The 68bis-project light gun cruiser "Mikhail Kutuzov" (factory No. C-385) was laid on the stocks of the Black Sea Shipyard in Nikolaev (now Ukraine) on February 22, 1951. On November 29, 1951 the launch of the cruiser took place.
On August 9, 1954 the USSR naval ensign was hoisted on the cruiser. That day is considered the birth day of the cruiser. On January 31, 1955, the cruiser was enlisted in the structure of warships of the Black Sea Fleet. The cruiser was based in the main harbour of the Black Sea Fleet - hero city Sevastopol. As a combat unit, the cruiser was among ships of instant-readiness 1st line until October 1988; after modernization it was withdrawn from the permanent readiness forces and transferred to the 3-category reserve, i.e. immobilized. The cruiser stayed in the state of immobilization until August 28, 1998; subsequently it was withdrawn from the line of combat ships and categorized as "military property"; a branch of the Black Sea Fleet museum was set up in the premises of the cruiser. On August 23, 2001, the cruiser "Mikhail Kutuzov" took its last passage from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk, tugged by a tow-boat.
On August 25, 2001 the cruiser arrived at Novorossiysk where it was placed at the berth of the marine passenger terminal of the city for eternal moorage.
Returning to the 1950s, let us note that in May 1955 the first shipborne helicopters Ка-15 and Ми-1 were tested on board of the cruiser.
On October 29, 1955 the battleship "Novorossiysk" exploded in Sevastopol at the inner anchorage. A wrecking party of 35 persons from the cruiser "Mikhail Kutuzov" was assigned to render help to the battleship in distress; 27 of them perished...
In the summer of 1957, the cruiser made a passage Sevastopol - Leningrad – Sevastopol, to take part in the celebration of the Navy Day on the Neva. It covered 4,500 miles.
On September 14, 1958, the Eternal Flame from Sevastopol, Malakhov Burial Mound, was delivered to Novorossiysk on board the cruiser "Mikhail Kutuzov". The Eternal flame was lit on Heroes Square in Novorossiysk.
In June 1964, "Mikhail Kutuzov", along with the large anti-submarine ship "Soznatelny" (Conscious) and the large anti-submarine ship "Komsomolets of Ukraine" entered the Mediterranean Sea for combat service.
On March 31, 1969, the cruiser "Mikhail Kutuzov" became a flagship of the 30th Division of naval surface ships of the Black Sea Fleet.
In March-April 1970, the cruiser took part in the broad naval play-war "Ocean", where all the fleets were involved.
In 1968-1973, the cruiser "Mikhail Kutuzov" repeatedly took part in rendering "fraternal military international aid" to a number of Arab countries: Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, in the war against Israel.
Long-distance marches became a true school for many generations of seamen, and the cruiser deck turned into a breeding ground for raining military officers and fleet admirals (17 admirals, 78 1st rank captains); over 700 seamen were awarded with USSR orders and medals.
The crew of the cruiser carried the Soviet Naval ensign over many seas and oceans honourably, meeting all the tasks assigned to it. Exercising its mission aimed to strengthen peace, trust and friendship among the world nations, the ship visited the ports of Yugoslavia, Albania, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Romania, Bulgaria. In total, the cruiser "Mikhail Kutuzov", within the period of its active service, made 15 long-distance marches and military operations, covered over 220,000 miles.
In the 60-80s of the last century, the cruiser "Mikhail Kutuzov" was patronized by the Komsomol organization of Novorossiysk. Many of local recruits went through the school of courage and got a toehold aboard the cruiser. "Mikhail Kutuzov" very often called on Tsemes Bay. Therefore, it is no coincidence that the place of the last moorage of the cruiser is Novorossiysk.