Rusanov Vladimir Aleksandrovich
(03(15).11.1875-1913 ?)


An outstanding Russian scientist, geographer, geologist, ethnographer, economist and polar researcher. His last expedition is one of the most famous and at the same time mysterious and tragic pages in the history of Arctic research.
Born in Orel, in the family of a merchant. Father died when his son was only 5 years old. Grew up an inquisitive boy, but, oddly enough, did not differ in academic success. For his failure, he was expelled first from the gymnasium, then from the real school. With great difficulty, using connections, they arranged for the seminary, which in 1900 he graduated from the last category.
The first acquaintance of Rusanov with the North was forced. While still a seminarian, he became interested in revolutionary activities. Becoming a volunteer at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute, Rusanov participated in student unrest, for which he was once again expelled and sent home. After a year in prison, he was exiled to Vologda Province, where he began working as a statistician. As they say, every cloud has a silver lining. Since then, all research, organizational and social activities Rusanov was associated with the Arctic. It was here that his main features happily manifested themselves: high professionalism, dedication in their work and dedication, determination, erudition and non-standard thinking. He began to study the life of the local population, the natural resources of the North, the history of its development.
After two years of exile, Rusanov began to bother about early release. He was offered to leave Russia, he went to Paris and entered the Sorbonne University, specializing in geology.
The first document characterizing Rusanov as a polar explorer was his letter of April 28, 1904, addressed to the military minister of Russia V.V. Sakharov. In this letter, in fact, a draft of a large-scale Arctic event for the development of the polar spaces of Russia was set forth. At the core of this project was a proposal to begin the preparation of a scientific survey of the Northern Sea Route for the transfer of the Baltic Naval Squadron on it. The need for this was determined by the plight of the Russian army on the battlefields of the Russian-Japanese war. Now, of course, it is obvious that Rusanov’s proposal was somewhat late for solving this specific task. Achieving the required degree of development of the Northern Sea Route required much more time, which simply did not exist. Nevertheless, apart from the time frame, it is impossible not to acknowledge Rusanov’s deepest understanding of the problem, the scope of all its scientific and organizational nuances, the specificity of the proposed activities. In essence, all the main proposals of Rusanov were implemented in the following years. This includes the organization of a network of polar stations, the use of various types of communications, and the organization of a hydrometeorological service system. The ideas about the laws of the general ice drift in the Arctic basin, developed by Rusanov, are especially valuable. Based on the data on the drift of the wreckage of D. De-Long "Jeannette", the drift "Fram" Rusanov concluded that the Arctic ice is constantly moving in a constant and definite direction, describing a huge arc from the shores of Siberia, through the pole area and to Greenland . The reason for the drift is the movement of water masses, sea currents. He said this at a time when most researchers, such as those recognized as Yu.M. Shokalsky, A.I. Varnek, believed that the dominant drift is determined by the constantly blowing winds. Even F. Nansen at that time did not have an established opinion on this matter. Unfortunately, Rusanov’s letter to Sakharov was not published in the year he wrote it.
The program outlined by Rusanov in this letter was also the program of his own life. Analyzing all his subsequent activities, one can say that he was always preparing to sail along the Northern Sea Route. This training was carried out constantly. Along with geological research, it was the second and, most likely, the main purpose of his trips to the North. The testing ground for Rusanov was Novaya Zemlya, on which he conducted a total of six expeditions.
The first trip took place in 1907 after Rusanov graduated from the University of Paris. Partly on shabby karbas, partly on foot, he passed Matochkin Shar from west to east and back. Observing the movements of glaciers, Rusanov made a conclusion about the general retreat of the New Earth glaciers.
In 1908, he participated as a biologist in a French expedition on the ship "Jacques Cartier" and crossed the northern island at 74°N from the east coast from the Bay of Unknown to the west side to the Krestovaya Bay and back. On the basis of the rich field material collected, he made important conclusions about the geological history of the development of Novaya Zemlya. In subsequent trips, preparations for the planned transition along the Northern Sea Route began to emerge more clearly. The elements of this preparation were both foot crossings, and going out to sea and attempts to sail over all long distances.
In 1909, Rusanov carried out the third visit to Novaya Zemlya as part of the government Russian expedition. The prominent role in the organization and equipment of this expedition was played by the governor of Arkhangelsk I.V. Sosnovsky, an ardent champion of the colonization by the Russians of the northern island of Novaya Zemlya, in whose territory the Norwegians were increasingly predatory. The Arkhangelsk authorities entrusted Rusanov with the development of the plan for the expedition and all the preparations for it, however, they appointed Yu.V. Cramer. He could not occupy this position politically unreliable person. In addition to Rusanov and Kramer, the expedition included a botanist and a preparator K.A. Lorenz and amateur photographer A.A. Bykov (the islands in the North Sulmenev Bay) were named after them, as well as the official of special assignments under Governor P.A. Galakhov (islands named after Mashigin were named after him and mountain).
The expedition set off from Arkhangelsk on the ship “Olga”, which brought her to the Cross Bay. In Matochkin Shar, Nenets guides Sanko and Ilya Vylka joined the expedition. Rusanov repeated the crossing of the northern island, and also, on a small boat, walked along with the inventory along the western coast a considerable distance from Krestovaya Bay to the Admiralty Peninsula.
In 1910, also on the initiative of I.V. Sosnovsky organized an expedition on the sailing-motorized vessel “Dmitry Solunsky”, donated by the Arkhangelsk fishery producer D.N. Maslennikov (cape and glacier on the south coast of the Bay Nordenskiöld). In this fourth voyage to Novaya Zemlya, Rusanov went as a commander. The captain of the vessel was GI. Pospelov . The expedition also included mining engineer M. M. Kruglovsky (a cape in Mashigina Bay and a mountain on the shore of Russkaya Gavan Bay was named after him), zoologist S.S. Ivanov, preparator S.S. Chetyrkin, navigator V.E. Remizov.
Rusanov sailed to Novaya Zemlya for the fourth time at the head of the expedition on the sailing-motorized vessel “Dmitry Solunsky”. The expedition faced a difficult and honorable task: to reach the northernmost point of Novaya Zemlya - Cape Zhelaniya. Previously, only V. Barents managed to do it in 1596, Savva Loshkin in 1760 and E. Johannesen in 1870. Obviously, Rusanov’s goal-oriented transition from the role of a ground geologist to the role of a polar navigator and hydrograph, i.e. his systematic acquisition of the skills needed in a long arctic campaign. On August 28, the Cape of Desire was successfully reached, but Rusanov decided to use this voyage to study the ice situation and test the vessel. Maneuvering between the ice fields, he retired as much as half a degree from the coast, completed a hydrological station at a depth of 360 m. It was a good preparation for a distant campaign, about which Rusanov never stopped thinking.
In 1911, for the fifth time Rusanov sailed to Novaya Zemlya on the sailing-motor boat "Polarnaya", circled the southern island, made a number of topographical and hydrographic observations.
By 1912, he acquired the necessary practical skills to implement his ideas expressed in 1904. It remained to choose the time and find the necessary material means to organize a campaign to the east. Such a case, in the opinion of Rusanov, presented himself in 1912. The government, given the successful completion of the expedition to the “Dmitry of Solunskiy” and its European fame (Rusanov was awarded the highest scientific award of France - “academic palm trees”), appointed Rusanov as the head of the expedition to Spitsbergen to explore coal deposits and prepare them for exploitation . Having become the head of an independent expedition, Rusanov decided to use it to implement his long-standing plan, considering the survey of Spitsbergen as the initial part of the expedition, and the archipelago as the starting point of trans-arctic navigation. He did not hide his intentions and wrote about them to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In Norway, the Hercules Cooter was purchased - a vessel adapted for navigation in the Arctic; a team was carefully selected, each participant of which was warned about possible wintering in the Arctic ice. Apparently, only R.L. Samoilovich and zoologist Z.F. Svatosh, who were supposed to go to the mainland after finishing work on Svalbard. The remaining team consisted of 11 people, including Rusanov and his bride, a geologist and a doctor, Frenchwoman Juliette Jean. The captain of the vessel was A.S. Kuchin.
Finishing work on Svalbard and sending Samoylovich, Svatosh and sailor Popov, Rusanov went to Novaya Zemlya. Here in the camp in the Pomeranian Lip he left a note dated August 18 (Art. Style), which turned out to be the latest news from the expedition that disappeared then. It followed from the note that the expedition from Novaya Zemlya would go to the east, and if the ship died, they would go to the islands of Solitude, Novosibirsk and Wrangel, which were nearest. Food reserves for the year.
The search for the expedition was not crowned with success. Only in 1934, on one of the islands in Mona Islands (Hercules Island) a pillar with the inscription "Hercules" and broken sleds was found. Somewhat later, on another island in the eastern part of the skerries of Minin (Popov-Chukhchin island), almost near the mainland coast, several items were found that undoubtedly belonged to the members of the Rusanov expedition. These were the only confirmed traces of the missing expedition. Subsequently, various reports of finding traces of the Rusanov group remained, there was even an opinion that they had visited the not-yet-discovered Northern Land, but for various reasons it was not possible to confirm all this.
The tragic death of Rusanov in the heyday of physical and spiritual forces did not allow him to fully reveal his enormous creative potential. But even on the basis of what he was able to do, it can be said without exaggeration: according to the breadth of his views, the scope and depth of elaboration of information, the plans and plans of Rusanov can be put on a par with such outstanding Arctic researchers as N.A. - E. Nordenskiöld, F. Nansen, F.P. Wrangel, E.V. Toll.
In the town of Pechora, Rusanov is a monument. On the granite pedestal Rusanov, accompanied by a local resident in the boat. Caption: “Researcher of the Pechora Territory V.A. Rusanov. In 1984, the house-museum of V.A. Rusanov was opened in Orel.
On Popov-Chukchin Island in Minin's skerries in 1957, a geodesic sign was made - a wooden cross with the inscription: “In memory of the expedition of geologist V. A. Rusanov of 1913”. In the second half of the 1970s, the expedition of Komsomolskaya Pravda on the islands of Hercules and Popova-Chukhchina, as well as on the Mikhailov Peninsula on the bank of Khariton Laptev, where objects belonging to the Rusanov expedition were found, erected with the inscriptions: “To the polar explorer V.А. Rusanov, captain A.S. Chukchin , the crew of the ship "Hercules". Descendants remember”.  
The peninsula on the southern coast of the southern island of Novaya Zemlya and the bay in the west of this peninsula. Apparently named in 1927 as the 14th expedition of the Floating Marine Scientific Institute on the Perseus expedition ship.
A valley overlooking the base of the Bay of Nesnaimy, and a mountain on the north shore of this bay. Rusanov in 1908 passed through this valley while crossing the northern island from west to east. The names are given by the Novaya Zemlya expedition of the Academy of Sciences in 1925.
Cape in the east of the island of Nansen archipelago Franz Josef Land. Named by Soviet cartographers in the 1950s.
Cape on the island of Kolosovs in the skins of Minin. In 1957  named by the Soviet hydrograph V.A. Troitsky.
Cape on the south coast of Is Fjord on the island of Western Spitsbergen.

Glacier in the north of the island of the October Revolution of the archipelago Severnaya Zemlya. In the early 1950s, named by Soviet geologist.
Mountain and river (Rusanovka) in the north-east of the Bolshevik Island of the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago.
Bay on the east coast of the northern island of Novaya Zemlya. Opened by Rusanov and called him "Shurik" in honor of his son. On September 2, 1925, the Soviet expedition of the Institute for the Study of the North on the sailing-motor vessel "Elding" under the leadership of R.L. Samoylovich gave the present name.
Strait between the peninsula Rusanov and the island of Bogoslovskiy. The name appeared in the 1930s by analogy with the name of the peninsula.

Lake on the Taimyr Peninsula. Named, apparently, by Arctic geologists.

 

Return to the main page