Krasnov, Andrey Nikolaevich

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Krasnov, Andrey Nikolaevich

(b. St. Petersburg, Russia, 8 November 1862; d. Tbilisi, Russia, 1 January 1915)

geography, geobotany.

Krasrnov’s father was a Cossack general and his mother came from a family of the St. Petersburg intelligentsia. In 1880 he graduated from the Gym. nasium and in 1885 from the natural sciences section of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics at St. Petersburg University. His scientific education was especially influenced by the lectures of Beketov and Dokuchaev. In 1889 he defended his master’s disser. tation on development of flora of the southern part of the Eastern Tien Shan. In 1894 Krasnov defended a dissertation at Moscow University and received the degree of doctor of geography. The subject was grassland steppes of the northern hemisphere.

Krasnov’s scientific and teaching career was con. nected with Kharkov University, where he was professor of geography from 1889 to 1912. He spent the last two years of his life, when he was already seriously ill, creating the botanical garden in Batum, on the Black Sea.

Krasnov’s love of nature began in his childhood, and from his student years he was an ardent world traveler. His travels to foreign countries were sub. stantially aided by his knowledge of modern and ancient languages.

Krasnov considered the main purpose of geography to be the clarification of the mutual relationships of natural phenomena that constitute particular geo. graphical complexes (landscapes) and the explanation of the evolution of the latter through the use of the comparative geographical method. Krasnov found similarities between the flora of the Tien Shan and of Central Russia, and believed contemporary flora of the mountains, steppes, and the Arctic to be the product of the regeneration of a single Palaearctic flora. He presented the flora of each country by the formula

F =f1 + f2 + f3,

with F as the totality of the forms of plants now living; f1 the Palaearctic species that have survived without change to our times; f2 the Palaearctic species that have changed under the influence of the changes in the conditions of life in a given country; and f3 the species that have migrated to the given country in later times. Krasnov distinguished three types of flora, relating them to definite geographic areas. ancient (F = f1), migrating (F = f3), and transformed (F = f2)

Krasnov’s research on the nature of steppe and tropical and subtropical plants occupied an important place in his scientific work. He advanced an original geomorphological hypothesis to explain the absence of forest in the steppes. The flatness of the land causes poor drainage, which in turn is responsible for a surplus accumulation of harmful salts.

Krasnov drew on his wide-ranging knowledge of the countries of the world and his many years of teaching to create the first original Russian university textbooks in geography.


I. Original Works. See “Opyt istorii razvitia flory yuzhnoy chasti vostochnogo Tyan-Shanya” (“An Attempt at a History of the Development of the Flora of the South. ern Part of the Eastern Tian-Shan”), in Zapiski Russkogo Geograficheskogo Obshchestva, 19 (1888); “Geografia kak novaya universitetskaya nauka” (“Geography as a New University Science”), in Zhurnal Ministerstva Narodnogo Prosveshchenia, 261 , sec. 2 (1890); Relef, rastitelnost i pochvy Kharkovskoy gubernii (“Topography, Vegetation and Soil of Kharkov Province”; Kharkov, 1893); and “Iz poezdki na Dalny Vostok Azii. Zametki o rastitelnosti Yavy, Yaponii i Sakhalina” (“From a Trip to the Far East of Asia. Notes on the Vegetation of Java, Japan, and Sakhalin”), in Zemlevedenie, bks. 2-3 (1894).

For further reference, see Travyanye stepi severnogo polusharia (“The Grassland Steppes of the Northern Hemisphere”); in Izvestia Obshchestva Liubiteley Yestestvoznania Antropologii i Ethnogorafii, 81 (1894); Osnovy zemlevedenia (“Bases of Soil Science”), nos. 1-4 (Kharkov, 1895-1899); Chaynye okrugi subtropicheskikh oblastev Azii (“Tea Regions of the Subtropical Areas of Asia”), nos. 1-2 (Kharkov, 1897-1898); Iz koybeli tsivilizatsii (“From the Cradle of Civilization”; St. Petersburg, 1898); Pisma iz krugosvetnogo plavania (“Letters From a Voyage Around the World”; St. Petersburg, 1898); and Pod tropikami Azii (“In the Tropics of Asia”; Moscow, 1956).

II. Secondary Literature. See Professor A. N. Krasnov (Kharkov, 1916); D. N. Anuchin, O Lyudyakh russkoy nauki i kultury, izdani (“On People of Russian Science and Culture”; 2nd ed., Moscow, 1952); and Milkov, F. N., A. N. Krasnov—geograf i puteshestvennik (“A. N. Krasnov—Geographer and Traveler”; Moscow, 1955).

I. A. Fedoseev