How Boris Vilkitsky, having presented to Russia the whole archipelago, finished an era of great geographical discoveries?
on March 6, 1961 in Belgium died counter - the admiral Boris Andreevich Vilkitsky who was called by right “ Russian Columbus “. To follow to the grave the person who finished an era of great geographical discoveries old men - veterans came from emigre organizations. On the Ikselsky cemetery of Brussels the speeches appropriate to a case sounded, the battle flags which faded from time over the coffin covered with the Andreevsky flag trembled on spring wind. Then nobody could assume that in 35 years remains of the nice subjugator of the Arctic will solemnly inter again, and there will be it in St. Petersburg where Boris Andreevich will pass away near graves of the father and brother.
It should be noted that on the map of the Arctic a surname “ Vilkitsky “ nine times - seven in honor of Andrey Ippolitovich (father) and two in honor of Boris Andreevich meet. Agree that similar happens not often. There is no revolution, civil war and expatriation, Boris Vilkitsky " still more than once; it was noted “ on the card, but the destiny disposed differently.
Boris Vilkitsky was born on March 22 (on April 3 on N of page) 1885 in Pulkovo town near St. Petersburg where his father, the officer of hydrological service, passed geodetic practice at Pulkovo astronomical Observatory during this period. When time to choose a profession approached, the young man had no doubts, he decided to go in the footsteps of the father long ago - to become the officer of the Russian military fleet. Years of study in Sea military school flew by quickly, and in 1903 the warrant officer Vilkitsky on a battleship “ Crown Prince “ went to the Far East as a part of 1 - y the Pacific squadron.
The young officer received baptism of fire to the Port - Artur. The warrant officer Vilkitsky bravely was at war what four fighting awards testify to. In one of the last fights when the fate of fortress was almost predetermined, headed a bayonet attack of seamen, having beaten out Japanese from the position which is just captured by them. For Vilkitsky it was the last attack of that war, from fight he was taken out fainted from a severe wound in a breast.
After capitulation the Port - Artur Vilkitsky some time was in captivity, then among wounded was repatriated to Russia. After recovery came to Sea academy. Upon termination of academy was engaged in hydrographic researches on Baltic and the Pacific Ocean. But to independent positions was not given assignments as the father who was during this period the chief of the Head hydrographic department did not agree to nominate the son to the opening vacancies - scrupulousness, rare for those times.
Only after death of the father in February, 1913 Boris Vilkitsky who was already flagman navigator of a staff of the commander of naval forces of the Baltic Sea and the captain 2 - go a rank, was appointed the commander of the icebreaking steamship “ Taimyr “ the Arctic Ocean entering Hydrographic expedition. Expedition as a part of two ice breakers worked in northern waters since 1910. Some time by the icebreaking steamship “ Vaygach “ in it A. V. Kolchak, future Supreme governor of Russia ordered.
At the end of June, 1913 expedition came out Vladivostok, before it the most difficult task melted - for the first time to pass to Europe the Northern Sea Route. Soon the chief of expedition general I. S. Sergeyev who was urgently sent to the coast was seriously ill. Vilkitsky received the order on radio to assume command of expedition, remaining also the captain “ Taimyr “. Boris Andreevich did not expect such appointment as had no experience of swimming in northern waters, but its nomination was supported by the sea minister I. K. Grigorovich who was the commander “ Crown Prince “ when on a battleship Vilkitsky served. The naval management had not to regret for the choice, expedition coped with objectives brilliantly.
This swimming was not for expedition a lung and whether there are easy swimmings in the north? By the end of summer, having executed large volume of various hydrographic researches, expedition came out in waters to the north of Chelyuskin`s cape. On cards the ocean smooth surface was in these parts specified, but on August 20 from the ships saw a small strip of the earth. The new island was plotted, having named it Crown Prince Alexey.
Opening forced to remember legendary Earth of Sannikov which was allegedly seen in 1811 a zveropromyshlennik Yakov Sannikov and in 1885 the researcher of the Arctic Eduard Toll. But according to them this earth had to be to the east. Vilkitsky decided to pass on the North further away and was not mistaken. In the morning on August 22 from the ships saw the high rocky coast which was far leaving both to the right, and to the left. It was some large island stretching far for the North.
On the island hoisted the Russian colors, and Vilkitsky read the order on accession of the open earth to Russia. Researches showed that it is not just the island, and the enormous archipelago from four big and sets of small islands with a total area of 38 thousand sq. kilometers. Originally the archipelago wanted to call by the oddish name “ Taiwai “ on the first syllables of names of ice breakers. But on radio to Vilkitsky “ explained “ an inaccuracy of such decision, and seamen called islands Earth of the emperor Nicholas II.
This year Vilkitsky did not manage to pass in the Northern way to Europe, but the discovery made by its expedition became epoch-making, it was the latest large geographical discovery on the planet. Wrote newspapers of the whole world about opening of the new archipelago, to Vilkitsky telegrams with congratulations from the largest geographers and travelers came. The Russian geographical society handed it the Konstantinovsky medal - the highest award. For participants of expedition founded a special breastplate, presented officers to awards, and Boris Vilkitsky Nicholas II made in a court rank a wing - the aide-de-camp.
The next year Vilkitsky`s expedition came out in swimming in June, after the beginning of war. The task was former - to pass the Northern Sea Route, but now its importance repeatedly increased. The northern way for Russia was the only sea route on which the enemy ships and submarines could not get. For summer navigation it was not succeeded to pass all planned route. In the Kara Sea the ships got to continuous ices and rose on wintering. The way could be continued only at the beginning of the next summer. Only in August, 1915 the ships came to Arkhangelsk. For the first time in the history the Northern Sea Route was passed from the East on the West.
War not the best time for expeditions. The captain 1 - go a rank Vilkitsky asked to direct it to order a destroyer. Was at war on Baltic, it was awarded by a gold St. George`s Weapon “ For bravery “. After revolution served in the Head hydrographic department. At the beginning of 1918 to it charged to head expedition for studying of a possibility of delivery on the Northern Sea Route of bread from Siberia. But expedition went to a way already at Provisional government of Northern area which was headed by the general Miller. In 1919 Vilkitsky was made in counter - admirals, and the next year several ships under its team evacuated the remains of groups of Miller to Norway. From this year for Boris Andreevich life in the foreign land began.
It is curious that in the Soviet Russia Vilkitsky was remembered and as the enemy did not consider as formally he did not participate in military operations. He was even invited to head the fourth and fifth Karskiye expeditions which were organized for delivery of industrial goods to Siberia and export from there food. Upon completion of the last expedition he refused to remain in Russia and in 1925 finally left the country.
Vilkitsky returned home after death to be solemnly buried on the Smolensk cemetery of St. Petersburg.
In due time in a friendly circle he sometimes joked, speaking about himself: “ I am the last, but the first “. It and remained in the history as the traveler who finished an era of great geographical discoveries, and the seaman, the first passed the Northern Sea Route.