Samoilovich Rudolf Lazarevich
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
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.
spent in Karelia, where he found rich deposits of feldspar and
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
a few years, it grew into the Institute for the Study of the North -
the modern Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St.
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
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
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
'G. Sedov”, “V. Rusanov”,
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"
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
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
In 1938, an air rescue expedition on three heavy aircraft began
evacuating wintering men, leaving only the minimum necessary on
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".
(photo by E.A. Gusev)
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”
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
An island west
of the October Revolution Island. Named
in 1932, by members of the expedition on the icebreaker
steamer "Rusanov". In
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.