Kuchin Alexander Stepanovich
(16 (28).09.1888–1913?)

Polar navigator, captain, oceanographer, explorer of the Antarctic and the Arctic.
Born in a Pomor family in the village of Kushereka, Onega County, Arkhangelsk Province. His father labored in fisheries, but gradually reached the position of navigator.
Kuchin entered the Arkhangelsk Commercial and Industrial School. Already in the years of study, he repeatedly sailed in the Kara Sea as part of the St. John's Wort expeditions. Due to the participation in the strike caused by dissatisfaction with the rules prevailing in the school, in order to avoid reprisals, he had to leave for Norway and act as a sailor for a fishing schooner. After the amnesty, Kuchin returned to Arkhangelsk, was again arrested, but was released due to lack of direct evidence. In 1909, he graduated from the Arkhangelsk Naval College with a gold medal.
At the end of the school, Kuchin, who was fluent in Norwegian, joined the Bergen Hydrobiological Station.
There he met F. Nansen, who appreciated Kuchin’s great abilities and recommended him to R. Amundsen to take part in the expedition on the “Fram” in 1910 - 1911. Amundsen was going to repeat the Nansen drift, but, learning about the discovery of the North Pole by R. Peary, without the knowledge of Nansen changed his plans and went to Antarctica. Kuchin was the first Russian sailor to sail off the coast of Antarctica since its discovery in 1820 by the expedition of F.F. Bellingshausen and M.P. Lazarev. During the voyage to Antarctica, he conducted oceanographic research, which subsequently received high praise from specialists.
In 1912, he was invited by V.A. Rusanov on an expedition to Svalbard and, as it turned out later, along the Northern Sea Route. The choice of the vessel for the "Hercules" expedition was made by Rusanov together with Kuchin. With him they made a trial voyage from Ålesund to Trondheim and were delighted with the ship. With the help of Kuchin, the missing rigging, kayaks, tents and much more equipment necessary for the expedition were purchased. The ship passed from Svalbard to the western entrance to Matochkin Shar, and from there, as it became known after 22 years on the basis of finds of the expedition, reached Minin skerry. There is no reliable information about the fate of the expedition.
In 1988, the Kuchin House Museum was opened in Onega.
In 2000, a search group of the Oryol State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company in Taimyr, at the foot of Mount Minin, discovered human bones, presumably one of the members of the Rusanov expedition. According to the results of the criminal investigation, their belonging to Kuchin is not ruled out.
An island near the island of Popova-Chukhchina in the skerries of Minin. Named by the hydrograph V.A. Troitskiy in 1957.
Cape on the island of Popova-Chukhchina.
Islands off the north coast of Salisbury Island of the Franz Josef Land Archipelago. It was named in the 1950s by Soviet cartographers.


Return to the main page