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Chief Directorate of the Northern Sea Route

Depiction of a northern sea route between Europe and the Pacific

The Chief Directorate of the Northern Sea Route (Northern Sea Route, established in January 1932 and dissolved in 1964.


  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4


The organization traces its roots to AO Komseveroput, a shipping company established by the

  • Barr, W. The Drift of Lenin's Convoy in the Laptev Sea, 1937 - 1938. Arctic, v.33 no.1 (March 1980) p. 4-20 [1]
  • Barr, W. The First Soviet Convoy to the Mouth of the Lena. Arctic, v.35 no.2 (June 1982) p. 317-325 [2]
  • On Russian explorations: [3]
  • 75 years of Northern Sea Route (75 лет Северному морскому пути. Пресс-релиз. ААНИИ, 21.02.2008. Arctic and Antarctic Institute)
  • Biography of G.A. Ushakov at Polar World.
  • The Northern Sea Route at SHIP & OCEAN FOUNDATION
  • The discovery and history of exploration of the Northern Sea Route at The Russian State Museum of Arctic and Antarctic
  • John McCannon, Red Arctic, 1932-1939, ISBN 0-19-511436-1 [4]
  • Red Arctic. Reviewed by Eva-Maria Stolberg. In Search of a Soviet Klondike in the Tundra. [5]


  1. ^ 75 years of Northern Sea Route, p.1
  2. ^ a b Barr 1980, p.4
  3. ^ Barr 1980, p.17
  4. ^ 75 years of Northern Sea Route, p.3
  5. ^ a b 75 years of Northern Sea Route, p.4


See also

A large island at the mouth of the Kolyma River (Mikhalkino) was named Glavsevmorput (or GUSMP) Island in honour of the organization .

In 1953 the organization, previously enjoying the ranks of national ministry, was downgraded to a department within the Ministry of Merchant Fleet. In 1964 the department was dissolved. Its units were reassigned to Ministry of Merchant Fleet, Commission for Meteorology and Ministry of Civil Aviation. The system, however, continued working and reached peak capacity in 1987.[5]

Otto Schmidt, once an extremely highly publicized personality, was spared but demoted to scientific duties; overall management of the organization was assigned to Ivan Papanin, a famous North Pole explorer. Papanin's first season, 1939, was a relatively safe and successful one; the Northern Route was now a functioning regular line, rather than a dangerous experiment.[5]

However, the season of 1937, through a combination of unrealistic plans, bad weather and bad luck, was a disaster.[3] Twenty-five of 64 ships dispatched on the route (many of them not fit for Arctic conditions) were trapped with crews and cargoes in the Arctic winter; one, Rabochiy, sank.[2] The debacle, which coincided with the Dalstroy (land facilities) and Gostorg (foreign trade). Glavsevmorput was to concentrate exclusively on maintaining the Northern Sea route, specifically its coastal shipping line.

[2] Glavsevmorput, in addition to Arctic shipping, also became the

. Mark Shevelev, headed by Aviaarktika, who had previously managed the Arctic Institute (VAI, later AANII). Glavsevmorput had its own Polar Air service Otto Schmidt Overall management was assigned to arctic explorer [1]

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