Gorodkov Boris Nikolaevich 
(21.01.(02.02).1890–25.05.1953)


An outstanding Soviet Arctic geobotanist and geographer. 
Born in Tobolsk in the family of a teacher of history of literature in the Tobolsk Theological School. Mom died when the boy, the oldest child in the family, was 14 years old. Raising children, three sons and a daughter, completely fell on the shoulders of his father. Despite his heavy workload, he paid a lot of attention to the development of children, the formation of various interests in them, love of nature, and their native land. Boris soon became the reader of the rich library of the Tobolsk Museum, in which his father served as a curator for some time. Acquaintance with the extensive exhibits of the museum, communication with local historians, numerous excursions in the picturesque environs of Tobolsk developed an interest in geography and botany in Gorodkov. At a young age he already became acquainted with popular and scientific literature on entomology, botany, and general biology. 
Gorodkov was predicted on the scientific future of the florist, a connoisseur of vegetation in Western Siberia, but he suddenly became interested in chemistry in the 6th grade of the gymnasium, which in this educational institution was one of the most respected subjects. This was explained by the fact that the great graduate of the gymnasium of 1852 was the great D.I. Mendeleev. 
In 1908, after graduating from high school with a silver medal, Gorodkov entered the chemical department of the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of St. Petersburg University. 
Good gymnasium training, natural ability and hard work quickly allowed him to achieve success in the development of the profession, and in research activities. The academic council of the faculty unanimously decided to leave it at the university to prepare for a professorship. However, he did not become a professor of chemistry at Gorodokov; moreover, he completely left chemistry classes. He was again fascinated by botany, geography, biology. Expeditions and excursions that he made during the summer student holidays contributed to the revival of former interests. Flora studies in unexplored areas of Western Siberia attracted him so much that he did not leave them in the winter. 
Having successfully passed all the exams at the chemical department, Gorodok entered biological and within a year and a half received very thorough training in botany, plant anatomy, plant and animal physiology, and other related disciplines. However, the circumstances were such that due to participation in the expedition he was absent from botanical practice and therefore was not allowed to take the final exam. As a result, one of the most well-known geobotanists in the country could not get a diploma in biology. After graduating from the chemical department, Gorodkov acquired knowledge in biology mainly due to self-education. 
The expeditionary activity of Gorodkov began in 1910 before the completion of studies at the university and lasted almost 40 years. The development of Soviet tundra studies is associated with his name, his works were of great importance for the geographical knowledge of the northern regions of the Soviet Union, and contributed to their economic development. 
They studied in detail the West Siberian Lowland, primarily its northern regions, as well as the high mountains of the Polar Urals. For the study of 1923-1924. along the Pur River and the Ob-Pur watershed, he was awarded the All-Union Geographical Society with the NM Medal. Przewalski. 
In 1924–1926 Gorodkov studied the Northern and Polar Urals, in 1927–1928. He led a complex expedition in the Gydan tundra, and later traveled to the European North, the Taimyr Peninsula, in the lower reaches of the Lena River, to the extreme north-east, to the Novosibirsk Islands, ZFI, Severnaya Zemlya. To compare the arctic vegetation with highland he traveled in Altai, Pamir, Caucasus, Crimea and the Carpathians. 
The townships were the best expert on the vegetation cover of tundra zones and arctic deserts. He is the author of the generalized works “The Vegetation of the Tundra Zone of the USSR” and “The Vegetation of the Arctic and the Mountain Tundras of the USSR”. The first one, according to academician L.S. Berg, was "an era in the history of the study of the tundra." For a series of outstanding works on the geobotany of Siberia and the tundra zone, the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences on the proposal of the qualification commission in 1935 awarded Gorodkov a doctorate in biological sciences without defending a thesis. 
Gorodkov conducted an active teaching work. At Leningrad State University for the first time in the USSR, he taught tundra studies, at the Leningrad Pedagogical Institute.A.I. Herzen's course in physical geography, was the dean of the Faculty of Geography. For many years, Gorodkov worked in the system of the Academy of Sciences, was a member of the scientific councils of the Institute of Polar Agriculture, Livestock and Commercial Economy and the All-Union Arctic Institute. 
In 1950 he was elected an honorary member of the All-Union Botanical Society, in the All-Union Geographical Society he headed the section of biogeography and was a member of the academic council.

 

Embankment of the river Karpovka, 19. Here B.N. lived in apartment 42. Towns at the time of 1934

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the war, Gorodkov refused to leave besieged Leningrad, continuing his scientific and educational activities. Only in December 1942, his extremely emaciated and seriously ill patient was taken to hospital, and in January 1943, two weeks before the blockade was broken, they were taken by plane to Moscow. State Gorodkova recognized hopeless, the wife has already received condolences, but he managed to cope with illnesses. 
In 1944, returning to Leningrad, Gorodkov continued research and teaching, participated in a number of expeditions, including in the Arctic. In 1946, he organized an expedition to the western coast of Taimyr, making a route from Dixon to Lower Taimyr, in 1947, together with E.S. Korotkevich visited the Novosibirsk islands, the vegetation of which was then very scarce data, and in 1948 made a large-scale trip, visiting Cape Chelyuskin, Dikson Island, October Revolution, Home, Wiese, ZFI, Nordensheld, Lomonosov Bay on Taimyr. His last expedition was a trip in 1949 to the Pechora region and the environs of Salekhard to study natural changes under the influence of human activity. In the year of his 60th birthday, responding to the congratulations of academician L.S. Berg, Gorodokov wrote: “Remembering the past years, I, to my chagrin, see how little I have done ... Too much I was fond of ... I wandered more in different hard-to-reach places than I worked on the mined materials. It is possible that I could not cope with the "genome of some explorer from my ancestors, Siberians".

He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1945) and Lenin (1953). The blockade years, difficult expeditions, hard work overran the forces of Gorodkov. Since 1950, he was forced to abandon teaching activities, but he continued his scientific activities until the last days. 
He died at his dacha in Pushkin, buried at the Bolsheokhtinsky cemetery. 
Cape in the west of the island of Greeley in the archipelago of Franz Josef Land. Named by Soviet cartographers in the 1950s.

The river on Taimyr, which flows into the Gulf of Thaddeus.

 

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