"A Whole Era Has Gone With Him": Artur Chilingarov Passes Away

Artur Chilingarov. Photo: RGS press service
Artur Chilingarov. Photo: RGS press service

On June 1, First Vice-President of the Russian Geographical Society Artur Chilingarov passed away. The pioneer, explorer of the Arctic and Antarctica, and an outstanding scientist was 84 years old.

Artur Nikolaevich was also the president of the State Polar Academy, a member of the expert council of the Crystal Compass National Award, and the president of the Association of Polar Explorers of Russia. Professor, Doctor of Geographical Sciences, a true researcher, he made an invaluable contribution to the study and development of the north and the World Ocean. Chilingarov was and will forever remain for modern scientists an example of true love for his work, devotion to the team, courage, dedication, and constant pursuit of new discoveries.

“It was heartbreaking for me to learn about the death of Artur Nikolaevich Chilingarov. A whole era in the development of the Arctic has gone with him. Russia has lost a great researcher and a true hero," said Sergei Shoigu, President of the Russian Geographical Society. “Artur Chilingarov has made a huge contribution to the development of national and world geography. The ‘Father of the Arctic’, the hero polar explorer, and just a sincere and dedicated person. Artur Nikolaevich took risks and did incredible things. He was a reliable companion, an interesting conversationalist, and a wise man. He was exploring the north and at the same time expanding our understanding of human possibilities. And he also sincerely and passionately loved his country. Rest in peace!”

A. N. Chilingarov was born on September 25, 1939, in Leningrad. In 1963, he graduated from the Leningrad Higher Marine Engineering College with a degree in oceanology. He worked as a researcher at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, and as a hydrological engineer at the Tiksi Laboratory. In 1969-1971, he headed the “North-21” high-latitude scientific expedition. Since 1971, he has been the head of the “Bellingshausen” Antarctic station of the 17th Soviet Antarctic Expedition. Chilingarov took part in the most difficult rescue operations, led expeditions, and was also a prominent public and political figure, was a deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation.

In August 2007, he, together with other researchers, dove to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean near the North Pole on the “Mir” underwater vehicle, where he hoisted the flag of Russia.

A. N. Chilingarov was one of the few who was a Hero of the Soviet Union (1986) and a Hero of Russia (2008). Read about the life and work of this outstanding man in our special project "To Be the First", which was prepared for his 80th birthday.

The Russian Geographical Society expresses its condolences to the family and friends of Artur Nikolaevich.

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Flight to Antarctica. 1991. Photo from Artur Chilingarov's personal archive
Flight to Antarctica. 1991. Photo from Artur Chilingarov's personal archive