They, who want to see the human genius in its up most generous struggle against superstition and gloom, should read the history of Arctic travels, should read about men, who met the Unknown with fluttering banners. Nowhere probably the Knowledge was acquired at a higher price of privations, disasters and
These words of the outstanding polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen are also used as epigraph to this issue of our anthology “The Vivid Arctic”.
Mastering, assimilation of the Kola Land by Man began ages and ages, not less than eight thousand years ago. The exploration however, the knowledge, where from are the land and people on it, started shaping comparatively lately. Unfortunately, the Russian brief and capacious term краеведение has no analogue in English. Dictionaries suggest “study of local lore” for it. Край is “land” or “territory”, but it is also “brink” : we are here on the northernmost brink of the European continent. And the verb ведать means not only “to know” but also “to master”, “to manage”. Thus, we are studying, but also managing this land.
Lapland, even in the XIX century, was still a quiet, almost reserved nook of Russia. For most people of our world it was “a land without name and without territory”, as Mikhail Prishvin said, the Russian author, who poeticized the Man in his organic connection with the
However, the iron hand of the XX century at first crossed with its metals the polar circle, reaching the Ocean, and then, after the revolution and the Civil war, an unprecedented “domestication of natural resources” started. Geologists and scientists were followed by trainloads of prisoners and “special resettlers” - the main labour force of the industrial giants in
At the same time, in the twenties, together with the colonization movement, started the exploration one. Eminent scientists and public men Vassily Alymov and Herman Kluege were founders of the “Study of the local lore society” in the Kola peninsula. The range of the Murmansk society activities was highly extensive, from geological and ethnographic expeditions up to organization of museums, sanctuaries and reserves.
Meanwhile however the totalitarian regime was gaining the force in the USSR. And among the first ones who was brought under the knife of purge and repression, were scientists and the environment protectors: they were standing up for saving their “small fatherland”, and this position was incompatible with the ideology of the new State, with dictatorship, militarization, subjugation of Nature and of
After Stalin’s visit to the famous Murmansk Biological station in the Kola Bay, the false “Case of saboteur biologists” was produced. Director of the Station Herman Kluege and other scientists were arrested, the Station was liquidated... Instead, a military base was established, now Polarnyi town.
Among the huge number of “cases”, which are now possessions of openness, was also the “Case on Lapp conspiracy”; the main prisoner at the bar here was the outstanding researcher of local lore Vassily
In 1947 Nickolay Volkov, the outstanding ethnographer, was arrested and died in the camp. His book “Russian Lapplanders” was published only in 1996. Researchers of local lore Nina Hagen-Torn, Vladimir Charnoluskij and other explorers of the Kola Peninsula were torn away from their work in the Kola North by many years of confinement in camps and banishment.
Professor of the Military Medical Academy Sergey Zlatogorov was subjected to repression for negative estimation of sanitary and hygienic state of the industrial units being in construction in the circumpolar North. Did not escape repressions the academician Yevgenij Kreps (follower of the great Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov) and his brother Herman Kreps, founder of the Lapland
Under the load of framed-up “cases” people died, whose only guilt was their talent and sharp-sighted love for their native land. “Wolf-hound age” did exterminate the best representatives of the XX century. These losses were irreplaceable for the science, for nature, for the
Mission of the great New younger generation of the Third millennium is not only to revere the memory of the fallen, but to accept and continue their noble aspirations. Only the cognizing and solicitous love for the native land, for this brink of ours will make possible a long and happy life for all of
The reader will find in this issue of our anthology a number of publications by representatives of this new generation of researchers.
Authorized translation by
Roman A. Kravchenko-Berezhnoy, Phd