, occupying Paris unopposed on 14 June. After the flight of the French government and the collapse of the French army, German commanders met with French officials on 18 June to negotiate an end to hostilities. On 22 June, the Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed by Germany; the neutral Vichy government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain superseded the Third Republic and Germany occupied the north and west coasts of France and their hinterlands. Italy took control of a small occupation zone in the south-east and the Vichy regime retained the unoccupied territory in the south, known as the zone libre. In November 1942, the Germans occupied the zone under Case Anton, until the Allied liberation in 1944. During the 1930s, the French built fortifications along the border with Germany; the line was intended to economise on manpower and deter a German invasion across the Franco-German border by diverting it into Belgium, which could be met by the best divisions of the French Army.
The war would take place outside French territory avoiding the destruction of the First World War. The main section of the Maginot Line ended at Longwy. General Philippe Pétain declared the Ardennes to be "impenetrable" as long as "special provisions" were taken to destroy an invasion force as it emerged from the Ardennes by a pincer attack; the French commander-in-chief, Maurice Gamelin believed the area to be safe from attack, noting it "never favoured large operations". French war games held in 1938, of a hypothetical German armoured attack through the Ardennes, left the army with the impression that the region was still impenetrable and that this, along with the obstacle of the Meuse River, would allow the French time to bring up troops into the area to counter an attack. In 1939, Britain and France offered military support to Poland in the case of a German invasion. In the dawn of 1 September 1939, the German Invasion of Poland began. France and the United Kingdom declared war on 3 September, after an ultimatum for German forces to withdraw their forces from Poland was not answered.
Following this, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada declared war on Germany. While British and French commitments to Poland were met politically, the Allies were not in a position to render meaningful military assistance to the Poles in a timely manner. If Allied military intervention in Poland had been feasible, it would have come at the risk of drawing the Soviet Union into the war on Germany's side due to the recently-signed German-Soviet non-aggression pact and subsequent Soviet invasion of eastern Poland; as a result, the Allies settled on a long-war strategy and mobilised for defensive land operations against Germany, while a trade blockade was imposed and the pre-war re-armament was accelerated, ready for an eventual invasion of Germany. On 7 September, in accordance with their alliance with Poland, France began the Saar Offensive with an advance from the Maginot Line 5 km into the Saar. France had mobilised 98 divisions and 2,500 tanks against a German force consisting of 43 divisions and no tanks.
The French advanced until they met the thin and undermanned Siegfried Line. On 17 September, the French supreme commander, Maurice Gamelin gave the order to withdraw French troops to their starting positions. Following the Saar Offensive, a period of inaction called the Phoney War set in between the belligerents. Adolf Hitler had hoped that France and Britain would acquiesce in the conquest of Poland and make peace. On 6 October, he made a peace offer to both Western powers. On 9 October, Hitler issued a new "Führer-Directive Number 6". Hitler recognised the necessity of military campaigns to defeat the Western European nations, preliminary to the conquest of territory in Eastern Europe, to avoid a two-front war but these intentions were absent from Directive N°6; the plan was based on the more realistic assumption that German military strength would have to be built up for several years. For the moment only limited objectives could be envisaged and were aimed at improving Germany's ability to survive a long war in the west.
Hitler ordered a conquest of the Low Countries to be executed at the shortest possible notice to forestall the French and prevent Allied air po
Veliky Novgorod known as Novgorod the Great, or Novgorod Veliky, or just Novgorod, is one of the oldest and most important historic cities in Russia, which serves as the administrative center of Novgorod Oblast. It is situated on the M10 federal highway connecting Saint Petersburg; the city lies along the Volkhov River just downstream from its outflow from Lake Ilmen. UNESCO recognized Novgorod as a World Heritage Site in 1992. Population: 218,717 . At its peak during the 14th century, the city was the capital of the Novgorod Republic and one of Europe's largest cities; the Sofia First Chronicle makes initial mention of it in 859, while the Novgorod First Chronicle first mentions it in 862, when it was purportedly a major Baltics-to-Byzantium station on the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks. The Charter of Veliky Novgorod recognizes 859 as the year. Novgorod is traditionally considered to be the cradle of Russian statehood. Archaeological excavations in the middle to late 20th century, have found cultural layers dating back only to the late 10th century, the time of the Christianization of Rus' and a century after it was founded, suggesting that the chronicle entries mentioning Novgorod in the 850s or 860s are interpolations.
Archaeological dating is easy and accurate to within 15–25 years, as the streets were paved with wood, most of the houses made of wood, allowing tree ring dating. The Varangian name of the city Holmgård or Holmgard is mentioned in Norse Sagas as existing at a yet earlier stage, but the correlation of this reference with the actual city is uncertain. Holmgård referred to the stronghold, now only 2 km to the south of the center of the present-day city, Rurikovo Gorodische. Archaeological data suggests that the Gorodishche, the residence of the Knyaz, dates from the mid-9th century, whereas the town itself dates only from the end of the 10th century. First mention of this Nordic or Germanic etymology to the name of the city of Novgorod occurs in the 10th-century policy manual De Administrando Imperio by Byzantine emperor Constantine VII. Predating the chronology of the legend of Rurik, an earlier record for the Scandinavian settlement of the region is found in the Annales Bertiniani where a Rus' delegation is mentioned as having visited Constantinople in 838 and, intending to return to the Rus' Khaganate via the Baltic Sea, were questioned by Frankish Emperor Louis the Pious at Ingelheim am Rhein, where they said that although their origin was Swedish, they had settled in Northern Rus' under a leader whom they designated as chacanus.
In 882, Rurik's successor, Oleg of Novgorod, conquered Kiev and founded the state of Kievan Rus'. Novgorod's size as well as its political and cultural influence made it the second most important city in Kievan Rus'. According to a custom, the elder son and heir of the ruling Kievan monarch was sent to rule Novgorod as a minor; when the ruling monarch had no such son, Novgorod was governed by posadniks, such as the legendary Gostomysl, Dobrynya and Ostromir. Of all their princes, Novgorodians most cherished the memory of Yaroslav the Wise, who sat as Prince of Novgorod from 1010 to 1019, while his father, Vladimir the Great, was a prince in Kiev. Yaroslav promulgated the first written code of laws among the Eastern Slavs and is said to have granted the city a number of freedoms or privileges, which they referred to in centuries as precedents in their relations with other princes, his son, sponsored construction of the great St. Sophia Cathedral, more translated as the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom, which stands to this day.
In Norse sagas the city is mentioned as the capital of Gardariki. Four Viking kings—Olaf I of Norway, Olaf II of Norway, Magnus I of Norway, Harald Hardrada—sought refuge in Novgorod from enemies at home. No more than a few decades after the 1030 death and subsequent canonization of Olaf II of Norway, the city's community had erected in his memory Saint Olaf's Church in Novgorod; the Gotland town of Visby functioned as the leading trading center in the Baltic before the Hansa League. At Novgorod in 1080, Visby merchants established a trading post. In the first half of the 13th century, merchants from northern Germany established their own trading station in Novgorod, known as Peterhof. At about the same time, in 1229, German merchants at Novgorod were granted certain privileges, which made their position more secure. In 1136, the Novgorodians dismissed their prince Vsevolod Mstislavich; the year is seen as the traditional beginning of the Novgorod Republic. The city was able to invite and dismiss a number of princes over the next two centuries, but the princely office was never abolished and powerful princes, such as Alexander Nevsky, could assert their will in the city regardless of what Novgorodians said.
The city state controlled most of Europe's northeast, from lands east of today's Est