Samoilovich, Rudolph (Reuben) Lazarevich

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SAMOILOVICH, RUDOLPH (Reuben ) LAZAREVICH (1881–1939), Soviet mining engineer and Arctic explorer. Born in Azov-on-Don, Samoilovich qualified as a mining engineer at Freiberg, Germany, and studied law in St. Petersburg. Twiceconvicted of revolutionary activities, he was exiled to Archangel in 1908 and to Pinega two years later. During the years 1910–15 he joined three expeditions to Spitsbergen, where he discovered high-quality anthracite, and also worked on the Kola peninsula immediately before the Bolshevik Revolution. In 1918 Samoilovich was a founder of what was to become the Leningrad Institute for Arctic Research, which he later headed. His research work took him to the Arctic islands of Novaya Zemlya in 1925–26. He became an international celebrity, however, when he led a Soviet expedition in 1928 to rescue the survivors of General Umberto Nobile's ill-fated Arctic flight in the dirigible Italia. After a voyage of seven weeks Samoilovich, on his icebreaker Krassin, managed to rescue Nobile and eight other members of the original Italian crew of 15, who by then were facing certain death on a rapidly melting iceberg. The operation made headlines throughout the world and Samoilovich was awarded the Soviet Red Banner of Labor. His account of the expedition, S.O.S. v Arktike, was published in 1930, a year after he became a professor at the University of Leningrad. Helater explored Franz Josef Land and in 1931 made a flight over the North Pole in a Soviet airship.


H.P. Smolka, 40,000 Against the Arctic (1937).