Chelyuskin Expedition Monument to be erected in St. Petersburg

Chelyuskin Expedition Monument to be erected in St. Petersburg

A monument honoring members of the expedition aboard the SS Chelyuskin, a ship with icebreaker capabilities, will be unveiled in Uldelny Park, called Chelyuskin Expedition Park in 1934-1991, in St. Petersburg. The announcement was made during a roundtable discussion on the history of Russian achievements in the Arctic, hosted by the Russian Historical Society in its House.

“While preparing to mark the upcoming 90th anniversary of the Chelyuskin expedition’s rescue in February 2024, the Russian Historical Society contacted the Governor of St. Petersburg and suggested installing a monument in the Northern Capital. Alexander Beglov supported this proposal, and we are now jointly studying the issue of installing the new monument in Udelny Park, formerly Chelyuskin Expedition Park,” Chair of the Russian Historical Society Sergei Naryshkin said during the discussion.

Deputy Governor of St. Petersburg Boris Piotrovsky, who also attended the event, said that the municipal government was ready to provide comprehensive assistance in installing the monument. He also suggested naming several local streets after famous polar explorers.

“We suggest naming the public garden on Pilot Pilyutov Street in honor of members of the Chelyuskin expedition,” Deputy Governor Piotrovsky said. (Editor’s Note: Pyotr Pilyutov was also involved in rescuing members of the Chelyuskin expedition).

He mentioned another garden near Zanevskaya Square and suggested also naming it in honor of the ship’s passengers, as well as a public garden on Bering Street near the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.

“Members of our toponymical commission can quickly name the local public garden in honor of Chelyuskin expedition members,” Boris Piotrovsky added.

The Chelyuskin Expedition denotes the passengers of the SS Chelyuskin, which was supposed to sail from the White Sea into the Pacific Ocean, via the Northern Sea Route, during the short summer navigation season, thus repeating the heroic voyage of the crew of the icebreaker Sibiryakov, the first ship to accomplish this objective. During their experimental voyage amidst sea ice formations, the expedition was to prove that icebreakers and freighters could navigate the Northern Sea Route.

On February 13, 1934, the SS Chelyuskin was crushed by ice floes in the Chukotka Sea, killing one man. In all, 104 expedition members, including 10 women and two children, were stranded on ice in the open ocean. It took two months to return them to the mainland. The rescue of the legendary ship’s crew and passengers became one of the most heroic and moving episodes of the Soviet era.