On July 3, 1971, the Baltic Shipyard in Leningrad (today's St. Petersburg) laid down the lead ship of Project 10520: the largest USSR project to construct nuclear icebreakers for polar sea exploration. The vessel's main advantage was that it had no need to refuel regularly. This class of icebreakers features a double hull, can break ice while moving forward or backward, and has helipads.
In December 1972, one of these icebreakers, the Arktika, was launched and after three years of sea trials was accepted into service, with the state flag raised aboard
All of this was done to reach a single goal: to prove it was possible to navigate the shortest routes of the Arctic Ocean all year round and to transit the Northern Sea Route. In 1975, it was decided to organize an expedition: USSR Minister of the Maritime Fleet Timofei Guzhenko signed the list of organizational and maintenance measures to prepare the first surface vessel expedition to the North Pole. He headed the expedition himself, fully understanding the risk it carried, and was ready to bear the responsibility in case of failure.