by Valery GLUSHKOV, Dr. Sc. (Tech.), RAS Institute of History of Natural Sciences and Technology named after S. Vavilov
The Sannikov Land was brought to public attention thanks to the publication by Acad. Vladimir Obruchev (1863 - 1956) of a popular science novel bearing the same name.
The novel, however, rests on certain factual evidence, including eyewitness accounts of travelers who visited the Novosibirskye Islands (in the Arctic Ocean, between the Laptev and East Siberian seas) and said they saw some mountainous shores on the horizon.
The central figure of these stories, Yakov Sannikov, was on one side a descendant of Russian "dissidents" of the 17th century who fled from obligatory military conscription and of the Siberian Yakuts on the other side. From 1800 he was the "chieftain" of an "artel" (team) of hunters and diggers for mammoth bones which was financed by a local merchant Syrovatsky. An inquisitive and energetic person, Yakov Sannikov traveled to many remote comers of the northern archipelago in the Arctic Ocean which is called Novosibirsky on modern
Kotelny, that he saw in the north-western direction some mountains towering on the horizon over the sea. A year later, on his journey to the island of Novaya Sibir (which had no official name as yet) he saw some bluish haze over the ocean waves in the north-eastern direction - a sign of some remote piece of dry land. Later on one of the members of the Syrovatskys family traveled all over the Kotelny Island and reported seeing a stretch of "barren land" in the northern direction.
Reports of these and other similar sightings quickly reached the powers that be and were put on the list of major events for the year of 1807 and submitted to Emperor Alexander I. The first person who brought this news to the Russian capital (together with his find of mammoth bones) was a prominent zoologist and botanist, Member (from 1805) of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, Mikhail Adams. He suggested sendi ... Читать далее