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G.A.Ushakov's biography | Ushakova island | Radio Amateurs


G.A.Ushakov's biography

(1901 - 1963, Lazarevskoe Village, Khabarovsk region)

"His thesis is on all maps of the world"

A geographer, polar explorer, doctor of geographical sciences, holder of an order, real member of Russian Geographical society, Honourable polar explorer of the USSR.

He was born on the 30th of January 1901 (the Old Style) in the family of an amur cossack. He lived by himself in Khabarovsk since the age of 11, where was taught in Higher Elementary specialized school, teachers' seminary, worked as a newsboy, clerk, collector in V.K. Arseniev's Expedition, who played a directing role in his fate. He dwelled in a doss-house. In 1921 he entered the Vladivostok University, but the time prevented him from the graduation: Civil war and active service in the Army. He became an encyclopaedically-erudite geographer-naturalist and an ethnographer being a self-educator through the whole of his life.

Vrangel Island
Vrangel Island
Since 1924 he has been a full member of Russian Geographical society. In 1926-29 he was the first Russia's representative on management and settlement of the Arctic Ocean islands: Vrangel and Gerald islands and chief of an expedition, realized according to a plan offered by him, having in result that the islands were practically secured for our country. Created the first detailed Vrangel island coast map, collected large scientific material on the nature and economic possibilities of the islands, on the ethnography of eskimoes and Chukchi men brought by him from the Chukotski Penninsula, on conditions of navigation in the islands region. He was rewarded the Order of the Red Labor Banner.

Since 1930 he has been a deputy director of All-union Arctic institute in Leningrad.

In 1930-32 under Ushakov's direction and according to his plan an expedition to the North Land was realized with the debarkation on the shore, which had never been visited before. Expedition secured Russia's priority in the primary exploration, mapping and studying of the last largest land area

Ushakov's team
Ushakov's team: N.N.Urvanzev, G.A.Ushakov, S.P.Zhuravlev, V.V.Hodov. Photo by R.L.Samoilovich
(37 thousand, discovered in the 20th century and the second millennium
. The result of the work was the ascertained fact that North Land was an extensive archipelago that consisted from four big and a multitude of smaller islands. The first exact archipelago map was created and which immediately went into practical use. This allowed to realize the first end-to-end sail on the North sea way on the ice-breaker "Sibiryakov". Hereunder the heroes of the G. A. Ushakov's four have found a worthy place in history of exploring Russian Arctic along with discoverers of these lands - russian sailors of the "Taimyr" and "Vaigatch" ice-breakers, which for the first time in 1913-14 debarked at the east coast of the North Land (later named Land of Emperor Nikolai the 2nd) to the north from cape of Tcheluskin.

World geographical public confessedly considered results and heroism of this expedition as an outstanding enterprise of the 20 century and has delivered Ushakov's name along with the most well-known arctic researchers of the world. In 1933 he was awarded the Lenin Order - the highest order of the USSR in that time.

Ushakov, Schmidt
G.A.Ushakov, O.Yu.Schmidt
In 1932-36 he works as the first head director of the newly born North Sea Way Administration at the USSR's Government under the direction of academician O.Yu.Schmidt. He is, in particular, responsible for geological studies. The scheme of international scientific Pacific ocean study (1935 - 37) was made under his direction.

In 1934 as an authorised member of Governmental commission on rescuing the ice-breaker Tchelyuskin's crew he managed rescue works in Nom, Alaska, in Vankarem and at the ice-floe camp itself. "For exclusively skilful organization of rescue works, for the manifestation of personal courage and persistence in the achievement of long-run objectives" he was rewarded the Order of Red Star.

In 1935 he directed the First Arctic expedition on "Sadko" ice-breaker, which decoded huge white spot on the map between the Franz Joseph Land and North Land and which set a world record of free drifting in ice (82°42' N.L.). The first in the history of the Arctic research deep-water complex scientific expedition was realized, which discovered a warm Gulfstream branch at the North Land coasts. An island was discovered named after Ushakov. Results obtained are used when making an up-to-date map (in 2000) of the North Arctic ocean. During Ushakov's work in the Arctic more than 50 geographical discovers altogether have been made by him.

Travel of "Sadko"

In 1935-41 he was the first main editor of the "Soviet Arctic" journal and a chairman of Editorial Staff of the Main North Sea Way Publishers House

In 1936-40 he was the head of the Hydrometeorological Service of the USSR at the USSR's Government. In 1937 he was the head of the Soviet delegation for the International conference of air meteorology in Paris.

Since 1940 he worked in the system of Academy of sciences of the USSR up to his death, where he occupied main job titles and was the head of a number of important expeditions.

In 1940-43 he a Vice-chairman of the Council on studying production powers of the USSR at the Academy of Sciences (AS) of the USSR and at the same time he was the head of an expedition of the Academy to the European plain and Bashkir oil expedition of the AS.

In 1943-45 he was a deputy director of Institute of Applied geophysics of Oil Department.

In 1945-48 he participated together with academician I.P. Shirshov in creation of an Institute of Ocean Study at the AS USSR as a deputy director. Main aspects of activity: making a branch of the Institute on the Black sea, reception and reequipment of the "Equator" ("Mars") ice-breaker into a worldwide known scientific ship "Vityaz" ("Knight"), organization of geological and diving works on Caspian and Black Seas.

In 1947 he was a deputy chief of the expedition of the AS USSR in Brasilia on "Griboedov" motor ship. Expedition's objective was to study solar eclipse.

    Ushakov, Slepnev
Levanevskii, Ushakov, Slepnev
In 1948-57 G.A. Ushakov worked under the head of academician V.A. Obrutchev as a Scientific secretary of Institute of Geocryology AS USSR.

In 1950 due to numerous statements of outstanding scientists (.Y. Schmidt, V.A.Obrutchev, N.N. Zubov and others) and leading scientific establishments of the country G.A. Ushakov was given the degree of doctor of sciences without a thesis defend.

Since 1952 up to 1955 he was a scientific secretary of the Council on co-ordination of scientific republican academies' activity at the Presidium AS USSR. Since 1957 he was a Merit retiree of Union importance, he continued his work in the Institute of Geocryology AS USSR.

G.A. Ushakov is the author of three books and numerous articles, based on the results of north expeditions: "Vrangel Island Robinsons", "Island of Snowstorms", "On Untrodden Land". Last book was to be given a Stalin purse in 1953.

Ushakov's drawings
Ushakov's drawings
G.A. Ushakov was a talented graphic artist. In arctic expeditions there were series of scetches on ethnography of eskimoes and meteorological phenomena of the North made by him.

Ushakov's name is perpetuated on geographical maps of the world many times: an island in Karskoe Sea; a cape and a village on Vrangel Island; a glacier, a river and a cape on the North Land archipelago; a mountain in Antarctic. In 1999 in the city of Birobijan Ushakov District appeared.

In 1984 the USSR Geographical society and State game reserve on Vrangel Island have erected a monument in Ushakovsky Settlement. Eight memorial plaques have been installed in his native land: in Lazarevskoe Village, in Khabarovsk, in Birobidzhan, on Vrangel Isaland, on the North Land, in the Polarmen House which is a monument of architecture and of Moscow history, built under the direction of G.A. Ushakov. In memory of G.A. Ushakov a memorable medal was made, two post envelopes ("Archangel North Land", "Arctic archipelagoes of Russia - Vrangel Island"). Two ocean-going ships bear G.A. Ushakov's name: a Research ship "G.A. Ushakov" a and motor ship "Ushakov's Island".

Ushakov's tomb
G.A. Ushakov passed away in Moscow in 1963, but was buried on his wish on Domashni Isaland, where the northland expedition based. He wanted to stay for ever in the place where the most outstanding years of his life passed.

"... He is a brilliant successor of great traditions of russian geography science on dareness of realization of new expeditions to the unexplored places of Arctic, on accuracy and abudance of obtained scientific stuff. His geographical studies and discoveries in Arctic are the largest achievements of the 20th century on the study of arctic countries..." (academician V.A. Obrutchev,1950.)

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