Sedov Georgiy Yakovlevich 
(23.04(05.05).1877–20.02(05.03).1914)


Russian naval officer and polar explorer. 
Born on the shores of the Sea of Azov in the family of a fisherman, from childhood he loved and recognized the sea. Life was such that only at the age of 14, Sedov was able to go to school. Having passed three classes in two years, because of the need to earn money, he stopped his studies and became a clerk in a grocery store. But such a life naturally did not suit him. At the age of 18 he left home and enrolled in nautical classes in Rostov-on-Don. In winter, he studied hard, in the summer he earned money as a sailor on ships sailing the Black Sea, while gaining the necessary sea experience. Brilliantly having graduated from the nautical classes in 1898, Sedov received the title of long-time navigator. For some time he sailed as an assistant captain, then as a captain on a small cargo ship that traveled between Novorossiysk and Batumi. All his free time Sedov gave self-education, and in 1900 passed the exam for the rank of warrant officer of the navy. After that I went to Petersburg and won the right to pass the exam for the full course of the Marine Corps. It was not easy to do this, since the children of hereditary nobles were taken into the elite Marine Corps first of all and only in the case of an incomplete set of high-ranking officials and higher clergy. Sedov had to fully demonstrate his characteristic stubbornness, which, together with good preparation, helped him to pass an exam a year later and receive the rank of lieutenant in the Admiralty. He was seconded to the Main Hydrographic Board. 
In 1902, he first came to the Arctic as part of the hydrographic expedition of General A.I. Varnek, who quickly appreciated the ability and dedication of Sedov, always ready to perform the most difficult and dangerous tasks. At that time, Sedov conceived the idea of an expedition to the North Pole. 
During the Russo-Japanese War, Sedov commanded the destroyer of the Amur Flotilla, at the end of the war he was appointed manager of the installation of floating warning signs in the Far Eastern seas, and then worked as a military hydrograph on the Caspian Sea. 
A serious test for him was the appointment of the head of the expedition for the hydrographic study of the mouth of the Kolyma. This most important state assignment was successfully fulfilled. 
In the summer of 1910, Sedov filmed the Krestovaya Bay on Novaya Zemlya. During this period, he decided not to postpone the realization of his dream of an expedition to the North Pole. 
In 1912, he presented his expedition project to the Chief of the Main Hydrographic Department, General A.I. Vilkitsky. They talked about Sedov’s project in various circles of Russian society and, as it turned out, the general reaction to it was mostly negative. Soviet historiographers explain this primarily by their hostility towards Sedov as a native of the lower class, and also by the fact that the North Pole, as it was then believed, was already reached by R. Peary. Perhaps there is some truth in this, but the main reason is most likely another. History shows that the main task of the Russian Arctic studies since the time of Lomonosov was a comprehensive study of the possibilities of navigation along the northern shores of Siberia, which is so necessary for the development and development of this region. Russia has never participated in the so-called "race to the pole". In addition, the planned route from the PHI was the least successful for reaching the pole because of its length, the characteristics of the ice surface and the dominant currents. The elaboration of the details of the project was also not deep enough. This, in particular, related to the speed of movement on the ice, the amount of necessary food for dogs, etc. In addition, Sedov hoped to start moving from 83°N from Petermann Earth or Oscar Earth, which actually did not exist, and this was already known. A special commission under the maritime ministry chaired by A.I. Vilkitsky as part of Captain 1st Rank Bukhteev, Captain 2nd Rank A.V.Kolchak, Colonel Mordvinov, Privy Counselor A.A. Bunge, State Counselor L.L. Breitfus, court councilors Tolmachev and A.A. Byalynitsky-Birulia recognized the plan of the expedition to the pole as ill-conceived. The State Duma refused Sedov to finance the project. 
But not such a man was Sedov to retreat. He decided, by all means, to conduct an expedition in this, in 1912, organizing it with private donations. In an effort to make big donations, he verbally and in writing made a broadcasting statement about the undoubted success of the upcoming expedition, the rapid conquest of the pole, the glory of Russia, etc. Relying on abundant donations was not justified. In addition, time is tight. As a result, due to lack of funds and time, unfair suppliers, lack of proper control by the head of the expedition was organized poorly. The departure of the ship of the expedition "St. 
Foka" from Arkhangelsk in mid-September questioned the achievement of Franz Josef Land in the same year.

 

On the bridge “St. Foka” in the Barents Sea, from left to right, Sedov, mechanic Zander ?, Pavlov, captain Zakharov, Kushakov, Pinegin, Vize

"St. Foka"at the Novaya Zemlya.1912 - 1913

 


Because of the unusually heavy ice conditions, the vessel could only reach Novaya Zemlya, where it was lost by ice and left for the winter. During this wintering period, the expedition achieved the greatest scientific results. It was for them, and not the race to the pole, that it should have been organized. Sedov was first mapped the South Crusade Islands. As a result of the land routes of Sedov, the northern tip of Novaya Zemlya acquired a completely new, true look: new bays, glaciers and ridges were discovered and mapped. Geological and biological studies were conducted on the northern part of the northern island of Novaya Zemlya. In parallel, was preparing for further swimming. Only on September 3, 1913, “St. Fock ”was able to move to Franz Josef Land. As of the expedition, by this time it was time to go back home. It was with such a proposal that the leading members of the expedition addressed Sedov on August 29. It was a terrible moral blow, but Sedov remained adamant, he could not retreat. 
September 13, anchored at Cape Flora on the southwestern tip of Northbrook Island. By this time, the coal reserves had dried up, and animal fat, ropes and old sails were burned in the fire chambers. Having a little replenished the fuel reserves with the remnants of the coal of the former American expedition A. Fiala here, they moved north but were soon stopped by insurmountable ice and wintering in Tikhaya Bay on  Hooker Island.

 

Sedov in the cabin "St. Foka" 
(from the archive of the Russian Geographical Society)


The second wintering due to lack of food and fuel was held in difficult conditions. Sedov, like many members of the expedition, was sick with scurvy, but nothing could break his will and make him refuse to go to the pole. February 15 with sailors G.V. Linnik and A.M. Pustoshniy on three sledges and with eight dogs, he set off on his last route. The tragic outcome of the march was obvious to everyone, since, at best, the provisions could be enough only to the pole. Sedov went to the obvious suicide, for a man like him, this outcome in this situation was the best. The fact that Sedov understood the death of his campaign confirms, in our opinion, the following fact. At the last moment, he refused to take part in the campaign of V.Yu. Vize, motivating this decision by unwillingness to disrupt scientific observations. Wiese - regretted himself and the sailors - no. 
Sedov appointed Kushakov as acting head of the expedition. Left to that instruction, in fact, was the testament of Sedov. In it, he appears primarily as a surprisingly noble person. Here are excerpts from it: 
1. If possible, do not change my order. To resort to this only in extreme cases ... 
2. Concentrate scientific work mainly along the east coast of the British Canal, as more free of ice cover ... 
……………………………… .. 
4. Send one expedition to Cape Flora under the command of the artist Nikolai Pinegin. Prepare firewood for the ship there and leave a note in a prominent place in case any ship arrives there ... 
……………………………… .. 
8. Wait for the pole party in Tikhaya Bay only until August 1 of this year, after which build a stone dugout and leave in it a small supply of provisions, shotgun shells and in general everything you need for a shelter for 3 people, and go to Russia on board the ship or karbas and in no case stay on a new wintering beyond the Arctic Circle, for many of our people will not endure the third wintering ....... 
9. Leaving Franz Josef Land, leave on Cape Flora copies of the maps you made hydrographic work and other works, repair one house there. Put the provisions in order and put them in a cottage, and also repair the carbas in Cape Flora in case we had to sail to Russia ....... 
10. When you arrive in Russia, do not worry about applying for a ship to be sent to us, as this will be a waste of money, because if we are to survive, then we will get home on our own ... 
………………………………………… 
12. One of your main tasks is attentive care for the health and integrity of the people of the expedition, a successful outcome of which will serve as a great benefit for the cause and a high moral reward for you. 
On the seventh day of the march, Sedov could no longer walk and was forced to move on sledges. Nevertheless, he did not want to hear about return, hoping for replenishment of food in the Teplits Bay on Rudolph Island from the stocks of Italian and American expeditions left there. But to reach this island they were not destined.March 5, 1914 Sedov died. The sailors wanted to get to the Bay of Teplits, to replenish stocks there, and then with the body of Sedov return to the ship. But because of the huge divorce they could not reach the bay on the sea ice, but did not dare to go on the glacier. In the end, they refused to deliver the body of Sedov to the ship and buried him either at Cape Auk, or Cape Brohork of Rudolph Island, having filled up with a pile of stones and installing a cross from the skis. Nearby they put the flag that Sedov wanted to hoist at the pole. In 1938, at Cape Auk, employees of the polar station “Rudolph Island” found fragments of skis, rusty cans, decayed pieces of tarpaulin, ropes and fur clothing. There was also a small hatchet-hammer and a flagpole, on which scraps of the Russian flag remained. The flagpole had a copper sleeve labeled “Polar Expedit. Sedow 1914". The body of Sedov was not found. Discovered items are stored in the Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic in St. Petersburg. In 1977, the flagpole was delivered to the North Pole by an expedition on the Arktika nuclear-powered icebreaker. 
The expedition returned to Russia in 1914. On the way back, on Cape Flora, a famous meeting was held with the two surviving members of the expedition G.L. Brusilov navigator V.I. Albanov and sailor A.E. Konrad. 
Paying tribute to the courage and determination of Sedov, his love for Russia, the desire to bring her fame, one cannot fail to say that in Soviet times his role in the exploration of the Arctic was clearly exaggerated, and he was literally canonized. Obviously, it cannot be put on a par with such researchers as, for example, N.A.-E.Nordenskiöld, F. Nansen, V.A. Rusanov, F.P. Litke, F.P. Wrangell. 
A memorial plaque with the inscription “Expedition Leut. Sedov 1912–1914”.  
At the place of the alleged burial of Sedov Cape Auk, the crew of the diesel-electric ship “Ob” erected a pillar, reinforced with stones, with an inscription in the upper part: “Sedov”, lower around the circumference: “Expedition to “Sedov”. 
In 1929, the expedition of O. Yu. Schmidt was given a memorial plaque with the inscription: "The place where G.Ya. Sedov died, who died during the campaign to the North Pole". 
The northern entrance cape of Tikhaya Bay and the glacier on Hooker Island in the Franz Josef Land Archipelago.

 

2007 Cape of Sedov. Abandoned polar station "Silent Cove"

(photo by N. M. Stolbov)

Sedov Glacier

(photo by E.Suvorova)


Peak in the southwestern part of the northern island of Novaya Zemlya. Called by the Northern Hydrographic Expedition in 1925. 
Bay on the island of the archipelago of Nordensheld. Named in 1939 by an expedition on the hydrographic vessel "Nord". 
Bay and island in the Dyrovataya Bay in the west of Vaigach Island. Named in 1902 by A.I. Varnek.

 

Population of the Sedov Bay

(photo by A. Brataev)


Bay on the Kara coast of the northern island of Novaya Zemlya. Discovered in 1910 by V.A. Rusanov. The name was given in 1925 by the expedition of the Institute for the Study of the North on the sailing-motor vessel "Elding" under the leadership of R.L. Samoylovich. 
Bay on the west coast of the northern island of Novaya Zemlya. In 1912, G.Ya. Sedov called the “lip of Suvorin” in honor of one of the organizers of his expedition. The real name was given in 1914 by members of the expedition of Sedov. 
In addition, in honor of the icebreaker “G. Sedov" named: 
The archipelago at the entrance from the west to the strait of the Red Army between the islands of Komsomolets and the October Revolution. Opened in 1930 by the expedition of the All-Union Arctic Institute on the icebreaker "G. Sedov". Originally named in honor of the Soviet commander S.S. Kamenev, and in 1937 renamed in honor of the icebreaker steamer that opened it. 
Strait (raid of Sedov) between the islands of Pravda and Nansen of the archipelago of Nordenskjold, where the icebreaker "G. Sedov ”was hiding from the ice when unloading the property of the polar station“ Island of Truth”.

 

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