Ushakov Georgiy Alekseevich
Outstanding Soviet explorer of the Arctic.
Born in the village of Lazarevo, now the Amur region, in a large
family of Amur Cossack.
He spent his childhood in this taiga village.
The harsh, close to nature life early tempered the boy physically
and spiritually, laid in the nature of the quality of this man,
prepared for the tests that awaited him in the future.
After receiving primary education in a rural school, Ushakov
moved to Khabarovsk, where he graduated from a city college,
intending to enroll in a teacher’s seminary.
He lived in a night shelter, making a living as a newspaper
seller, apprentice hairdresser, copyist in customs.
In 1916, fate brought him to the famous Russian traveler, the
researcher of the Ussuri region, V.К.
Arsenyev, whose work on the expedition laid another brick in
shaping the character of the future outstanding polar explorer.
It is difficult to say what fate was prepared for Ushakov if
there had not been a revolution.
In our opinion, uncommon human qualities in any case would allow
it to manifest itself in any sphere of human life.
But the revolution was accomplished, and Ushakov made his choice.
In 1918, he volunteered to participate in the battles of the Red
Guard with the whites, then briefly studied at the Khabarovsk
Teachers' Seminary, and since September 1919 he again defended
Soviet power in arms.
After the end of hostilities, Ushakov was going to continue his
education at the University of Vladivostok, but life in the person
Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks, of which he became a member during the war years,
had his own way.
At the call of the party, he worked as head of a reading room in
a distant region of Primorsky Krai, was secretary of the party cell,
chairman of the board of the Credit Society.
This activity taught him how to communicate with people, gave
valuable skills to an economic worker and manager.
Successful and effective work of Ushakov, his business and human
qualities were noticed.
At the end of 1925 he was transferred to work at the Vladivostok
office of Gostorg, and soon he was entrusted with a matter of state
importance, which connected him with the Arctic and allowed his
natural abilities to manifest themselves - Ushakov was appointed to
manage the Wrangel Islands and Herald.
The United States and Canada attacked these islands.
In 1924 the gunboat "Red October" under the command of
expelled Canadian settlers from Wrangel Island and hoisted the
Soviet flag on it.
However, in order to finally establish itself there and stop all
sorts of foreign encroachments, it was necessary to settle the
Ushakov was instructed to recruit as a future settlers several
families of the Chukchi and Eskimos, to organize on the island
hunting and scientific observations.
The task was a state one, but the possibilities of a state
weakened by wars and revolution turned out to be very limited.
In order to ensure the success of the enterprise, Ushakov had to
show all his organizational skills, energy, ability to communicate
with people, find a way out of seemingly hopeless positions.
I had to start from scratch.
The first problem was the search for a vessel capable of
delivering settlers to the island.
Moscow could not help.
Ushakov contacted the polar captain
and with his help chose the steamer "Stavropol", adapted
for navigation in the ice, which took part in Kolyma flights, but
requires serious repair.
The problem of equipment and food to solve in Khabarovsk and
Vladivostok was impossible.
I had to go to Shanghai and buy everything I needed with the help
of Soviet representatives.
Fur clothes, fur raw materials, sled dogs, sledges, equipment for
sleds were procured in Anadyr and delivered to Providence Bay, where
the Stavropol was supposed to go.
By contacting the Polar Commission of the USSR Academy of
Sciences, Ushakov agreed on a research program and, with his own
money, acquired the necessary scientific literature.
By mid-July the main charges were over, and Stavropol set off on
its long and dangerous journey.
Thus, the titanic work on the preparation of the expedition was
brilliantly carried out by Ushakov for some three months, which in
itself was a feat.
In Providence Bay, Ushakov successfully solved another major
With the help of influential people in Chukotka, Pavlov’s teacher
and hunter Yerook, he persuaded seven Eskimo families to go to the
Including Ushakov and his wife, the team of future Robinsons was
Fortunately, the ice situation in the Chukchi Sea in 1926 was
favorable, and in early August the ship approached the island
without any problems.
As a place for the future settlement chose Rogers Bay coast on
the south coast.
A lot of difficulties fell to the islanders especially during the
first wintering, and, of course, the greatest trials, both mental
and physical, had to endure Ushakov, the leader responsible for the
common cause and for each person individually.
The Eskimos were completely illiterate, full of many religious
prejudices, and besides, they were engaged in sea hunting all their
life, whose role on the island was secondary.
The main task of the settlers here was to organize the fur trade,
for its successful implementation it was necessary to resettle
people around the island.
However, the Eskimos, fearing the “devil”, for a long time
refused to leave the village, refused to go hunting.
The lack of meat, the Eskimos' reluctance to eat other products
that were in abundance in the warehouse, led to the fact that hunger
began among them, signs of scurvy were revealed.
On one of his trips, Ushakov himself, along with Ierok, fell
through the ice.
Wet through, into a fierce cold, they drove 70 km to the village.
The body of the old hunter could not stand it, and he died, and
Ushakov, who had received inflammation of the lungs and kidneys, was
The situation became critical - the Eskimos decided to leave the
island and go to the mainland.
The misfortune with Ushakov led them to the idea that the “devil”
was no longer afraid of him either.
In order to regain faith in the power of the Bolshevik chief,
Ushakov decided on a desperate step: he was seriously ill and went
If he does not produce meat, the Eskimos will grow stronger in
their fear and leave, and this was more terrible for Ushakov than
He believed in himself and good luck - he got the bear, cut off a
piece of meat, because he was completely unable to carve the
carcass, tied himself to the sledges and let the dogs follow the old
The team brought him to the village unconscious.
The rest of the carcass was brought by Pavlov with the Eskimos.
For several days, people were provided with meat, but the main
thing was that the Eskimos saw that the “devil” could not cope even
with a sick boss.
The resettlement of hunters at several points on the island made
it possible to begin a full-fledged harvest of the beast.
Bear skins, polar fox skins, mammoth bone were taken from them in
unlimited quantities, and weapons, ammunition, equipment, goods were
issued in return.
The settlers had an incentive to live, the fate of the islanders
could not worry and begin to solve other problems.
Ushakov began exploring the island.
He did not have a special education, but the intuition and
experience of the taiga hunter, the natural intelligence and
information gathered from books sent by the Academy of Sciences
allowed him to organize collections of collections of flora, fauna,
Meteorological observations were also made.
The life of the islanders was held in complete isolation from the
rest of the world, since they did not have a radio station.
Only a year later, in the summer of 1927, two aircraft flew to
them, headed by one of the authorized representatives of
The excellent state of affairs in the village allowed him to
support Ushakov’s request to stay on the island not for two, but
three years, for a fuller study of it.
In the spring of 1928, Ushakov and his comrades on three sledges
made a 42-day route around the island, conducting a geodesic survey
of its coast.
It was the first authentic map of Wrangel Island.
In the summer of 1928 he made several trips to the interior of
the island, continuing his description and collection collections.
Prolonged close contact with the Eskimos made him very close to
them, allowed them to study their life and customs, learn the art of
hunting, handling dog sleds, and gave practical skills necessary for
survival in the extreme conditions of the Arctic.
“The chief does everything as an Eskimo”, they said about Ushakov,
and this was the highest mark on their lips.
By the spring of 1929, everything planned by Ushakov turned out
to be more than fulfilled.
Wrangel Island was inhabited, the costs of the expedition were
paid for by the extracted fur, walrus tusks and mammoth bone,
numerous various collections were collected, a map of the island was
With a clear conscience, it was possible to return home.
In late August, an ice cutter "Litke" broke through to the island
with the new change of wintering men headed by
The joy of returning to the Big Earth was overshadowed only by
the necessity of parting with the remaining friends.
(photo E. Bruy)
After returning from Wrangel Island, Ushakov settled in
Moscow, but he was overwhelmed by new plans, which he was still
considering on the island.
A project of a daring expedition to explore the Northern
Earth, a hydrographic expedition of the Arctic Ocean, opened on
the eve of World War, led by
Russian hydrographs from the ship were filmed only the
south-eastern and southern shores of this land.
The rest of it for more than one and a half decades remained
a “white spot” on the map of the Arctic.
Closing it was of great scientific and applied importance.
The government commission dealing with this issue gave
preference to the Ushakov project, which had a number of
significant advantages over other options.
It was planned to conduct a full route semi-instrumental
survey based on a network of astronomical and magnetic reference
points, a geological survey, collection of flora and fauna
collections, systematic meteo and ice observations, and all this
in two years by four people without using a special vessel.
Enough of the small costs of the expedition was supposed to
recoup the active fur trade.
It was clear that the implementation of such a daring plan
was possible only by selected professionals, most adapted to
work in the Arctic.
The question of choosing the expedition leader was not: Of
course, Ushakov himself was approved, who was entrusted with
selecting the other members of the expedition at his own
Required polar geologist, industrialist and radio operator.
As the first, Ushakov had earlier “recruited” the famous
Urvantsev, who, among other things, was instructed to lead
The second was invited the most experienced hunter of the
for which there were no secrets in the sea and land arctic
And finally, Ushakov chose
enthusiast and connoisseur of the short-wave radio communication
that was booming in those years in the Arctic, a strong and
balanced young man.
Of all the members of the expedition, he alone did not have
experience in the Arctic.
On the charges remained a few months.
The list of equipment, equipment, food, equipment needed for
an autonomous two-year life and work in the Arctic was extremely
There could not be little things.
The energy of all the members of the expedition, their
highest professionalism, Ushakov's contacts and his experience
in organizing the settlement on Wrangel Island allowed in a
short time to brilliantly solve all organizational issues.
An icebreaking steamer “G.
Sedov”, which was headed by
expedition to explore the northern part of the Kara Sea.
Unfortunately, severe ice conditions did not allow the vessel
to make its way directly to Severnaya Zemlya.
I had to land westwards on one of the tiny
the previously unknown archipelago.
As it turned out later, this islet, called Domashn’s polar
explorers, was 60 km from the native coast of Severnaya Zemlya,
automatically each route increased by 120 km.
For 6 days, unloading was performed and the main house was
assembled with the help of the team.
After the vessel left, the winterers, in an emergency manner,
engaged in organizing and arranging the base and preparing for
the first hike, whose task was to reach Severnaya Zemlya and
create a food warehouse on it.
The main component of the preparation for the campaign was
the preparation of food for forty dogs.
Ushakov, Urvantsev and Zhuravlev set off for the first trip,
which lasted from October 1 to 10.
There were only one moves, maintaining regular communication
with the Great Earth.
Difficulties of the way, strong headwinds, lack of coherence
of the work of untrained dogs demanded the highest voltage of
Nevertheless, having overcome all obstacles, the polar
explorers reached the high indigenous coast of Severnaya Zemlya
and laid the first 900 kg of equipment at the point they called
Cape Serp and
In the same campaign they also put on the map the first 145
km of the coast of the island, which was later called the island
of the October Revolution.
Prior to March, Ushakov and Zhuravlev made four more trips,
completing the creation of a depot at Cape Serp and Molot.
In addition, during March they set up a depot to the north,
opening the strait, named after the Red Army, and at the
beginning of April they crossed the island of the October
Revolution and set up a food storehouse at
Cape Berg on
the east coast, opened in 1913.
The front of the 1931 survey was assured.
During the trips of Ushakov and Zhuravlev, who remained at
the base of Urvantsev and Chodov, they prepared all the tools
necessary for shooting.
At the end of April, Ushakov, Urvantsev and Zhuravlev set off
on the first filming route, which lasted 38 days.
As a result, the northern island of Severnaya Zemlya,
was put on the map.
From the western shore of Komsomolets, travelers saw another
rather large island, later called
It became clear that the Severnaya Zemlya is not a solid land
mass, but an archipelago.
To the north of it to the horizon stretched free from the ice
of the sea.
Returning to the base on May 29, after a short rest, the
travelers set off on the next trip on June 1.
It was necessary to hurry - the coming summer threatened with
a thaw that could make travel much more difficult.
In addition, an autopsy could have put the group’s question
back from base of Severnaya Zemlya.
Overcoming the icefalls, steep rocky cliffs, areas of loose
snow and other numerous obstacles, Ushakov, Urvantsev and
Zhuravlev crossed the archipelago and came to Cape Berg.
Here they are divided.
Zhuravlev, taking away the collections and bear skins left in
the previous route, went alone to the base, trying to get ahead
of the thaw, and Ushakov and Urvantsev with the shooting moved
As a result of this campaign, which lasted 51 days and ended
on July 20, the largest island of the archipelago, the
Revolution, was put on the map.
This route turned out to be the most difficult and dangerous,
demanding from the travelers tremendous exertion of all mental
and physical strength.
More than once they had to risk their lives.
The fast-thawing snow made movement very difficult, dogs were
exhausted, sleds had to be practically carried by hand.
Getting to fast ice created other difficulties.
Had to wander to the waist in the water, risking to fall into
the ravine, the dogs floated, and the sleds flooded with water.
One of the transitions almost ended in disaster.
During the crossing of one of the bays on the ice covered
with water, the travelers fell into a storm.
The water level began to rise sharply, the current picked up
and carried the sleds, the dogs in a panic mixed up straps,
climbed on the sleds.
At the cost of incredible efforts, Ushakov and Urvantsev
shoulders in water were able to pull the teams to a dry stretch
of ice, from where the wind drove the water.
Forcing numerous rivers and streams, which turned into
turbulent flows at this time of year, was especially difficult.
And all this was necessary not only to overcome, but to
conduct a continuous topographical survey.
With great difficulty, the travelers reached Cape Sickle and
Fortunately, the strait separating them from the base has not
yet opened, however, numerous cracks and gullets appeared in the
Part of the dogs, completely exhausted, lay on the sleds, the
rest barely walked.
People, harnessed to a sledge, moved on one character and
only, having entered the island, they fell to the ground.
A few days later a detailed report on the tremendous work
accomplished was transmitted to Moscow.
The shooting plans for 1931 were fully implemented.
The polar explorers spent the second half of the year
preparing for new hikes: they stocked up meat for dogs and
themselves, prepared equipment and equipment, without stopping
at the same time planned hydrological, meteorological and
In 1932, they had to map two islands: the southernmost and
the most distant from the base (Bolshevik)
and the smallest (Pioneer).
In March, Ushakov and Zhuravlev conducted a preparatory route
for organizing food warehouses on Fr.
Bolshevik, and on April 13, Ushakov and Urvantsev set off on
a southern film trip.
When they reached
the most southwestern point of the archipelago, for 45 days they
traveled counter-clockwise on Bolshevik Island and plotted it on
The total length of this route was over 1,100 km.
After resting for 2 days, for 8 days, playfully, mapped
the island of Pioneer.
The expedition, unprecedented in scale, originality of
organization and execution, brilliantly ended.
In total, about 5,000 km were traveled on dogs, over
2,200 km of the coastline of the Severnaya Zemlya
archipelago were laid on the map.
A semi-instrumental survey was based on 15 astronomical
sites, fairly evenly distributed across all routes.
The map of the Arctic has acquired its modern look.
According to V.Yu.
Visa, the Ushakov expedition can be attributed to the
outstanding polar enterprises of our time.
She played an important role in solving the problem of
organizing and developing the Northern Sea Route.
In addition to the survey, the researchers conducted a
variety of scientific observations, which gave the first
information about the geology, climate, glaciation,
hydrology of the archipelago.
The costs of the expedition's work were largely paid off
by the products of the fur trade of polar explorers.
On August 14, 1932, the icebreaking ship “A.
Sibiryakov”, who made his historic through navigation for
one navigation along the Northern Sea Route, and the next
day the icebreaking steamer“ Vladimir Rusanov ”approached,
which brought the Ushakov group to the Big Land.
In December 1932, Glavsevmorput was created, of which
Schmidt became the head, and Ushakov became his deputy.
In 1934, Ushakov was appointed Commissioner of the
Government Commission for the Rescue of the Chelyuskinites.
His work in this post contributed in no small measure to
the successful organization and conduct of the most
complicated rescue operation.
In 1935 he led the first Soviet high-latitude expedition
to the icebreaking steamer "Sadko".
It consisted of a number of outstanding scientists in
various fields of earth and ocean sciences.
The expedition conducted complex scientific research in
the northern part of the Kara Sea between the Franz Josef
Land and the Northern Land.
Ushakov was once again, but already through binoculars
from the ship’s side he was able to see the land he walked
three years ago.
The vessel reached a latitude of 82º
, setting a new record for free navigation in the high
latitudes of the Arctic.
The hike on "Sadko" was the last meeting between Ushakov
and the Arctic.
The deterioration of his health did not allow him to
directly participate in polar expeditions, but all his
subsequent activities were somehow connected with them.
Until 1936, he worked at Glavsevmorput, then in
- at the Main Directorate of the Hydrometeorological
Service of the USSR and until 1958 at the Institute of
Permafrost Science of the USSR Academy of Sciences.
His merits were awarded several orders, incl.
Order of Lenin for the North-earth expedition, and
In 1950, by decision of the Higher Attestation
Commission, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of
The expeditionary life and privations have undermined the
once mighty organism of Ushakov.
Due to a progressive cardiovascular disease in 1958, he
retired, continuing to work at home on his extensive
In 1963, the 50th anniversary of the discovery of
Severnaya Zemlya was celebrated.
Ushakov was also invited to the presidium of the
ceremonial meeting, which brought together many outstanding
polar explorers, who spoke on his expedition.
Three weeks after that, George Alekseevich died suddenly.
He bequeathed to bury himself in his beloved Northern
The will of Georgy Alekseevich was fulfilled: an urn with
his ashes was buried
By the decision of the executive committee of the
Krasnoyarsk Regional Council of People's Deputies of
05.11.1990 No. 279, the expedition house was restored and
taken under protection as an object of cultural heritage of
It was installed at the airport of Sredny Island and
organized an exhibition in it devoted to the study of
An island in the
northern part of the Kara Sea.
Opened on September 1, 1935 by the First High-latitude
expedition of the Northern Sea Route on the icebreaker
The name suggested
the scientific and technical council of the expedition
Cape in the southwest of
Nansen Island archipelago Franz Josef Land.
Named in 1933–1934
All-Union Arctic Institute expedition under the direction of T.N.
Cape on the
northwestern shore of Wrangel Island.
Named in 1929 by A.I.
Ushakov) in the south of Wrangel Island, separates Rogers
Bay from the sea.
The name on the proposal of the employees of the
Providence Bay hydro base was approved in 1968 by the
Iultinsky District Executive Committee.
River in the
northern part of the island of the October Revolution of the
archipelago Severnaya Zemlya.
Named in the early 1950s by polar geologists.