May 24, 2021

Icebreaker Unearthed



Icebreaker Unearthed
An old-timey photograph of the Vaigach. Wikimedia Commons user MPowerDrive

The wrecked Russian icebreaker Vaygach – the first icebreaker to sail the elusive Northern Sea Route. – was recently found in Yeniseysky Gulf in Russia's Kara Sea.

A Russian Geographical Society and Northern Fleet joint expedition made the discovery with the help of an underwater drone. The ship has not been seen since the "Spanish" flu – it was lost in the Yeniseisky Gulf in 1918.

In its short, twenty-year career, the Vaygach discovered Severnaya Zemlya (in 1913) and charted the Eastern Siberian coast. Its first captain was Alexander Kolchak, a polar explorer whose achievements were covered up during Soviet times because he became the "supreme ruler" of an anti-Bolshevik government in Siberia (1918-1920).

The 60-meter steam icebreaker was built in 1909 in the Nevsky Shipyard in Shlisselburg, near St. Petersburg – where the Neva River empties into Lake Ladoga.

Check out the article to see a photograph of the Vaygach going down in 1918, with a surprisingly calm and photogenic crew posing for the camera.

You Might Also Like

Island of Tragic Beauty
  • November 01, 2007

Island of Tragic Beauty

Off the remote northeastern coast of Chukotka lies the severe outpost that is Wrangel Island. Home to polar bears, musk ox and ghosts of wily explorers, reachable only by ice breakers or dogsleds, the island has long been a source of fascination and mystery.
Northern Limits
  • July 01, 2012

Northern Limits

Over the past few years Russia has sought to extend its protection and dominion over the Arctic. But this is not a new pursuit. In fact, this year marks the centenary of several significant explorations of the Russia’s northern boundaries.
The View from Anadyr
  • May 01, 2014

The View from Anadyr

Russia’s renewed interest in the Northern Sea Route is enabled by global warming and mirrors efforts of a century ago.
Moskvarium: Making a Splash at VDNKh
  • January 30, 2021

Moskvarium: Making a Splash at VDNKh

One of the newest VDNKh pavilions is Russia's most dramatic oceanarium, embracing captive orcas even as other countries begin to abandon the practice.
Whatever Floats Russia's Boats
  • January 28, 2021

Whatever Floats Russia's Boats

It’s plain sailing for the Russian Federation along the Northern Sea Route, thanks to melting ice caps.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

800-639-4301
802-223-4955