Melekhov Afanasy Pavlovich 
(1898–16.06.1942) 
 

Outstanding Soviet ice captain. 
Born near Arkhangelsk at Isakogork station in the family of a narrow-gauge railway worker. Since childhood, which has passed in the lap of nature, he was distinguished by reticence, earnestness, perseverance, and loyalty to this word. 
During the life of his father, Melekhov went to work at a local sawmill as a planner of boards, and at 16, after his father’s death, the rest of a family of eight people fell on his shoulders. He entered as a cleaner on an English steamer wintering in Arkhangelsk, and in the spring he made his first flight to Hull. His fate was predetermined - Melekhov forever connected his life with the sea. He served as a sailor on the steamships "Nonni", "Kursk", "Sishan", the helmsman on the ship "Erivan". 
By the beginning of the civil war  Melekhov found himself in the Far East, like many others, was forcibly recruited into the White Army, fled to the partisans, participated in the Gaydava uprising against the Kolchak troops. The case ended with an arrest and a sentence of execution, which was miraculously avoided thanks to the help of a friend, the stoker of the steamer “George” the Horned, who gave false defense testimony. 
After the war, Melekhov graduated from the nautical school, received a diploma of navigator of a small voyage, as a third assistant sailed on various vessels, including the then famous Stavropol. On it in 1924 during the flight to Kolyma Melekhov got on his first wintering near the island of Shalaurov, where the “Stavropol” was caught in ice. 
In May 1925  Melekhov was sent from the wintering place to the mouth of the Kolyma. Together with the boatswain Jacobson and a group of volunteers from the local population, he repaired the American schooner "Polarber" squeezed by ice ashore. Renamed the "Polar Star", this schooner has forever entered the history of navigation in the eastern sector of the Soviet Arctic. 
Having passed the exam for the course of the marine technical school, Melekhov received a diploma of a sea captain in 1927, but only three years later, having gained experience in the positions of the third, second and senior assistant captain, he received the "Syasstroy" steamship command, followed by “Theodore Nette”,“Indigirka”, “Stalingrad”. In 1933  on the steamer "Sverdlovsk", Melekhov made his second Arctic voyage, which left a mark on the history of the development of the Northern Sea Route.With cruel northerly winds the ship pressed ice to Cape Jenretlen. Twenty miles away, the Chelyuskin was overwritten with ice, and for a month the ships involved in the drift were spinning near each other. Sverdlovsk managed to escape, he even towed the emergency ship “Lieutenant Schmidt” in tow. 
After this flight, Melekhov finally connected life with the Arctic. In 1934 he headed the second North-Kolyma Expedition, which included three vessels. In 1935 Melekhov was instructed to carry out the usual commercial vessel “Stalingrad” on the first commercial flight. In six and a half days, in record time, 175 passengers and 75 head of cattle were delivered from Vladivostok to Kolyma. A month later, making his way through the ice and fogs, where on his own, where with the help of icebreakers, the Stalingrad reached Igarka, and after another 18 days arrived in Murmansk. From Murmansk with a cargo of wood taken in Igarka, “Stalingrad” went to London, and from there came with a cargo to Leningrad. It has been proven that the Northern Sea Route is prepared for normal operation. 
In the following years, Melekhov drove the "Stalingrad" from Leningrad to Vladivostok, from Vladivostok to Murmansk, from Arkhangelsk to Tiksi and back. His name ranked with the names of outstanding Arctic captains. 
In 1939   Melekhov was appointed captain of the new icebreaking steamer "Dezhnev", in 1940 - the icebreaker "Krasin" and at the same time head of marine operations in the eastern sector of the Arctic. 
All those who knew Melekhov noted his highest human and professional qualities. As sailors used to say in jest, he could have been blindfolded from the Golden Horn to the Kolyma cats, and even farther to the West.
 Melekhov in detail knew all the features of hydrology, meteorology, currents, and shallow water along the entire route of the eastern sector. His excellent command of the Chukchi language, friendliness and benevolence have earned him the greatest respect for the local population. 
For his merits, Melekhov was awarded the Orders of the Red Banner of Labor and Lenin. In 1942 he was sent to the United States to prepare ships and cargo destined to help the USSR by the allies. A foreign ship, on which Melekhov was, was torpedoed by an enemy submarine at the entrance to one of the North American ports. Melekhov died with him. Three weeks later, his body washed ashore near Boston, where it was buried. 
In 1944  the son of M.I. Kalinin Valerian brought the urn with the dust of Melekhov. She was reburied in Moscow at the Novodevichy cemetery. 
Cape on the island of Alexandra Land archipelago Franz Josef Land. . Named by cartographers in the 1950s. 
Strait between the island of Krestovsky and the islands of Pushkarev and Leontyev in the archipelago of the Bear Islands in the East Siberian Sea. 
Named no later than 1945.

 

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