"The main idea of the founders of the Society is to attract all the best forces of the Russian land to the study of their homeland and its inhabitants"
The Russian Geographical Society was founded by the order of Nicholas I in 1845. In different years, the Society was led by the representatives of the Russian Imperial House, scientists and statesmen.
Among the honorary members of the Society are statesmen, scientists, and public figures: P.P. Semenov-Tyan-Shansky, S.Yu. Witte, N.I. Vavilov, V.I. Vernadsky, F.P. Wrangel, A.M. Gorchakov, V.I. Dahl, V.A. Obruchev; famous foreigners – the Belgian King Leopold II, the Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid, the Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, the Norwegian King Oscar II, Shah of Persia Naser al-din Shah Qajar, Baron Ferdinand von Richthofen, Roald Amundsen, Fridtjof Nansen, Thor Heyerdahl.
The RGS has made a significant contribution to the study of European Russia, the Urals, Siberia, the Far East, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Iran, India, New Guinea, the Polar countries and other territories. The Society laid the foundations of the national conservation business.
You can read more about the history of the Russian Geographical Society in the "History" section.
One of the oldest geographical societies in the world unites specialists in the field of geography and related sciences, as well as enthusiasts-travelers, environmentalists, public figures – all who seek to learn new things about Russia, who are ready to help preserve its natural riches.
On November 19, 2009, an extraordinary congress of the RGS was held, following which the Board of Trustees of the Society was established, headed by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Domestic and foreign patrons, educators and public figures became the members of the Board. Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoigu was elected President of the RGS.
In recent years, the Society has implemented a number of large-scale projects: the photo contest "The Most Beautiful Country", the international Geographical Dictation, the archaeological and geographical expedition "Kyzyl-Kuragino", the complex expedition "Gogland", the expedition to clean up the Arctic, and many others. The RGS is actively working on the study and protection of rare animals and birds. Among them are the Amur tiger, the beluga whale, and the polar bear. The Society publishes over 200 scientific publications a year, provides grant and informational support for the production of films about the cultural and natural heritage of Russia.
Volunteers participate in almost all of the RGS projects. A Youth club has been organized for the active and caring young people. Within its framework, the Summer School and geographical camps are held annually at the federal children's centers "Artek", "Orlyonok", "Smena" and "Okean".
In 2016, the RGS opened its own Film Portal. All the films of the Society created with the participation of famous Russian geographers, biologists, ethnographers, ecologists, paleontologists and travelers are presented there. The Phenological Portal has been created for researchers and nature lovers. In addition, there is the Geoportal that combines collections of historical, topographic and special cartographic materials from the funds of the Society and partner organizations of the Russian Geographical Society.
The headquarters of the Russian Geographical Society in St. Petersburg houses the largest geographical library in Europe. Its fund includes publications in Russian and foreign languages in all sections of geographical sciences and related disciplines since the 16th century. One of the priority tasks of the Society is the formation of an electronic library catalog, digitization of funds and creation of the Full-text Electronic Library of the Russian Geographical Society.
Today, the RGS has more than 22,000 members in Russia and abroad. Regional branches of the Society are open in all 85 subjects of the Russian Federation.