Yuri Kuchiev, the captain of the legendary nuclear-powered ship "Arctic", which became the first surface ship to reach the North Pole, was born the 26th of August, 1919.
Yuri Kuchiev came into being in the small village of Tib in North Ossetia. He had been dreaming of a career of pilot, but fate was preparing him to become a pioneer of the Arctic seas.
Before this event, which brought him world fame, Kuchiev had gone a long way. Two weeks before the Great Patriotic War he became a sailor in the tugboat "Vasily Molokov" in the port of Dixon. And since that time he had been working for three decades on the ships of the Arctic fleet, first as a navigator, then as a captain`s double and as a captain, including on the first nuclear icebreaker "Lenin."
All this time Kuchiev was planning to go to the Pole. In 1971, the Baltic shipyard in Leningrad laid the nuclear ship Arktika, a year later it was solemnly launched into the water, and in 1975 the ship entered service. To fulfill the dream, Kuchiev formed a well-coordinated team and, having risen on the bridge, carried out all the necessary tests of the ship.
The 9th of August, 1977 the icebreaker left Murmansk. It was a risky venture, if only because there was no second such ship at that time. And if the ship drifted in the ice, no one could come to the team to help. The nuclear-powered vessel passed from the northern side of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, crossed the Kara Sea and went through the Vilkitsky Strait in the Laptev Sea. Then he skirted the Northern Land archipelago from the east and set off on 130 meridians to the North.
At 4 am on August 17, 1977, Captain Yuri Kuchiev was the first in the world to bring a surface ship to the North Pole.
"I experienced a very unusual excitement when I brought the flagpole to the North Pole. That flagpole was not brought to the Pole by the famous polar explorer Georgy Sedov , who died on the Rudolph Island, this shaft was found at his grave", - Kuchiev told.
Skilful use of the ship's capacities allowed the team to significantly shorten the expedition time - instead of 28 days the trip was made for 13. The crew of the icebreaker "Arctic" was greeted as heroes, and Yuri Kuchiev was being compared with Gagarin.
29 years after this event, the Yamal nuclear-powered ship departed from Murmansk to the North Pole, to deliver to the northern ice the remains of Yuri Kuchiev. The captain of the "Arctic" dreamed of finding peace in the place with which his whole life was connected.
In the beginning of 2008, during the expedition of nuclear icebreaker "Yamal" there was discovered the island in the south-west part of the archipelago of Franz Josef Land. By the decision of the Arkhangelsk Regional Assembly, the island was named in memory of the captain, who first reached the North Pole - Kuchiev Island.