Exactly 200 years ago, Russian sailors on the sloops "Vostok" and "Mirny" reached the shores of Antarctica, having made the largest geographical discovery in Russian history. This day forever connected the sixth continent with our country.
Naval sailors under the leadership of Thaddeus Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev could not be stopped by the prejudices of their predecessors, treacherous ice and harsh climate.
The expedition lasted 751 days. During this time, Russian ships circled the entire Antarctic continent, visited the coast of South America, Australia and New Zealand. The expedition members discovered and mapped dozens of new islands, gathered unique scientific and ethnographic collections, made realistic sketches of the views of Antarctica and the animals living there. Thus, they laid down the principles of studying the icy continent, which followers from other countries began almost a century later. By the way, as a sign of respect, the polar explorers Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen were chosen as honorary members of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society.
At the moment, Antarctica is the territory of scientists, the mainland looks almost pristine. Since the mid-50s, we have returned to the sixth continent and are constantly working to study it. And in 1959, with the active participation of our country, an international Antarctic Treaty was signed, establishing its current status.
So these days a joint expedition of the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Russian Geographical Society takes place off the coast of the southernmost continent of the planet. Our scientists aboard the oceanographic vessel “Admiral Vladimirsky” carry out important scientific work. And, which is very symbolic, this route largely repeats the Bellingshausen and Lazarev`s route.
Friends, this is our history, do not forget it. Let dates like the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica inspire you on your own expeditions, new discoveries, the study of the diversity of our planet!
President of the Russian Geographical Society