Albanov Valerian Ivanovich
Navigator, member of the expedition
on the schooner "St.
For a long time, information about the life of Albanov before the
expedition was extremely scarce and ambiguous.
However, now, thanks to years of research by the famous Ufa
Chvanov, Ufa local lore researcher V.Z.
Kuzmina and V.A.
Troitsky, it was possible to establish: Alban was born not in
1881, but in 1882 and not in Voronezh, but in Ufa in the family of a
military veterinary doctor who served in the Cossack regiment of the
Orenburg army stationed there.
For a short time the family lived in Voronezh, then in Orenburg,
where the boy studied in the preparatory class of the gymnasium.
Due to the fact that his father was often absent for military
service, his uncle took care of the child, at the request of which
Alban was accepted into the preparatory class of the Ufa gymnasium
After graduating from the gymnasium two classes (in the first
remained in the second year) and half of the third, which was equal
to the completion of studies in public schools, on the basis of an
uncle's petition referring to family circumstances, in 1895 he was
It is further known that at the age of 17, i.e.
in 1899, Albanov entered the Petersburg nautical classes.
After finishing them in 1904, he sailed on various ships in the
Baltic Sea, and in 1905 he moved to Krasnoyarsk and enrolled as an
assistant captain on the steamer "Ob", which was part of the Northern
Sea Expedition of the Ministry of Railways, which transported
railways from Europe to Yenisei for the Circum-Baikal Railway.
Albanov served on the Ob on the summer navigation of 1905–1906,
having received excellent maritime and pilotage practice, as well as
knowledge of the peculiarities of navigation on the Yenisei, which
would be useful to him more than once afterwards.
In November 1906, after the dismantling of the Northern Sea
Expedition, Albanov moved to the Caspian Sea and the entire 1907
sailed as a navigator on the steamers "Slava" and "Soyuz", which made
passenger-passenger flights from Baku to Astrakhan and Krasnovodsk.
Here he sailed the last months of the qualification necessary for
obtaining a diploma of navigator navigator, which he received in
He did not succeed in entering the ocean vessel immediately, and
in the 1908 season he was content with the position of senior
navigator on the Astarta high-speed steam yacht, which made urgent
commercial flights between St. Petersburg and the ports of the
Albanov served on the steamer “Kildin”, which made flights
between Arkhangelsk and the ports of England, as well as on the
steamer “Grand Duchess Xenia”.
In 1912, Albanov met Brusilov and willingly accepted his offer to
participate in the expedition on “St.
Anna"as a navigator.
The expedition ship left St. Petersburg on July 28 (August 10),
1912, and on August 28 (September 10), after a short stop, left
Having passed on September 4 (17) through the Yugorsky Shar into
the Kara Sea, “St.
Anna” in the beginning of October was covered with ice near the
western coast of Yamal and stood in place for two weeks.
On October 15 (28), when the ship was in the area of 71º
the ice was torn off and carried to the north, and since then “St.
Anna" no one has ever seen.
The further course of the expedition is known only from Albanov,
one of the two surviving participants.
The drift was almost exactly northward.
In February 1913, the vessel, overwhelmed with ice, passed
through the extreme northern point of Novaya Zemlya, Cape Zhelaniya,
and at the end of the year already crossed 82º
N, being in the Polar Basin to the northeast of
Franz Josef Land archipelago, from where the direction of drift abruptly changed to the
During the first wintering part of the crew, including Albanova,
got sick with what seemed to be a strange and serious illness.
Now we can safely assume that it was trichinosis, which people
got from eating badly boiled down bear meat.
The attempts made in the summer to free themselves from the ice
captivity were unsuccessful.
The expedition stayed for the second wintering, the participants
suffered much worse than the first.
Despite the successful summer hunt, nutritional problems began to
arise, but the main thing was that wintering affected the morale of
A serious conflict arose between Brusilov and Albanov, which grew
into mutual hostility.
As a result, Albanov asked the commander to remove him from the
duties of the navigator.
This happened in January 1914, and soon he turned to Brusilov for
permission to build a kayak in order to leave the ship in the
As follows from the records of Brusilov, he allowed him,
"understanding his plight on the ship".
Upon learning of this, 13 team members decided to go with
Their departure was a favorable factor for the remaining part of
the team, as it allowed them to stretch their food supplies for a
Preparing for the march turned out to be a very complicated
procedure, which required a lot of patience, skill and ingenuity
from the participants.
Of the auxiliary, often unsuitable means, without a special tool,
7 kayaks and 7 sledges were built in the cold, clothes were sewn or
fixed, provisions, fuel, tools, weapons, ammunition and many other
necessary equipment were selected and packed.
About 65 pounds of cargo were collected,
600 kg of food, most of which were rye crackers.
The best set on "St.
Anna"at this point was simply not there.
Despite all the efforts, the equipment was extremely imperfect
and far from the samples developed by the experience of polar
The situation was aggravated by the fact that there were no
Franz Josef Land
cards on the ship where the outgoing group was to go.
Albanov was forced to use an enlarged scheme and extracts from
the book of Nansen.
The Albanov Group started on 10 (23) April 1914 from the point
with coordinates 82º
The nearest land,
Cape Fligeli on
Rudolph Island was 65 miles southwest of them.
A meager set of food was calculated for 2 months.
Albanov Brusilov sent the materials of the expedition and, as it
was believed, the letters of the expedition to “St.
The first three days there was almost no movement.
Due to the snowstorm and strong southern wind, the sailors were
forced to sit in a tent.
Only on April 13 (26), the definitions showed that they were
blown to the north: 83º
The march to the
Franz Josef Land was incredibly difficult and for the
participants who withstood all the tests it was a feat, as those who
familiarized themselves with Albanov’s diary fairly evaluate it.
Weakened after two winterings, the people were not able to pull
the entire load at a height of hummocks at one time.
It had to be moved in parts, which sharply reduced the speed of
movement, which did not exceed 3-4 km per day.
Began sifting participants.
After 10 days, three sailors could not stand the way and were
released to the ship by Albanov.
No one knows and will never know if they managed to do it.
Albanov's detachment is moving to
Franz Josef Land.
The released two sledges and two kayaks were dismantled for fuel.
The remaining 11 people, except for Albanov, P. Maksimov, I.
Lunyaev, O. Nielsen,
A. Konrad, P. Smirennikov, J. Regald, P. Baev, A. Archiereev,
E. Shpakovsky and V. Gubanov, tearing, continued movement through
the hummocks on the snow that started to soak.
On 3 (16) May, the group suffered its first loss: the sailor
Bayev left for ice exploration and did not return.
The hardest moral blow came upon travelers after astronomical
determinations made by Albanov.
It turned out that the ice was drifting rapidly to the west,
taking them farther and farther from the coveted Cape Fleegeli.
The group was carried past the earth, and this undermined many
people with faith in success.
Only the iron, indomitable will of Albanov made people rise and
Finally, on June 5 (18), the tops of the glaciers of some land
appeared on the horizon.
The path to it was blocked by piles of hummocks interlaced with
streaks and canals.
It took another 20 days to overcome them and cling to the
island’s most western projection.
By the time of landing, 2 kilograms of crackers, 200 grams of
dried meat and a kilogram of salt remained on the ground.
Fortunately, there was a huge bird market in the area of the
Travelers literally gorged on bird meat and eggs.
After the necessary rest, we had to move on, as Albanov had planned
for Cape Flora on
Island, where he expected to find shelter and food.
However, the problem was that according to his map, Albanov could
not determine their location.
And here luck finally turned to them.
Shpakovsky and Konrad, during a hunt, discovered a stone gury,
having disassembled which found a note in English.
It turned out that she was abandoned in 1897 by the wonderful
F. Jackson, the savior of Nansen, who now actually saved them.
From the note it follows that the travelers are on
Cape Mary Harmsworth, the most western tip of Land of Alexandra
Island, far serving in the sea.
All doubts were dispelled.
As Albanov wrote, "now we are on a known path".
Three days later, they moved east along the southern tip of the
island and then through the strait to
Five people, including Albanov, moved on two kayaks, the other five
walked along the edge of the glacier and fast ice.
Oddly enough, but it was after reaching the ground, the very fact
of which was supposed to encourage people, their losses followed.
Literally by force, Albanov had to force his companions to move.
“They don’t want to go, they want to live and relax somewhere on
the first cliff, or even on the ice.
In vain, I argue with them all the rashness of this plan, saying
that now the sea is free of ice, but we do not know what will happen
next”. In the land group, the sailor of the bishops was exhausted and
could not move on.
Comrades threw him, afraid to fall behind the maritime group.
The next day Alban forced them to return, but the bishops were
His body was left on the glacier - “Does it matter where the dead
There are 9 people left.
Albanov made a permutation, taking on kayaks the weakest people
from the land group.
He did everything to reach Cape Flora, "the Jackson estate", as
quickly as possible.
“Let us not find there any buildings that could collapse, but we
will find these ruins, restore them as much as possible, replenish
our reserves of provisions, since we still have a lot of cartridges
left and re-winter there in better conditions than anywhere else.
During the winter, we will fix the sledges and kayaks, we will
make new kayaks ... .., and then it will be possible to think about
either Svalbard or Novaya Zemlya”.
Here it is a simple and ambitious plan for Albanov.
There are no impossible tasks for this indomitable person, and in
fact he was more difficult than even
There were two healthy people, prepared for everything, strong in
spirit, and under the leadership of Albanov there was a group
consisting mainly of exhausted and fallen people who had lost faith
in success and the desire for life.
They not only could not help, they were the hardest burden.
On the night of 3 (16) on 4 (17) July, the party of 5 people in
kayaks reached the southern end of the Land of George -
There was no ground group, which included Maximov, Smirennikov,
Gubanov and Regald.
In vain waited for them for two days and headed further east to
Island with the desired Cape Flora.
By the time of arrival on about.
Bell finally exhausted sailor Nielsen.
He could not stand, stopped talking and eating.
Waking up in the morning, the comrades saw him already numb.
He was buried in a shallow grave, laying on top of a hill of
stones and frozen ground.
cartographers of the
in honor of Nielsen was named the
bay in the west of the island of
Bell, and in honor of Gubanov
cape in the north of the island of
On July 8 (21), 4 people of the Albanov group on two kayaks in
calm weather began the last journey to Cape Flora.
When they reached about the middle of the strait, a strong wind
rose, growing into a storm.
In the fog, among the ice kayaks lost each other.
Albanov and his partner sailor Konrad managed to land on a small
iceberg with all their property, where they spent the night.
“Our awakening was terrible”, writes Albanov.
The iceberg cracked and the travelers found themselves in icy
Miraculously, they managed to get out of a sleeping bag and get
up, in only one sock, on the projecting underwater part of the
"Malitsy, boots, hats, blankets, mittens and other items that we
hastily caught and threw on the ice floated around".
Saved by the fact that the kayak, safe and sound, also fell into
Having thrown everything into it that was possible, breaking the
sledges and taking several fragments with them, they got into a
kayak and began to row fiercely.
After 6 hours of furious rowing, they again landed on Bell
Having warmed by the fire and fortified with hot dive soup,
having a little rest, the travelers again got into a kayak and
finally, after an incredibly difficult three-month hike, we reached
What they saw exceeded all their best expectations.
They found sufficiently suitable housing, and simply huge
reserves of a variety of food left over from the expeditions that
had been here before.
Encouraged by these travelers, despite the unimportant physical
condition, especially among Albanov, began active preparations for
Konrad sailed to Cape Grant, hoping to discover a second kayak
with Lunyaev and Shpakovsky and a land group.
No one could be found, these people disappeared without a trace.
In the second kayak, among other things, Albanov’s notes for the
drift period on “St.
Archipelago Franz Josef Land.
(view from space)
Fortunately, it was not necessary to winter again.
11 days later, on July 20 (August 2), the expedition vessel
Foka", returning from Hooker
Island home, approached Cape Flora.
By this time, the coal supplies had run out on the ship, and the
polar explorers intended to dismantle the big house of the Jackson
expedition, which Albanov and Konrad were preparing for their winter,
and the barn with provisions for fuel.
From Sedovtsev Albanov learned that on about.
Bell is the well-preserved home of the expedition
B. Lee-Smith with a small warehouse of provisions and a working
bot, to which they have not reached some 200–300 steps.
These 200-300 steps actually decided the fate of their comrades
who were on the second kayak.
Memorial plaque at Cape Flora.
Established in 2005
(photo by A. Barakov)
July 26 (August 8) “St.
Foka” went home and after 22 days of swimming approached Rynd’s
camp on the Murmansk shore.
After another 2 days on the passenger ship Albanov and Konrad
arrived in Arkhangelsk.
Thus ended the polar odyssey of navigator Albanov, which
contemporaries rightfully called a feat.
The value of what he accomplished is extremely great.
He showed what a person is capable of in extreme conditions.
Albanov not only saved himself and his friend, he brought
information about the two-year drift of “St.
Anna”, essentially extending the life of the expedition members
by two years.
Information about the drift of the vessel and Albanov's campaign
to the FBL finally removed the question of the non-existent lands of
Peterman and King Oscar.
Data logbook "St.
Anna” allowed to predict the existence of land or large shallow
water to the east of the FBI, the materials of two-year
meteorological observations during the drift were of great
Albanov's subsequent life in the wake of the world and civil wars
was very restless.
A man who has experienced so much in the north and dreamed of
warm lands there, having returned, again connects himself with the
After a short period of work onshore as an auditor, he served as
a senior assistant on the Canada icebreaker (F. Litke), and since
1918 he sailed the North ship as part of the Ob-Yenisei hydrographic
detachment, participated in the inventory of the Dickson bay area.
There is no complete clarity on the time of the death of Albanov.
It was believed that his life ended at the end of 1919 somewhere
near Achinsk not either from typhus, or from the explosion of a
train with ammunition.
Recent studies by M.A. Chvanov brought information that it was as
if Albanov visited his mother in Krasnoyarsk shortly before her
death, that is, in 1932 or 1933.
During his life in 1917, Albanov managed to publish his notes
entitled “To the South, to Franz-Josef Land”.
Many mysteries and ambiguities associated with the expedition of
In addition to the main one - the fate of "St.
Anna’s" and her team’s members, there are
many versions and assumptions about the reasons for the gap between
Brusilov and Albanov, the role of
Yerminia Zhdanko in this.
All this is known only from Albanov, Conrad always walked away
from talking about the expedition.
Clarification could have been the solution to another riddle:
where did the mail, transferred by Brusilov to Albanov, and which
Albanov vowed to save, go to.
In Albanov's diary there are frequent references to her, it is
clear that she was saved before joining the FIA, it is not said
anywhere that she was lost.
If Albanov for some reason did not want to deliver her, he could
have said that she died at one of the crossings.
But this is not in his notes, and there is no mail.
None of the relatives of the expedition members received any
V. Z. Kuzmina believes that the letters that all the remaining
participants had intensely written for a few days remained with
I quote her: "The letters of ordinary people have no place in the
package addressed to the high chief".
But, firstly, as you know, the Brusilov and Zhdanko families had
very high-ranking representatives, and secondly, where are the
They did not write them in order to leave.
A rather real explanation is given by MA
Chvanov: “Due to the difficult relations with Albanov, Brusilov
hardly trusted him with personal letters, especially since they may
have had unflattering characteristics of Albanov.
Most likely, he secretly from Albanov entrusted them to P.
Maximov or I. Regalda”. True, it is strange that Albanov thoroughly, knowing in detail
the entire load that they had to carry, never once paid attention to
this, most likely, very voluminous place.
There is another source of information about the Brusilov
This is Conrad's diary, which was transferred by his wife in 1940
to the Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic and is still kept there.
This is a shabby notebook in black calico cover of 76 pages.
An inquisitive researcher, upon careful reading, could extract
from the diary a grain of information, at least to some extent,
shedding light on the riddles of the expedition.
But .... This notebook is not the original diary.
This is a copy made later and surely edited.
We know that Konrad refused to talk about the expedition, he was
obviously hiding something, did not want to talk about something.
There is no doubt that this “something” was removed from the
diary during rewriting.
An island in the area of Dickson
Named by Dixon hydrographs (at the suggestion of VA Troitsky) in
Cape in the east of the
Hooker Island archipelago Franz-Josef Land.
Named by Soviet cartographers.
on the island of the October Revolution of the archipelago Severnaya
Named in 1953.
Since 1972, the hydrographic vessel
has been operating in the Arkhangelsk hydrobase.