Samoilovich Rudolf Lazarevich 
(01(13).09.1881–04.03.1939)


An outstanding Soviet explorer of the Arctic, teacher, professor. 
He was born in Azov to a rich family of the head of a Russian-Greek company that exported bread abroad. From early childhood, faced with the sailors, was jealous of their way of life. 
After graduating from high school in Mariupol, the young Samoilovich chose the profession of a miner geologist and went to study in Germany, to the famous Freiburg Royal Mining Academy. In Germany, Samoylovich became involved in revolutionary activities, and, returning to Russia, became one of the most active underground workers in Rostov. He was arrested, knew the prison, the exile, the escape and return to the underground work, the new arrest and deportation to Pinega of the Arkhangelsk province. Here he meets with V.A. Rusanov, an acquaintance with whom turned him from a "northerner by force" into a "northerner for the rest of his life." Here in Pinega Samoilovich began to work in his specialty. He began to study the geology of the Pinega region. In the same period, his first scientific work was published on the gypsum caves on Pinega. 
In 1912, Samoilovich together with Rusanov went to Spitsbergen, where they delivered the first applications for coal deposits. In 1913 he exported the first Russian polar coal. 
1915–1916 Samoilovich spent in Karelia, where he found rich deposits of feldspar and muscovite. After the revolution, he continued to study and master the riches of the Far North. In 1920, Samoylovich led the Northern Scientific and Commercial Expedition, which included dozens of field parties and hundreds of researchers. After a few years, it grew into the Institute for the Study of the North - the modern Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St. Petersburg. Thus, Samoylovich was its founder and first director until 1938 (with a break in 1930–1932). 
In the 1920s, Samoylovich concentrated his geological activity on Novaya Zemlya, where in the period 1921–1927. He conducted five expeditions. These works provided a thorough geographical and geological study of the archipelago and to a large extent contributed to its preservation within Russia. 
World-wide fame was brought to Samoylovich by the leadership of the historical flight of the Krasin icebreaker in 1928 to rescue U. Nobile's expedition on the airship “Italia”. The successful completion of this voyage greatly enhanced the prestige of the Soviet Union in the international arena. 
Samoylovich was awarded the newly established Order of the Red Banner of Labor.

 

Expedition leader R.L. Samoilovich and the captain of "Krasin" K.P. Eggy

(photo from the archives of the museum "Icebreaker Krasin")


In the next decade, he led a vigorous research expeditionary activity in the Arctic Ocean, visiting almost all of its seas, islands and archipelagoes. The expeditions headed by him worked on the icebreaking ships 'G. Sedov”, “Rusanov”, “Sadko”. These were complex expeditions that studied the hydrology and hydrobiology of the ocean, the topography and geological structure of its bottom, and the Arctic climate. Samoilovich was looking for traces of his comrades, the lost expedition of Rusanov, with whom he broke up in Svalbard in 1912. 
In 1931, Samoylovich was the scientific director of the largest international expedition on the airship Graf Zeppelin. On this expedition he was a geographer, a geomorphologist, an oceanographer, a glaciologist, and a topographer. The aerovisual observations of Samoylovich on that expedition have not lost their significance even now. 
For outstanding work in the Arctic, Samoilovich in 1935 was awarded the Order of Lenin, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Geographical Sciences without protection.He is a deputy of the Lensovet, vice-president of the Geographical Society of the USSR, a member of the International Maritime Arbitration, an honorary member of many geographical societies of the world. 
In 1937, his last, twenty-first northern expedition took place. This year was distinguished by extremely difficult ice conditions in all the Arctic seas. Almost the entire Arctic fleet was stuck in the ice, including the three icebreaking steamers "Sadko", "G. Sedov" and "Malygin". They gathered almost all the color of the Soviet polar science. At the insistence of the drift participants, Samoylovich was appointed head of the united expedition. In extreme wintering conditions, he was a brilliant leader. In the first place, living conditions were acceptable for the situation. The participants in the wintering included about 30 researchers from various disciplines, which made it possible to organize continuous comprehensive studies during the entire drift, which passed through practically unexplored areas of the Arctic Ocean. Due to the high scientific qualifications of the participants, student interns at the Hydrographic Institute were able to continue their education, courses for navigators and mechanics were organized, and lessons in Russian language and mathematics were given. Each case was found, and this, as is known, is the main condition for a successful wintering. 
In 1938, an air rescue expedition on three heavy aircraft began evacuating wintering men, leaving only the minimum necessary on ships. The expedition leader insisted on the need to remain until the end of the drift, but he was requested to Leningrad. Began the search for "scapegoats". 
July 24, 1938 Samoilovich was arrested in Kislovodsk, in a sanatorium, where he was treated after wintering. There were no reports about the arrest of “the enemy of the people” Samoylovich. He disappeared, went into the unknown. His name has disappeared from all subsequent publications. According to a certificate received by relatives in 1999, Samoylovich was accused of “... being an agent of German and French intelligence services, creating an anti-Soviet wrecking organization at the institute ...”. On March 4, 1939, he was sentenced to death and executed on the same day. 
An island west of the October Revolution Island. Named in 1932, by members of the expedition   on the icebreaker steamer "Rusanov". In 1938–1965 island called Dlinniy. 
Bay on the west coast of the southern island of New Earth. In 1925, named by the commission of the Northern Hydrographic Expedition chaired by N.I. Yevgenov. 
The strait between the islands of the Royal Society and Lee Smith in the archipelago of Franz Josef Land. The name was given in 1930, apparently by the head of the polar station “Tikhaya Bay” I.M. Ivanov. 
The ice dome in the southeast of the island of Karl Alexander in the archipelago of Franz Josef Land. Named in 1963 by Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute staff. The name was approved by the decision of the Arkhangelsk Regional Executive Committee of August 26, 1963.

 

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