On August 5, a complex expedition of the Russian Geographical Society and the Northern Fleet to the Arctic archipelagos set off from Severomorsk. The expedition will follow the route of the great polar explorers Vladimir Rusanov and Eduard Toll. The scientists of the RGS and the military men will try to find unique artifacts reflecting the history of the development of the Arctic, and to supplement the knowledge about its pioneers.
The expedition consists of two groups. The first one left on August 5 at 5:00 am from Severomorsk on the “Ilya Muromets” icebreaker. It will repeat the route of the first Russian polar expedition of Baron von Toll in 1900-1902. It will pass along the northern shores of Taimyr to Bennett Island. It includes scientists, search specialists, historians and the RGS media group.
The second group of the expedition will leave after August 15 in the seagoing tug MB-12 and examine the coastal territory of Novaya Zemlya. The members of the expedition will go around Severny Island along the route of Rusanov, who, in 1910, was the first Russian scientist to sail there on the yacht "Demetrius of Thessaloniki ".
“The islands located near Taimyr are associated with the disappeared expeditions of the early 20th century,” says the chief scientist of the expedition, Sergei Churkin. “In 1912–1913 , the expedition of one of the most famous Russian Arctic explorers, Vladimir Rusanov, on the Hercules ship, may have spent winter there. We do not exclude the possibility that we will find the place of death of the expedition. The expedition of Baron Edward Toll wintered there in 1900-1901 as well. In addition, during the Great Patriotic War, heroic events of the confrontation between the USSR and Germany in the Arctic took place here. And Bennett Island, in my opinion, is a real Mecca for romantics of all generations."
In addition to the "Hercules", the expedition will search for the sunken ship of the discoverers of Franz Josef Land, Karl Weyprecht and Julius von Payer, "Admiral Tegetthoff". It was jammed by ice in 1874, and, in order not to die, the crew was forced to leave the ship off the coast of Franz Josef Land. The approximate coordinates of the ship's location are already known. The success of the search, according to the chief scientist of the expedition, depends only on the ice conditions.
The experts will also try to find the “Yakutsk” double-dinghy – that belonged to one of the groups of Vitus Bering's expedition – which sank in 1740 near Maria Pronchishcheva Bay (the eastern coast of Taimyr); the “Nord” hydrographic ship, sunk by the Germans in August 1944 off the coast of Kaminsky Island; and a yacht “Eira” of explorer Benjamin Lee Smith, which sank in 1881 off Northbrook Island.
The found artifacts will be given to the experts for study and subsequent restoration, after which they will replenish the collections of Russian museums.
In addition, the participants of the complex expedition will try to find the food depot of the expedition by Julius von Payer and Karl Weyprecht. Photographs of the 19th century and a map of the site have been preserved. Researching such storage facilities will allow scientists to learn more about preserving food in permafrost conditions.
En-route, the project participants will set up memorial signs in honor of the expeditions of famous Russian travelers. On Nablyudenij Island a sign will appear dedicated to the Russian polar expedition of Eduard Toll; on Gerkules Island - to the expedition of Vladimir Rusano; on Herald Island - to the expedition of Georgy Ushakov.
Complex expeditions of the Northern Fleet and the Russian Geographical Society, "Arctic Archipelagos", have been taking place since 2018. The servicemen of the fleet and scientific groups of the Russian Geographical Society are reconstructing the routes of the pioneers, restoring historical monuments, performing ecological, biological, and geological research. In 2018, they explored Novaya Zemlya, in 2019 - the islands of Franz Josef Land. This year, the plan is to expand the geography of the expedition with Severnaya Zemlya, Taimyr, the New Siberian Islands and Wrangel Island.
The complex expedition to the Arctic archipelagos is dedicated to several memorable dates at once: the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, the 175th anniversary of the Russian Geographical Society, the 110th anniversary of the Arctic Ocean Hydrographic Expedition , the 120th anniversary of the Russian polar expedition, and the 145th birthday anniversary of Vladimir Rusanov.