Designed by Vice-Admiral S.O. Makarov, the icebreaker was built in Newcastle, Great Britain by Armstrong Whitworth, having been ordered by the Russian Naval Ministry. Svyatogor, as Krasin was originally named, fully lived up to this heroic name.

Contemporaries were greatly impressed by her technical perfection. With a displacement of 10,000 tonnes, she had a length of 99.8 m and a beam of 21.6 m. She had steam engines of over 10,000 hp, giving her a top speed in excess of 15 knots, and could break ice up to 4-5 m thick. Due to her unique abilities Krasin served in the Arctic fleet for over half a century, and until the early fifties remained the most powerful icebreaker in the world.

January 21, 1916   Building commences.
October 1 1916   The icebreaker Svyatogor joins the Russian Navy's Arctic Ocean fleet.
March 31, 1917   Svyatogor hoists the St. Andrew's flag.
1918   Scuttled in the Severnaya Dvina by the Bolsheviks to try to deny access to Arkhangel'sk to the Royal Navy. Refloated by the British and came under British control.
1920   At the request of the Soviet Union, and flying the Norwegian flag, she was one of the icebreakers which rescued the icebreaking steamer Solovey Budimirovich (later Malygin) adrift in the ice of the Kara Sea.
1921   Purchased from Britain by the Soviet government, with the involvement of L. Krasin and A. Krylov.
1922-1928   Operated in the Baltic Sea.
1927   Svyatogor renamed Krasin.
1928   Rescued survivors from the crash of Umberto Nobile's dirigible Italia (Italy), and the German cruise-ship Monte Cervantes which had run aground off Spitsbergen.
1928-1934   Worked in the Arctic.
1934   Participated in the rescue of survivors of the sinking of Chelyuskin in the Chukchi Sea.
1937-1941   Escorted freighters on the Northern Sea Route .
1941-1942   From Vladivostok to Bremerton, Washington, USA for refit; proceeded via Panama Canal to Halifax, Nova Scotia and Reykjavik, Iceland.
1942   Part of escort for Allied convoy PQ-15 (20 ships), Iceland to Murmansk.
1942-1943   Returned to Vladivostok, completing circumnavigation started in 1941.
1943-1945   Worked in the eastern Russian Arctic.
1950-1956   Operated by the Murmansk Shipping Company.
1956-1960   Modernized in the Wismar shipyards, GDR (East Germany).
1960-1972   Escorting freighters on the Northern Sea Route.
1972   Transferred to the Soviet Ministry of Geology; supporting geological exploration in the arctic.
1974-1989   обеспечивает работу буровых партий на шельфе Арктики
1992   Became a historical monument of state significance.
1995   First exhibition opened.
2002   принят в Ассоциацию военно-исторических кораблей (HNSA)
February 10, 2004   Became a branch of the World Ocean Museum, St. Petersburg.
March 31, 2007   Hoisted the St. Andrew's flag again.
2018   90th anniversary of the rescue of Umberto Nobile's expedition and Krasin's triumphal return to Leningrad.