Potemkin and the Russian Navy in 1905
When most people try to think of a famed Russian battleship, they will find they have a difficult time coming up with a name. Russia has operated relatively few battleships during the course of its naval history, and by the Second World War only three aging pre-World War I battleships of the Gangut Class were operated by the Soviet Union in the Baltic and Black Sea Fleets. The most modern battleship ever used by the Soviet Union was actually a British dreadnought that was transferred to Russia's Northern Fleet during World War II.
Due to the cancellation of the Sovetsky Soyuz class during the 1940s, Russia and the Soviet Union never built modern battleships as did Japan, Britain, the US, Germany, France, and Italy. Probably the best known ships that come close to battleships in size and power are those of the Kirov Class, which were heavy guided missile cruisers built during the Cold War. So with such a lack of modern, big-name battleships to choose from, it is little surprise that the most famous Russian battleship is probably the Potemkin, and that fame is due to her role in the 1905 rebellion.
In early 1905 the Russo-Japanese War had left Russia's navy reeling. Battleships had been lost to Japan in the Pacific, both those of the native Pacific Fleet as well as those of the powerful Baltic Fleet that were sent on the long voyage to the Pacific as reinforcements. That Russia, as a great power, would suffer such losses at the hands of the Japanese had been unthinkable. The course of the war was so shocking that morale in the Russian Navy was at a deep low. And not that it had ever been particularly high to begin with- the Russian fleet was notorious for its poor conditions, horrific disciplinary measures, and geographic dispersion that made coordination difficult.
Russia was and remains unique among the world's navies because it defends not just one or two but a full four different coasts geographically separated by thousands of miles. Traditionally it has maintained four fleets: the Northern, Baltic, Black Sea, and Pacific. Mutual reinforcement is nearly impossible due to the distances involved, the choke points between the Baltic and Black Seas and more open waters, and the ice that threatens the bases along the Barents and Pacific coasts.