Mineev Aref Ivanovich 
(06.11.1900–28.08.1973)


Polar 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 head of 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 offer unconditionally. 
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 continued. 
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 Island 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 researcher. The 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 Шыдфтв near the Pole of relative inaccessibility. Mineev was scheduled by the station head, but these plans did not come true. Head 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 North. For successful fulfillment of government assignments during the war years, Mineev was awarded the Order of Lenin. 
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.
After 1957  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. 
Mountains in the south of Wrangel Island. The name was given in 1940 by geologist L.V. 
Gromov.

 

Return to the main page