Mineev Aref Ivanovich
explorer, organizer of sea and land arctic expeditions.
Born in the village of Nikolaevka, Saratov Province. His
childhood and youth were spent in the city of Kokand, where the
family moved to escape hunger. At the age of 13 he was sent to the
office boys, and then entered the factory as an apprentice turner. In
December 1917 Mineev joined the Red Guard detachment, became a
member of the
Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks),
and was seriously wounded in battles with
the Basmachis. After
recovery, he worked as secretary of the Kokand city party committee,
a member of the Cheka collegium on counter-revolution.
In January 1920 Mineev was sent to Moscow for a six-month course
named after Y. Sverdlov, after which he voluntarily retired to the
First Cavalry Army as an investigator for a special department. After
the end of the war he worked again in the party organs.
In December 1922 Mineev entered the Sverdlov University, but he
failed to finish his studies. He
worked in party positions in Izhevsk, Derbent, Khabarovsk.
By the 1930s Mineev had taken shape as a prominent party worker
and received a new, most important task of the party — he became the
Wrangel Island. The
development of this island was of great political importance. Despite
the obvious identity of the island of Russia, declared in 1916, the
United Kingdom and Canada tried to seize it for use as a military
and industrial base. In
1924 foreigners were expelled from the island, the Soviet flag was
hoisted on it, and in 1926 a polar station and a trade settlement
were organized. The
first chief of the island was G.A. Ushakov.
Mineev was not in the Arctic and had no experience in economic
work; nevertheless, fulfilling the party’s task, he accepted the
August 28, 1929 ice cutter "F. Litke”delivered
him and 6 more winterers, who included Mineev’s wife, to Wrangel
Island and already on September 6, having taken off Ushakov’s group,
left the island.
Two years passed in hard work and care. The
ship with fuel and food, planned for 1931, could not get to the
island because of the heavy ice conditions and was crushed by ice.
In 1932 the island was also blocked by ice. A
difficult situation was created: coal was completely consumed, the
nearest fin stocks, too, very few products remained. Most
of the employees took the planes to the mainland, but Mineev did not
consider it possible to leave to the mercy of local residents and
stayed for the fourth wintering. Despite
the difficult situation, all planned scientific observations
In connection with the death of “Chelyuskin”, which in 1933 was
supposed to deliver food, fuel and a new shift of wintering workers
to the island, the fifth wintering became inevitable. Only
on August 21, 1934 the icebreaker Krasin approached the island, and
the five-year epic of Mineev on Wrangel
is over. During
this time, regular scientific observations were made, knowledge
about the nature of the island was replenished, large geological
collections were collected, and information was obtained that made
it possible to compile the first reliable map of the island. Recognition
of Mineev was the awarding of his Order of
the Red Banner of Labor. It
was already the most experienced polar explorer, a mature
collected materials allowed him to write a number of articles about
the island and the book “Five years on Wrangel Island”. In
1946 the capital work of Mineev “Wrangel Island” was released.
In 1936 Mineev was appointed director of the Leningrad Institute
of the Peoples of the North.
After the end of the NP-1 drift preparations began for the
organization of a second drifting station, which was planned to land
north-east of Wrangel
near the Pole of relative inaccessibility. Mineev
was scheduled by the station head, but these plans did not come
Glavsevmorputi I.D. Papanin counted,
the main attention should be paid to drifting in the ice "G. Sedov”,
which essentially became a drifting polar station. Later
the war intervened in the plans.
In 1939 Mineev was included in the management of offshore
operations in the Arctic. During
the Great Patriotic War, he worked as an assistant to I.D. Papanin,
authorized by the State Defense Committee for Transportation in the
successful fulfillment of government assignments during the war
years, Mineev was awarded the Order
After 1946 at the insistence of doctors, Mineev completes work
directly in the Arctic. He
becomes director of the Moscow branch of the Arctic Institute, then
deputy chairman of the Technical Council of Glavsevmorput. Until
1957 prior to entering personal retirement
he worked at the
Institute of Oceanology, Deputy Director for Research of the Arctic
Institute, in 1954 he defended his thesis.
he lectured on the economic geography of the Soviet and overseas
North, and only in 1960 was he forced to finally give up his work. The
hardest arctic winterings made themselves felt.
the south of Wrangel Island. The
name was given in 1940 by geologist L.V. Gromov.