Ovchinnikov Ivan Gavrilovich 
(11.01.1910-august 1942)


Soviet arctic hydrologist. Born in Ramenskoye, Moscow Region, in the family of a working weaver. His father was an active Bolshevik, subjected to repression, participated in the February and October coups. Interestingly, in his son’s autobiography, written in 1939, it is precisely the word “coup”, and not “revolution”. 
In 1925  Ovchinnikov graduated from the seven-year school at the Red Banner factory. Then followed
factory apprenticeship school at the same factory, then the Moscow Textile College and distribution in 1930 in the Alexander Cotton Trust. Until 1933  he worked in various factories of this trust, occupying posts from a technician to the head of a department. He was an active member of the Komsomol, but in 1931 he retired from Komsomol work "for passivity and non-payment of membership dues". 
In 1933  Ovchinnikov "was released from work in the textile industry for health reasons" and entered the Moscow Hydrometeorological Institute. It is a little strange, because it is for a specialty hydrometeorologist that you need excellent health. 
After graduating from the institute in 1938  Ovchinnikov as a meteorological engineer in Moscow at the Central Institute of Weather, and a year later, by order of the heads of the
General Directorate of Hydrometeorological Service and the Main Directorate of the Northern Sea Route, was transferred to Arctic Research Institute to the position of senior ice service hydrologist. He quickly became one of the leading experts on the ice regime of the Barents and Kara Seas, a great connoisseur of drifting ice, an excellent forecaster and ice scout. He was waiting for a great scientific future, but the war decided very differently. 
In November 1941  the senior hydrologist of the ice and weather service department of the ANII Ovchinnikov, together with the institute, moved to Krasnoyarsk. With the start of navigation in 1942  he participated in aviation ice reconnaissance along the Northern Sea Route and died one of the first among ice reconnaissance aircraft.This is how it is described in the book by Z.M. Kanevsky "Price forecast": 
“At the end of August 1942  I.G. Ovchinnikov flew into the next reconnaissance. At one of the intermediate bases, the aircraft preparing for takeoff was damaged by a sudden gust of wind. Ovchinnikov immediately transferred to another car: it was necessary to fly to the aid of a caravan stuck in ice. Pilot I.D. Cherepkov rose into the air, but never arrived at their destination. It was the end of August, in the Kara Sea Sheer robbed, submarines scoured. What kind of tragedy happened, they never learned about it: during the flight the aircraft’s radio was silent. It was only after the disappearance of the Cherepkov machine that the polar pilots were ordered to report their coordinates regularly. 
(It must also be added that, with rare exceptions, ice reconnaissance aircraft did not have armaments.)”.

 


It was only on April 27, 1943 that the order of the director of the Arctic Research Institute V.Kh. Buynitsky No. 63: OVCHINNIKOVA I.G. - Hydrologist of the service of ice and weather from IV. 1. this year to consider expelled from the Arctic Research Institute as missing.

Ovchinnikov's name is immortalized in St. Petersburg on a memorial plaque on the building of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute Bering Street, 3 
Cape in the south of the Greely Island  of  the Archipelago Franz-Josef Land. Named by Soviet hydrographs in the 1950s.

 

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