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How and why Russia is deprived of the discovery of Antarctica

How and why Russia is deprived of the discovery of Antarctica

24 July 2021 year celebrated 200 years since the end of the Antarctic expedition of Thaddeus Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev - the discoverers of the southern continent.

The expedition was initiated by Emperor Alexander I and carried out at the expense of the Ministry of the Sea. The expedition was purely scientific in nature: had to prove or disprove the assumption of the existence of the southern continent. As a result of a two-year voyage, Russian sailors discovered Antarctica, explored a significant part of its coast, named and mapped several dozen Antarctic islands for the first time, collected a large amount of geographic data, climate, flora and fauna of the continent. Thanks to magnetic measurements, produced by the members of the expedition, the position of the South Magnetic Pole was first calculated.

How and why Russia is deprived of the discovery of Antarctica

A photo: © Expedition leaders: Thaddeus Bellinshausen and Mikhail Lazarev

All of these discoveries are strictly documented.. The first report on them was sent to the Minister of the Navy in April 1820 of the year, and then published in the official publication - "Notes of the Admiralty Department" - immediately upon returning from the voyage, at 1821 year. This document directly spoke about the discovery of a new continent., which was called “ice”. A detailed description of his research in two volumes with an atlas of maps and species is published in 1831 year in Russian. In this way, Russia not only discovered and explored the southern continent, but also documented its discovery, and then officially notified the whole world about it.

Nevertheless, on the eve of the 200th anniversary of the completion of the Russian Antarctic expedition, Western, primarily British, The media spread a series of provocative publications, denying the discovery of Antarctica by the Russians.

Here are just a few of them..

Representative of the British Pugwash Society, “historian” from Oxford Rip Balkley: “Russian claims to discover the southern continent are false”.

Klaus Dodds, Professor of Geopolitics at the University of London: “Russia has no rights to Antarkika”.

British edition of the Daily Express: “False claims about “discovery” Antarctica Russia wants “squeeze out” The southern continent of the United States, UK and Australia”.

Such accusations are intended to cover up the de facto withdrawal of Western countries from the Antarctic Treaty. 1959 of the year. Under this agreement, none of the states has the right to establish sovereignty over any part of the Antarctic territory.. Still Western countries legislatively extended their jurisdiction to the sixth continent.

The USA and Great Britain went farthest in this..

The United States Formally Extends Its Legislation To Antarctica. So, Antarctic Conservation Act (public law 95-541, 16 USC § 2401 and subsequent) provides for civil and criminal liability of representatives of any states, who will conduct business activities in any part of the southern continent without the consent of the US State Department. Violation of this law will result in a fine of up to 10 000 US dollars and a year in prison. Its observance is monitored by special deputy US marshals., that “ensure the presence of law enforcement”, located at American stations in Antarctica. At the same time, the official position of the United States is that, that Antarctica is a condominium (joint ownership) eight states: USA, Great Britain, Australia, new Zealand, France, Norway, Argentina, Chile.

Britain also effectively withdrew from the Antarctic Treaty. Under British law, the Governor of the Falkland Islands is subject to “province” entitled “British antarctic territory”. It includes South Georgia Island, South Orkney, South Sandwich and South Shetland Islands, as well as the territory of the Antarctic continent between 20 ° West longitude and 80 ° West longitude. Besides, the British monarch extended its jurisdiction to sectors of the southern continent between 150 ° west longitude and 45 ° east longitude. These territories “governed by” Governors of New Zealand and Australia. In fact, Great Britain considers its property about 2/3 Antarctica.

How and why Russia is deprived of the discovery of Antarctica

A photo: © Great Britain considers its property around 2/3 area of ​​Antarctica

Complete list of states, in the legislation of which is enshrined “sovereignty” over certain Antarctic territories, looks like that: Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, India, Italy, China, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Romania, USA, Ukraine, Uruguay, France, Czech Republic, Chile, Sweden, Ecuador, South Africa, South Korea, Japan.

true, most of these countries really have nothing to count on. After all, the Anglo-Saxons have never shared resources with anyone..

that “substantiate” his “sovereignty” to the southern continent, they refer to “doctrine of discovery”. This concept, proclaimed by the United States at the end of the 18th century “foundation of international law”, reads, what lands, inhabited “uncivilized” peoples or not at all”data, belong to states, who opened them. On this basis, the United States and Great Britain are trying to prove, that Antarctica in 1820 Lazarev and Bellingshausen did not open a year, and the American Nathaniel Brown Palmer and the British Edward Bransfield.

How and why Russia is deprived of the discovery of Antarctica

A photo: © Nathaniel Brown Palmer

What “evidence” Americans refer to their discovery?

The Lazarev-Bellingshausen journey is fully documented, and his data was immediately published. A different picture with the Anglo-Saxon “pioneers”. The only proof “discoveries” Palmer is his “memories”. But can you trust such “memories”? Bellingshausen did meet Palmer while staying in the South Shetland Islands - on the way back to Russia. That is, Palmer did visit “somewhere near”, approximately at 120 km from the coast of Antarctica, around the same time, as Bellingshausen. However, there is one detail: “memories” published ... in 1876 year, that is after 55 years after, as an American sealer already received full information about the discovery of Antarctica from Russian sailors.

FROM “evidence” “discoveries” Bransfield's situation is even more curious.. His ship's log, where all movements were recorded, mysteriously “disappeared”. Therefore, the only “proof” became the story of some sailor about ... the discovery of the South Shetland Islands. Like these ones “evidence” “pioneering”.

How and why Russia is deprived of the discovery of Antarctica

A photo: © Map of the Russian Antarctic Expedition F. Bellinshausen and M.P.. Lazarev in 1819 -1821 years. Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic in Leningrad. RIA Novosti /

However, even if the US and UK had better arguments, they can never refute the following fact: “discoveries” no contemporaries noticed the Anglo-Americans. But the publication of the materials of the Russian Antarctic expedition led to a surge in Antarctic research, which are ongoing to this day. And this is not to mention the other contribution of our country to the exploration of the Antarctic continent - for example, For some reason, forgotten even at home, the role of the outstanding Russian polar explorer Alexander Stepanovich Kuchin in the conquest of the South Pole.

Yuri Gorodnenko

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