Gorbunov Grigory Petrovich 
(09.02.1894 –14.02.1942)


Polar hydrobiologist and zoologist. 
He was born in Krasnoye Selo near St. Petersburg in the family of an engineer-technologist, and later a managing director at the Krasnoselsky stationery factory of the Fellowship of K.P. Pechatkina. Mother was the daughter of one of the heirs of the owner of the factory, engaged in raising children and housekeeping. 
In 1912, Gorbunov graduated from K. May's real school - one of the best private secondary schools in Russia. At first I wanted to enter the architectural department of the Academy of Arts, but then I changed my mind and in 1913 I was accepted into the university as a natural department of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. It is possible that this decision was made not without the influence of the famous traveler P.K. Kozlov, a good friend of the family Gorbunov. Kozlov was fond of ornithology, and his wife, starting with the processing of collections collected on expeditions, devoted all her life to the study of birds, worked in the Zoological Institute. Also, most likely, under their influence and young Gorbunov took up ornithology. During his studies at the university in the summer months, he made ornithological excursions to the Olonets, Vologda and Arkhangelsk provinces, to the central Caucasus, in the region of the Terek and Kuban Cossack troops and in the South Caucasus. The materials collected on these journeys, Gorbunov transferred to the Zoological Museum of the Imperial Academy of Sciences. 
In 1915, a young scientist first came to the Kola Peninsula, and since then he has been “ill” with the Arctic all his life. 
Revolutionary events dramatically changed his life. Under the influence of his older brother, an active Bolshevik, who later held leading posts in the country, Gorbunov left the university and began working in Soviet institutions. He participated in the nationalization of music publishing houses and music factories. In 1919, Gorbunov went to work in the scientific and technical department of the Supreme Economic Council, which was headed by his elder brother. But the career of a government official did not attract him, and he soon went to work as deputy head of the Peterhof excursion station, headed by K.M. Deryugin. At the same time, Gorbunov resumed classes at the university. During 1920–1922 He made continuous hydrobiological observations on one of the reservoirs of Old Peterhof, and this work was credited to him as a thesis. 
In March 1920, the Northern Scientific and Fishing Expedition was organized, one of the main tasks of which was to study the natural, including plant and animal, resources of the North. In 1923, Gorbunov became a freelancer, immediately taking part in the work of the Novaya Zemlya Party, which explored the western coast of Novaya Zemlya and the hunt for the Pooh Bay. Gorbunov studied the bird markets and survey of freshwater bodies. He continued his work on Novaya Zemlya in the following 1924. 
In 1925, the expedition was transformed into the Institute for the Study of the North, the sailing-motor vessel "Elding", which later became famous, was acquired, which made it possible to begin research on the high seas. In 1925, an expedition on the “Elding” circled Novaya Zemlya from the north and described several previously unknown bays and bays on its northeast shore. In the Kara Sea were found jets of the warm Atlantic current, penetrating into the sea from the Polar basin. As in previous years, Gorbunov carried out bird watching and collected freshwater plankton at each departure to the shore. In this expedition, he first began to collect and bottom marine fauna. 
At the institute, Gorbunov was an assistant director. In 1926, as part of the delegation of the Academy of Sciences, he participated in the work of the congress of the international society "Aeroarctic", and in the same year headed the fishing expedition of the institute in western Murman. During the Institute's 1927 Novaya Zemlya expedition, the ship "Zarnitsa" (bearing the name Elding) was used to study several regions of the Barents Sea under a joint Soviet-German program. Gorbunov was the deputy head of this expedition and led its naval unit. The next year, 1928, he carried out work at the station of the institute in the Porchnikha Bay on East Murman. 
Beginning in 1929, Gorbunov was mainly engaged in the study of marine benthos. He participated in a high-latitude government expedition on the icebreaker steamer "G. Sedov" at the
Franz Josef Land, which hoisted the flag of our country on this archipelago, in 1930 at the same"G. Sedov” in the expedition of the All-Union Arctic Institute to Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya and the northern part of the Kara Sea. In this expedition participated writer I.S. Sokolov-Mikitov, who created a series of essays "The Walk of "Sedov". In the 1930s, Gorbunov published a monograph “The Birds of Franz Josef Land” and a number of articles on the bottom population of these Arctic regions. 
In April 1930, in connection with the reorganization of the Institute for the Study of the North, Gorbunov, together with the fishing and biological department, were transferred to the Leningrad Institute of Fisheries. Since by that time he was engaged only in the study of marine bottom fauna, and the Institute of Fisheries did not conduct such research, a year later Gorbunov moved to the Hydrological Institute. In 1931 he conducted hydrobiological studies in the southern part of the Kara Sea at "Rusanov" and in 1933 at "Alexander Sibiryakov". 
In 1932 and 1934 he was not given the opportunity to participate in the Arctic expeditions. When it became clear that in 1935 he would not fall to the north, Gorbunov moved to the Zoological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, in which he worked until 1940. In September 1934, he was awarded a Ph.D. without protection. 
In 1935,
the Main Directorate of the Northern Sea Route organized the I High-latitude expedition on the icebreaker steamer Sadko. The studies covered the northern areas of the Greenland, Barents and Kara seas and the adjacent deep-water areas. During this expedition, Gorbunov first conducted trawling on the continental slope and abyss of the Polar Basin. In total, the expedition took 65 stations in the extremely inaccessible areas of the Arctic. In 1936, Gorbunov participated in the Second High-latitude expedition to the "Sadko".

 

Gorbunov and Vladimir Samoylovich in the collection of benthos. "Sadko". 1936


Next III High-latitude expedition to Sadko in 1937–1938 was the last in his life. The main works were carried out in the Laptev Sea, the East Siberian Sea, on the Novosibirsk shallow water and on the continental slope to the north of the Novosibirsk islands. By the end of navigation in 1937, "Sadko" together with the courts "G.Sedov” and “Malygin” found themselves in ice captivity, but the work was continued during the drift in the most difficult conditions of the polar night. 
The results of the expeditions of 1935 and 1937–1938. Gorbunov summarized in the work “The Bottom Population of the Novosibirsk Shallow Water and the Central Part of the Arctic Ocean”, published posthumously in 1946. Without references to this fundamental monograph on the benthos of the shelf of the high-latitude Arctic and the bathy and abyssal depths of the Arctic basin, no self-respecting explorer of the Arctic bottom fauna can do. 
In September 1940, Gorbunov was dismissed from the Zoological Institute. One of the reasons for the dismissal was his close relationship with the "enemies of the people".The elder brother Nikolay was arrested and shot, the younger Alexander was in the camps; his other relatives and friends turned out to be repressed. The immediate reason for the dismissal was an article by Gorbunov in the wall newspaper of the Zoological Institute, in which he allowed himself to sharply criticize the leadership of the hydrobiological department for his unsatisfactory attitude to scientific collections. 
Gorbunov went to work at Arctic Research Institute as a senior hydrobiologist, where he soon became head of a small hydrobiological laboratory. On June 16, 1941, he was appointed senior hydrobiologist of the IV High-latitude expedition to the Sadko in the northern part of the Laptev Sea, but the plans were thwarted by the war. 
The terrible winter of 1941-1942  Gorbunov spent in besieged Leningrad. In February 1942, he was evacuated from the city along with the institute, but died on the way to Vologda. 
Islands south of the Wilczek Island in the archipelago of Franz Josef Land. In the 1950s, named  by Soviet cartographers.

 

Return to the main page