Zhokhov Alexey Nikolaevich
member of the Arctic Ocean hydrographic expedition.
Born in St. Petersburg in a family that belonged to a poor old
noble family, whose roots go back to the time of the Kulikovo
great-grandfather was the famous admiral of the Far East researcher
Uncle Admiral Zhokhov.
After graduating from the gymnasium and the Naval Cadet Corps in
St. Petersburg, Zhokhov served on various warships for several
years, but his soul did not lie in the military commander service. He
was more attracted to research. Therefore,
in 1912, Zhokhov gladly accepted an appointment for the icebreaker
Taimyr, which was part of the
Arctic Ocean Hydrographic Expedition, for the
vacant hydrograph post that appeared after he went on vacation to
Lieutenant G.L. Brusilov.
In 1912, the expedition conducted a sea inventory of the coast of
Siberia from Kolyma to Lena, as well as the Bear Islands and parts
of the Novosibirsk Islands. Zhokhov
was engaged in the compilation of nautical charts and the collection
of materials on the nature of the Arctic seas under a broad
integrated program. Moreover,
being a passionate hunter, he did not miss an opportunity to get
fresh meat for the team.
In late October, the polar explorers returned to Vladivostok, the
results of the voyage of 1912 were considered successful, but the
calm was not successful. The
cold winter of 1912 - 1913 threatened
to disrupt navigation, therefore, "Taimyr" and "Vaigach" were used
for icebreaking work in Vladivostok. Most
of the commanding staff was released on leave, and the entire burden
fell on the remaining officers, among whom was Zhokhov.
After the elimination of serious damage resulting from winter ice
work, in July 1913, the expedition began its fourth trip to the
commander of "Taimyr" became
As you know, the voyage of 1913 was marked by several
geographical discoveries. And
the first of them is directly related to Zhokhov. On
August 20, he was the first to see the island, later named Vilkitsky
Island in honor of
the just-dead Chief of the Hydrographic Directorate.
Zhokhov was not limited to his direct duties as a hydrograph,
taking part in various types of research. For
example, together with Vilkitsky, he conducted magnetic observations
on Transfiguration Island. The islands
of Small Taimyr and Starokadomsky, Severnaya Zemlya archipelago, were
discovered on this
September 4, Zhokhov was among those who first entered the newly
discovered archipelago, and took part in raising the Russian
national flag on it.
After mapping the 180 miles of the eastern shore of the
archipelago, the expedition turned back. On
the way back, Zhokhov, together with L.M. Starokadomsky and
a group of sailors found
'scollections on the island
of Bennett, and
delivered them to the "Taimyr".
In the winter of 1913 - 1914 Zhokhov
undertook an internship at the Aerological Observatory in Pavlovsk
to study the methodology of upper-air studies, which were supposed
to be widely deployed in the next voyage.
In the voyage of 1914, he went to the post of senior officer on
the "Taimyr". Assessing
the business qualities of Zhokhov, the expedition leader made him
his closest assistant. However,
he was destined to remain in this position for a short time. The
fault of the watch service, which allowed the twisting of the anchor
ropes, delayed the “Taimyr” exit from Nome in Alaska for a day. Responsibility
for this fell on Zhokhov, in charge of which was the whole deck
an incident in the fleet, and even in the conditions of the outbreak
of war, was a very serious offense. After
him, Zhokhov’s relations with the commander deteriorated and,
apparently, so much so that their joint work became impossible. Vilkitsky
decided to replace the senior officer with a calmer person, and
Zhokhov was transferred to "Vaigach".
On August 27, Zhokhov, being the watch officer on the Vaigach,
noticed one more previously unknown small island north of Vilkitsky
Island in the De Long Islands. The
ship managed to get through the ice to it, and the party that had
come ashore, which was Zhokhov, hoisted the Russian national flag on
island was named after the commander of "Vaigach" P.A. Novopashenniy
In September 1914, the sailors of the "Vaigach" mapped the southern
coast of Severnaya Zemlya, and then, through heavy ice, made their
way to Taimyr near the
Oscar peninsula. Under
the leadership of Zhokhov, the sailors carried out an eye survey of
20 km of the coast and managed to return to the ship. Soon
the southerly winds carried the "Vaigach" away from the coast.
At the end of September, the ships embarked on a forced wintering
at a distance of 30 km from each other. This
was the test for which sailors had been preparing since 1910. Everything
was done on both vessels so that the wintering was successful. It
was found the same power for the sailors, and for the commanding
eliminated one of the main adverse factors that killed many of the
expedition - idleness. Conducted
active scientific observations, preparing for the next navigation. In
addition, Vilkitsky ordered to organize for the sailors special
courses on the study of mathematics, geography, history, foreign
languages and many other subjects. Daily
walks in the fresh air were obligatory, sports competitions were
organized, football was especially popular. Wireless
communication through the ship of O.
wintering 275 km to the west, maintained regular communication with
Petrograd, it was possible to exchange telegrams with relatives. The
condition of the winterers was good, except for Zhokhov alone. Wintering
acted on him oppressively. The
role played a number of factors. Here,
the features of his unbalanced nature, the incident with the
transfer from "Taimyr", the joyful news from home also affected. Zhokhov
loved his cousin, the daughter of Admiral Zhokhov Nina. Both
those parents and others treated this negatively. For
a while, he invigorated, but gradually the blues took their toll. He
did not have the spiritual hardness to overcome it. Signs
of depression showed up in October, at the very beginning of
was then that he wrote a very beautiful, tragically sad, in fact,
visionary, farewell poem to his bride.
Under a block of ice cold Taimyr,
Where the barking gloomy scared fox
Only one speaks of the dull life of the world,
Will find peace tortured singer.
Do not throw gold beam of morning Aurora
On lyre sensitive forgotten singer -
The grave is deep as the abyss of the Tuscarora,
As a lovely woman's favorite eyes.
When he could pray to them again,
Looking at them even from afar
Death itself would not be so severe
And the grave would not have seemed deep.
According to the testimony of
“Zhokhov was generally
distinguished by many oddities”, but he showed obvious signs of
nervous disorder after the transition from “Taimyr”. He
began to communicate less with his comrades, he was sick of food at
the ship, from the first days of January he almost stopped eating,
spent almost all his days in the cabin, and since the end of January
he came down completely and refused to be treated. According
to the testimony of a member of the expedition V.G. Mizin
Zhokhov refused medical care because of a bad relationship with
February 27, a message was received at Taimyr: “Lieutenant Zhokhov
is seriously ill. Heart
weakness, acute nephritis, swelling of both lungs ...".
consultations, the doctor "Taimyr" L.M. Starokadomsky,
but the help was not needed. On
February 28, a telegram arrived: "At 11 o'clock in the morning,
Lieutenant Zhokhov died from uremia".
Funeral A.N. Zhokhov
the archive of N.I. Evgenov)
Burial of Zhokhov
On March 9, in the presence of all members of the expedition free
from watches, Zhokhov was buried on a high steep cape
of the Dik Bay on the
northern coast of Taimyr. A
wooden cross of a fin was placed on the grave, on which they fixed
the icon of Christ and the copper plate, with the poem Zhokhov
carved on it, enclosed it with anchor chains hanging on four metal
pillars and decorated with artificial flowers made of thin copper
Nina Zhokhova remained faithful to his memory and never married.
A month later, near the lieutenant’s grave, the grave of the
stoker “Vaigach” - Ivan Yefimovich Ladonichev, who died of
peritonitis at the age of 26, appeared.
On the anniversary of the death of Zhokhov in the Cathedral of
St. Spyridonia in the Main Admiralty, a mass was served and a
memorial service for the deceased.
Years passed, the sea washed away the coastal slope and the
graves were on the edge of death, the distance from them to the edge
of the cliff was only nine meters.
In the year of the 300th anniversary of the Russian fleet, the
Association of Polar Captains initiated the organization of an
expedition to transfer the graves of Zhokhov and Ladonichev to the
depths of the peninsula.
The expedition headed by Dmitry Badyukov, Candidate of Geological
and Mineralogical Sciences, included employees of the Institute of
Cultural and Natural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture of the
Russian Federation, Russian Academy of Sciences, marine hydrographs
of the 30th Northern Hydrographic Expedition of the Northern
Fleet. Zhokhov’s nephew
Alexei Dmitrievich Zhokhov, an employee of the
State Oceanographic Institute, formerly a graduate of the
hydrographic faculty of the Leningrad Higher Marine Engineering
College named after Admiral S.O.
expedition member Alexander
Pershin tells about
this historical event for all polar explorers.
“To accomplish the rite of reburial, consecration of the cemetery
and gravestones according to the canons of the Russian Orthodox
Church with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All
Russia Alexy II, the Synodal Department of the Patriarchate for
cooperation with the Armed Forces sent the Bezhetsk District Dean of
the Bezhetsk District of the Diocese of Priest Alexander Svittsev to
unlock the server in order to change the order. once sailing on
ships under the escort of the first atomic icebreaker "Lenin" in the
Arctic seas. Father
Alexander took with him on the expedition wooden gravestone crosses,
made by the parishioners of the Church of the Savior, not made by
hands (Bezhetsk), of which he is the abbot".
On August 13, 1996, an expedition consisting of 12 people went to
sea on the atomic icebreaker "Taimyr". The
path of the icebreaker lay to the west coast of Taimyr in the
All four days of sailing to the landing site at Cape Mogilny were
spent in training camps. Packed
products, of which it was taken for two months, taking into account
the emergency reserve. Fitted
with warm clothes, checked fur sleeping bags and entrenching tools. Not
forgotten were the boards, gasoline and solar. Aircraft
technicians prepared to fly the deck helicopter Mi-2.
On the evening of August 17, an icebreaker entered the ice-filled
Toll Bay, five miles to the east in the rays of the never-setting
low sun, the chenille blue steep shores of Cape Mogilny ...
A few minutes later a helicopter driven by class 1 pilot Oleg
Varnavsky was already in the air. The
first flight was an exploration - a place was chosen for the
installation of the camp (proximity of the graves, water, landing
hilly tundra in the area of the cape was covered with fresh snow,
which covered the recently blossoming polar poppies with a lush
In the next three hours later, the helicopter made 12 more
flights, carrying 4.5 tons of cargo and all the participants of the
spent on the deployment of the camp, the installation of tents and
radio antennas, harvesting fin and recreation.
On August 19, the detachment set to work: the graves and crosses
were measured, an astronomical center was found, a fallen pole with
a sign of the Taimyr hydrographic expedition of 1932, conducted on
the same icebreaker - Taimyr (the Taimyr hydrographic expedition of
1932 was headed by co-sailor A. Zhokhov on the "Taimyr" in
800 meters to the south of the graves a place was chosen for a
new burial, which was located at the very end of the cape and was
very flat. The
processes of destruction here have long been completed and, on the
contrary, there was a process of accumulation of material
transported from the north from the destroyed coast of the cape. This
was confirmed by the Ladonichev sand spit, which went from the edge
of the cape into the bay by a wide crescent strip.
After the solemn liturgy conducted by Father Alexander on the
graves, the detachment proceeded to excavate them. The
layer of thawing earth was only 25 cm, and then there was
clay mixed with ice lenses did not respond well to penetration. In
just a few hours it was only about a meter deep. Already
late in the evening, when the low, dull sun had sunk to the horizon,
the ax, welded to the scrap, struck the coffin of the stoker I.Ye. Ladonicheva. At
this work decided to stop until the next morning.
On August 20, in the morning, or rather in the afternoon, the
work plan was changed. After
a short “gauging” at the excavation site, they decided to
simultaneously dig up one old grave and dig a new one, since the day
before both of the excavated graves were filled with a dirty, thawed
mass of water and clay.
After covering the future burial site, the detachment was divided
into two groups. Five
people dug up the coffin of the stoker, while the other five began
to dig a new grave under the mournful cries of gulls that
frantically hovering over the edge of the cape and the scythe. Father
Alexander and A.D. Zhokhov
was on duty in the camp, keeping in touch with the groups with the
help of a radio station.
After thirteen hours of hard work, the work at the new place was
grave was literally knocked out with broken pieces in the frozen
dug it up, the group under the direction of the deputy head of the
expedition, Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences Alexei
Radovich Kotelnikov, rushed to the aid of his comrades who worked on
the fireman’s grave.
Already late at night, with the help of two huge vagas, three
wedges and ten human forces, the coffin of I.E. Ladonicheva
was cut off from the frozen ground and pulled out of the grave.
The next day, the sleigh was made of iron sheet, which was
prudently brought from the icebreaker. The
main “foreman” of the expedition, Captain 2nd Rank Vladimir
Ivanovich Mamin, who had 28 field seasons in the Arctic, tied a
“harness” for ten people from a kapron file. After
the solemn prayer, the members of the expedition, putting the coffin
on the improvised sleigh, “harnessed” to them.
Exactly one hour lasted the transition to a new burial site. The
day was sunny and even seemed to be hot, although the thermometer
showed only 11 ° C. During
this time, two hills and a large depression between them were
the fast-running stream, the coffin was washed off, so the brass
cross made by the sailors of the Vaigach from a thin copper plate
played brightly in the sun.
At the new grave, the coffin lid, deformed during excavations,
was removed. Ivan
Efimovich Ladonichev lay in a coffin filled with ice, as if in a
crystal sarcophagus ... Through the clear ice he looked through the
shroud with which he was covered. After
the burial service of the deceased (in 1915 there was no priest
aboard the Vaigach and Taimyr), the coffin was lowered into the
grave and a few minutes later an eight-pointed Orthodox cross was
placed above it.
The gun salute commemorated the Russian sailor Ivan Yefimovich
Ladonichev, who found his last peace 81 years ago.
Over the next two days, the reburial procedure was repeated. One
group dug a new grave, the other worked on the old one. And
also late at night the coffin with the body of Lieutenant A.N. Zhokhova
was taken out of the grave. The
guys who worked on the old grave had to work much more, since the
grave was almost filled to the brim with a liquid dirty mass from
the melted excavated soil on August 19th. Dirt
scooped buckets and a large bowl. Crooked
in crampedness, the permafrost under the bottom of the coffin was
cut off with axes. A
heavy larch cross, even when it was installed in 1915, crushed the
oak coffin and, taken out of the grave, the coffin was flattened,
but the copper cross was not touched.
On August 23, after the prayer, members of the expedition, having
harnessed themselves in a sleigh, transported the coffin with the
body of AN. Zhokhov,
repeating the same path as two days ago. The
funeral procession was reminiscent of barge haulers, dragging barge
along the Volga in ancient times.
Surely, little Alexey at the end of the 19th century saw in his
native Kostroma real barge haulers walking along the shores of the
great Russian river with a song.
This time there were no songs, but there was a prayer. At
the head of the funeral procession was Father Alexander, with a
censer in his hands and a prayer on his lips. At
the site of the new burial, it was decided to repair the coffin lid. To
this end, it was taken down with great caution and trembling,
opening the coffin ...
Thirty-year-old lieutenant of the Russian Imperial Fleet, Alexey
Nikolaevich Zhokhov, was lying in his coffin in a parade uniform
embroidered with gold with his arms crossed over his chest. On
the left cuff of a white shirt, a mother-of-pearl cufflink in silver
glittered brightly in the rays of the midday sun. Four
days after the opening of the grave, the ice inside the coffin
melted and A.N. Zhokhov,
the way his friends and officers of the Vaigach and Taimyr spent his
Covering the dead man with a large St. Andrew’s flag, Father
Alexander served a memorial service for Alexei, after which the
coffin was lowered into the grave to the sounds of a rifle and rifle
a quarter of an hour, the second pine cross stood next to the cross
on the grave of I.E. Ladonichev.
Here, near the graves in a small lowland near the fire, members
of the expedition commemorated the Russian pioneering sailors.
The next two days were stormy with hurricane winds, reaching 30 m
/ s. The
detachment was engaged in strengthening the tents, collecting the
fin, and most importantly fighting the cold, continuously sinking
stoves in the tents. But
the heat kept weak, because through the cracks it was quickly blown
the second day in the evening the wind subsided ...
August 26–27 was spent on beautification of graves. Tombstones
filled with soil were made of thick planks delivered by helicopter. They
were laid turf with moss and delicate polar flowers (forget-me-nots,
of the fence were transferred from old graves and re-installed on
new metal racks. Two
small Admiralty anchors donated by the Taimyr sailors decorated the
graves. V.I. Mamin
bumped into the crosses new icons brought by Alexei Zhokhov, as well
as signs from old crosses. At
the head of the graves was installed a mast on the braces of the
kapron halyard. At
the base of it, a meter-long Gury was folded into which they
inserted a bottle with a note stating that the graves had been
transferred by those and then-and-such, and also indicated a request
to keep them in order.
After finishing accomplishment, Father Alexander conducted a
service completing the reburial ritual. The
expedition leader, Dmitry Badiukov, raised a St. Andrew's flag,
which was left there, at a solemn salute.
Alexey Dmitrievich Zhokhov was the last to leave the graves,
there were tears in his eyes, the deed was done - the graves were
On the gravestone AN Zhokhova
is the same as 81 years ago there was a brass plate with his dying
poems ... ".
Zhokhov Island. 2014
(photo E. Bruy)
Island Zhokhov. Abandoned
polar station. 2011
(photo by N. M. Stolbov)
Island Zhokhov. On
the horizon "Mikhail Somov". 2012
(photo by N. M. Stolbov)
An island in
the De Long Islands group.
The Arctic Ocean Hydrographic Expedition opened on August 27, 1914
and named the island Novopashenny after the commander of the "Vaigach"
icebreaker P.A. Novopashenny
January 1926, by a decree of the Central Election Commission of the
USSR, the island was renamed in honor of Zhokhov, who was the first
to see this island.
the Taimyr near the shore of Dick Bay.