Cossack Explorers - Alphabetical List - S


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Portrait Person Achievements Image
Anatoly Sagalevich
(born 1938)
oceanographer, submersible pilot, Hero of Russia

From 1979 Sagalevich has been the head of the Deepwater Submersibles Laboratory at the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology. He took part in the construction of the Pisces VIII, Pisces IX and MIR Deep Submergence Vehicles and completed more than 300 submersions as the chief pilot of DSVs. He piloted MIRs during expeditions to RMS Titanic, German battleship Bismarck, Soviet and Russian submarines K-278 Komsomolets and K-141 Kursk, and Japanese submarine I-52. Sagalevich holds the world record for the deepest fresh water dive at 1637 m in Lake Baikal aboard a Pisces in 1990. On August 2, 2007, he was the pilot of the MIR-1 DSV that reached the seabed at the North Pole during the Arktika 2007 expedition.
Rudolf Samoylovich
In 1912 Samoylovich took part in Vladimir Rusanov's geological expedition to Spitsbergen. He was one of the initiators and the first director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute. In 1928 he was the head of the rescue party on the Krasin icebreaker, that saved most of the crew of the Airship Italia of Umberto Nobile. He participated in the polar flight of LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin in 1931 and headed expeditions on the icebreakers Vladimir Rusanov (1932), Georgy Sedov (1934), and Sadko (1936 and 1937–38).
Yakov Sannikov
(1780 – after 1812)
Exploring the New Siberian Islands, in 1800 Sannikov discovered and charted Stolbovoy Island, and then Faddeyevsky Island in 1805. In 1809–1810, he took part in the expedition led by Matvei Gedenschtrom. He discovered Bunge Land and suggested that there was a vast land north of Kotelny Island, thus introducing a theory about the existence of the legendary Sannikov Land.
Gavriil Sarychev^
Russian Admiral, cartographer
In 1785–94 Sarychev took part in the expedition sponsored by Catherine the Great and led by Joseph Billings. Commanding the ship Slava Rossii (Glory of Russia), he mapped the coastline of the Sea of Okhotsk from Okhotsk to Aldoma and many of the Aleutian Islands (especially Unalaska). He also described the Pribilof Islands, St. Matthew Island, St. Lawrence Island, Gvozdev, and King Island. He was in charge of hydrographic research in Russia from 1808 and led the compilation of the Atlas of the Northern Part of the Pacific Ocean in 1826.
Svetlana Savitskaya$
(born 1948)
female cosmonaut, aviator, twice a Hero of the Soviet Union, politician

Savitskaya was the second woman in space (after Valentina Tereshkova) and the first woman to conduct an extra-vehicular activity. She achieved this during the two successful expeditions to the Salyut 7 space station in 1982 and 1984, making her spacewalk on July 25, 1984.
Otto Schmidt
mathematician, astronomer, geophysicist, statesman, Hero of the Soviet Union
In 1932–39 Schmidt was the head of the Chief Directorate of the Northern Sea Route. In 1929–30, travelling on the icebreaker Sedov, he established the first research station on Franz Josef Land, explored the northwestern Kara Sea and western Severnaya Zemlya, discovering a few islands. In 1932 his expedition on the Icebreaker Sibiryakov with Captain Vladimir Voronin made the first non-stop voyage through the Northern Sea Route from Arkhangelsk to the Pacific without wintering. In 1933–34 Schmidt and Voronin led the voyage on the steamship Cheliuskin, that resulted in the loss of the ship and evacuation of the crew. In 1937 Schmidt supervised an airborne expedition that established the first ever drift-ice station, North Pole-1.
Leopold von Schrenck*
zoologist, geographer, ethnographer
Schrenck explored the fauna of the Russian Far East, in Amurland between 1853–54, and on Sakhalin in 1854–55, discovering a number of animals. Later he turned to the study of the native peoples of Russia. He coined the term Paleo-Asiatic peoples and was a director of the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography in St Petersburg.
Georgy Sedov
Russian Navy Captain
In 1909 Sedov led the expedition that described the mouth of the Kolyma River. In 1910 he explored the Krestovaya Bay on Novaya Zemlya. He suggested an expedition to the North Pole and found private sponsors. In 1912 Sedov's ship "Svyatoy Muchenik Foka" (Saint Martyr Foka) sailed north but had to stay for the winter near Novaya Zemlya because of impassable ice. Sv. Foka reached Franz Josef Land then, but had to stop for another winter due to lack of coal. In early 1914, Sedov, sick with scurvy, set off with two companions for the North Pole with the draft dogs. Sedov died near Rudolf Island and was buried there, at Cape Auk. On the way back, at Franz Josef Land, the Sv. Foka rescued the two survivors of the Brusilov expedition, Valerian Albanov and Alexander Konrad.
Pyotr Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky!
geographer, statistician, entomologist
In 1856–57 Semyonov passed through the Altay Mountains, visited the Issyk Kul and came to the then largely unknown Tian Shan Mountains. He was the first European to see the peak of Khan Tengri. He disproved Alexander Humboldt's earlier claims about Tian Shan's supposed volcanic origins. In 1858, he published the first systematic description of the Tian Shan. Half a century later Nicholas II of Russia authorized him to add the epithet "Tian-Shansky" to his last name. For many years Semyonov served as Chairman of Russia's Central Committee for Statistics, where he organized the first Russian Empire Census held in 1897. Semyonov amassed a large collection of the old Dutch masters, which now belongs to the Hermitage Museum, and an insect collection of ca. 700,000 specimens. He was a member of 53 learned societies and headed the Russian Geographical Society for 40 years from 1873 until his death, using this position to encourage the exploration of inland Asia, notably by Nikolai Przhevalsky and Pyotr Kozlov.
Yuri Senkevich
physician, scientist, traveler, TV anchorman
Senkevich participated in the 12th Soviet Antarctic expedition at Vostok station in 1966–67. In 1969 he sailed with Thor Heyerdahl on the Ra papyrus boat, and later on the Ra II across the Atlantic Ocean in 1970. He also sailed with Heyerdahl on another reed boat the Tigris across the Indian Ocean in 1978. In 1973–2003, Senkevich was a host of the "Travelers' Club" show on Soviet Television for a record 30 years, making it into the Guinness Book of Records. He visited more than 200 countries as a journalist and TV anchorman.
Nikolai Severtzov!
In 1857–58, on an expedition to Syr Darya in Central Asia, Severtzov was captured by Kokand bandits and severely wounded. He was freed after a month by the Russian military and continued his studies. In 1865–68 he explored the Tian Shan and Lake Issyk Kul. In 1877–78 he explored the unknown areas of the Pamir Mountains following a route close to the current Pamir Highway as far as Lake Yashil Kul on the Ghunt River. Severtzov wrote a major study of Turkestan zoology called Vertical and horizontal distribution of Turkestan wildlife (1873), which included the first description of a number of animals.
Grigory Shelikhov^
seafarer, merchant
Shelikhov organized commercial trips of merchant ships to the Kuril Islands and the Aleutian Islands starting in 1775. Together with Ivan Golikov, he founded the precursor of the Russian-American Company (the name appeared in 1799 after Shelikhov's death). In 1783–86, he led an expedition to the shores of Russian America, during which he founded the first permanent Russian settlement in North America in Three Saints Bay on Kodiak Island. In 1790 he hired Alexander Baranov to manage fur enterprise in America.
Pyotr Shirshov
oceanographer, hydrobiologist, statesman, Hero of the Soviet Union
Shirshov participated in numerous Arctic expeditions, including the ones on icebreaker Sibiryakov (1932) and steamship Chelyuskin (1934). He was among the crew of the drifting ice station North Pole-1 in 1937–38. In 1942–48, Shirshov was a Maritime Minister of the Soviet Union. In 1946–53, he became the founder and the first director of the Institute of Oceanology of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. He wrote numerous works about plankton in the polar regions and proved that there is life in the high latitudes of the Arctic Ocean.
Gleb Shishmaryov^
Russian Navy officer, circumnavigator
In 1815–18 Shishmaryov accompanied Otto von Kotzebue on his circumnavigation on Rurik, including the visit to Alaska, when they discovered the Shishmaref Inlet. In 1820 he returned to Alaska accompanied by Lt. Mikhail Vasiliev. They explored the coast of Alaska from Kotzebue Sound to Icy Cape and later from Norton Sound to Cape Newenham. St. Lawrence Island was mapped on the return voyage.
Nikolay Shkot*
Russian Navy officer
After being wounded in the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–1855), Shkot served in the Far East. In 1956–63 he explored Sakhalin, the Moneron Island and the coast of Primorsky Krai in the area of Peter the Great Gulf and Nakhodka Bay, making a number of discoveries. He founded a hydrographic post in what is now modern Nakhodka, and was one of the founders of Vladivostok in 1860.
Yuly Shokalsky~
Russian Navy officer, oceanographer, meteorologist, cartographer, geographer
In 1897–1901 Shokalsky researched Lake Ladoga. From 1907 he supervised all oceanographic works in Russia. He coined the term World Ocean. In 1919 he headed the commission that set up time zones in Russia. In 1918–31 he was the head of the Russian Geographical Society and contributed widely to Arctic exploration at this post.
Anatoly Solovyev$
(born 1948)
cosmonaut, aviator, Hero of the Soviet Union
Solovyev holds the world record for the number of spacewalks (16), and accumulated time spent spacewalking (over 82 hours), which he performed during his five spaceflights. In 1988 he traveled on Soyuz TM-5 to the Mir space station and back on Soyuz TM-4. In 1990 he again traveled to Mir and back on Soyuz TM-9, and in 1990 made a similar journey on Soyuz TM-15. In 1995 he got to Mir on Space Shuttle STS-71 and went back on Soyuz TM-21, and in 1997–98 again traveled to Mir and back on Soyuz TM-26.
Mikhail Somov§
geographer, oceanologist, Hero of the Soviet Union
In 1950–51, Somov headed the second drifting ice station, North Pole-2. In 1955–57, he became the leader of the 1st Soviet Antarctic Expedition on the icebreakers Ob and Lena. The expedition established the first Soviet Antarctic station, Mirny, performed some observations and reconnaissance, and researched the oceanography of the Indian Ocean. Somov was also the first Soviet delegate to the international Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research.
Mikhail Stadukhin*
Siberian Cossack leader
In 1643, accompanied by Semyon Dezhnyov, Stadukhin led a group of Cossacks from Indigirka to the east by the Arctic coast. They discovered the Kolyma River and founded Srednekolymsk there. In 1649 he followed by sea the traces of Dezhnyov's and Fedot Popov's expedition to the east, which started earlier in 1648 (and reached the Bering Strait). He learned from the captive natives that two of Dezhnyov's kochi had been wrecked and the crews killed by the natives. Later Stadukhin found the connection of the Kolyma watershed to that of the Anadyr and thus explored the land way to the Chukchi Peninsula, where he found Dezhnyov in 1650. In 1651 Stadukhin set off south and discovered the Penzhin Bay of the northern Okhotsk Sea. He also may have explored the western shores of Kamchatka.
Georg Wilhelm Steller^
botanist, zoologist, physician
In 1734 Steller moved from Bavaria to work at the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences. He traveled trough Siberia, researching its nature, and in 1740 reached Okhotsk and Kamchatka. He joined Vitus Bering on the voyage to North America. The expedition landed in Alaska at Kayak Island in 1741, staying only long enough to take on fresh water. During this time Steller became the first European naturalist to describe a number of North American plants and animals, including the Steller's Jay. On the return journey the expedition was shipwrecked on Bering Island. Here Bering died, and almost half of the crew perished from scurvy. Despite the hardships, Steller studied the flora and fauna of the island in great detail. He collected the only existing detailed observations of the now extinct Steller sea cow, a large sirenian mammal. In the spring the crew constructed a new vessel and returned to Kamchatka, where Steller continued his research. He died on the journey to St. Petersburg, but his journals were published by Peter Simon Pallas and were later used by other explorers, including Captain Cook.

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