Zuev Vasily Fedorovich
(01(12).01.1754–07(18).01.1794)


Wonderful Russian traveler.
He was born, most likely, in Petersburg, his father was a soldier of the Semenov regiment. He studied at the Academic Gymnasium, in 1767 passed all exams and was awarded the prize "for good progress and diligence." Shortly after the end of the gymnasium, Zuev was enlisted in the expedition of P.S. Pallas, which lasted for 1768–1774. She conducted research in the Volga, Ural, Volga, Western Siberia, Altai, Baikal, Transbaikalia.
In 1771, Zuev made an impressive independent journey from Chelyabinsk to the lower reaches of the Ob, which lasted almost a year. On a sleigh, boat, deer, he made his way through the Polar Urals to the Kara coast. This journey, “of student Zuev during the Pallas expedition”, was later noted by P.P. Semenov-Tian-Shansky, calling him "the first traveler who crossed the Polar Urals on the way from Obdorsk to the Karsky Bay". Zuev's materials made it possible to correct many of the errors of geographical maps, but, unfortunately, they were not used by cartographers of the time. And the next trip of Zuev, in which he explored the lower reaches of the Yenisei, was also not appreciated by his contemporaries, and it was published only in 1947.
After the end of the expedition Pallas, Academy of Sciences sent Zuev abroad, where he attended lectures at the University of Leiden and Strasbourg, and on returning to Russia in 1779, he was approved by an associate of the Academy of Sciences.
During 1781–1782 Zuev led an expedition to the southern provinces of Russia "for observations and discoveries in the field of natural history." This expedition played an important role in strengthening the position of Russia on the Black Sea coast and adjacent regions of Ukraine. The results of the expedition were summarized by Zuev in the work “Traveling Notes from St. Petersburg to Kherson in 1781 and 1782”, which contained a description of Central Russia and a significant part of Right-Bank Ukraine.
In 1784, the President of the Academy of Sciences, E.R. Dashkova announced an unexpected decree: “To delete the mentioned adjunct Zuev from the academic service and to write it down in the journal to him. This will serve as an example to those young men who are kept and trained at the expense of the Academy and will turn them away from ingratitude, supposedly from the sinister vice in humanity”.  As explained in the decree, the “fault” of Zuev was that he took part in the work of the commission on the establishment of public schools “without permission from the authorities”. Most likely, the disgrace was caused by the aggravation of relations between Dashkova and Pallas, who favored Zuev.
Soon the decree was canceled, in 1787 Zuev was elected to the academicians.
He died in Petersburg only 40 years old, having lived a difficult life full of misadventures, without having received due recognition during his lifetime. The results were not easy for him: “Whoever traveled by work, and not to move from place to place, he knows what such works are worth”.
The peninsula on the coast of Taimyr near the Pallas peninsula. Named by Russian Polar expedition  in 1899-1901.

 

Return to the main page