"Eastern Bastion - Kuril Ridge"

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Photo: Pavel Panchenko
Photo: Pavel Panchenko

The first season of the Long-Term Complex Expedition to the Islands of the Kuril Ridge "Eastern Bastion - Kuril Ridge" started in July 2019. The volunteers together with scientists will study in detail the islands of Iturup and Urup within two months. The expedition is a joint project of the Russian Geographical Society and the Expedition Center of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

Expeditionary groups landed on Iturup Island and started planned explorations on July 25. Specialists will conduct archaeological, botanical, ichthyological, landscape and ornithological studies of the islands and the waters around them in order to obtain new data and clarify existing information about geography, geology, biology, history, ecology of these places. In particular, the expedition participants will reveal the dynamics of landscape transformations on the surface, determine the current state of the populations of endemic species and Red Book species of animals and plants, study the culture of the indigenous population of the islands, and clarify the facts from the history of the opening up of the islands by Russia.

 Artyom Udodov

“Studying the territory of the Russian Far East is one of the priority tasks of the RGS. The Russian Geographical Society has regularly conducted comprehensive research on the islands of the Kuril Ridge since 2014. Their results are of great scientific interest. Scientists from leading research institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences and educational institutions, RGS volunteers, representatives of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, Young Army and mass media. The expedition is attended by representatives of the A.F. Mozhaysky's Military-Space Academy and the General V.F. Margelov Ryazan Guards Higher Airborne Command School within the framework of programs to improve geographic knowledge of military. The result of many years of research will be proposals for the further development of island infrastructure. I believe that all members of the expedition have an excellent opportunity to make a personal contribution to this great common action", said Sergey Chechulin, a director of the Department of Expeditionary Activities of the Russian Geographical Society.

The expedition search team began work by exploring the underground fortifications of the Japanese garrison of the Second World War in Kasatka Bay on Iturup Island. The search group examined the Chyortova rock and the coastal zone of the bay. It is there that the remains of fortifications, including half-ruined underpasses, are located. In addition, research began in the area of the Raidovo village.

 Anatoly Makoedov

Expeditionary work will continue on the island of Urup in the second half of August. There will be conducted botanical, volcanological, geological studies. The completion of the first season of the expedition is scheduled for September 20, 2019.

Within the framework of the project, specialists plan to create “The East Bastion - Kuril Ridge” geoportal, which will contain information received during the expedition. The results of scientific research conducted on the islands will be used for cartographic purposes, preparation of work to eliminate accumulated environmental damage, as well as to assess the possibility of creating and development island infrastructure.