Nikifor Begichev

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Nikifor Begichev

Nikifor Alekseevich Begichev (Bigichev) (Russian: Никифор Алексеевич Бегичев (Бигичев) (February 7 (N.S. February 19), 1874 – May 18, 1927) was a Russian seaman and polar explorer. Twice awarded by the Big Golden Medal of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Born in Tsariov town, Astrakhan Governorate in a family of Volga River fishers. In 1895 called up to the service in the Russian Navy. Three times travelled as a sailor and a boatswain to the The Antilles islands.

He was a participant in Baron Eduard Toll's 1900–1903 Russian Polar Expedition as the bosun of ship Zarya. After the death of Baron Toll, Begichev took part in the research. During this exploring, he has saved the life of his commander- lieutenant Aleksandr Kolchak, the future famous admiral. Walking by the sea ice, Kolchak fell in the split. When Begichev pulled him from the water, lieutenant did not give any signs of live. Begichev took off his dry clothes, and dressed Kolchak. Then to re-animate him, Begichev fired his pipe and put in Kolchak's mouth. Kolchak opened his eyes.

Nikifor Begichev

Later Begichev took part in the Russo-Japanese War. In 1922, at the request of the government of Norway, Nikifor Begichev led a Soviet expedition in search for lost crew members of Roald Amundsen's 1918 expedition on ship Maud Peter Tessem and Paul Knutsen, but he was not successful.[1] Begichev was one of the researchers exploring the Taymyr Peninsula with Nikolay Urvantsev in 1923–1924. During his explorations he surveyed two islands, which have been called after him: Bolshoy Begichev Island and Maliy Begichev Island.

Polar ship Zarya wintering in the Arctic

Nikifor Begichev died during the wintering at the mouth of the Pyasina River. In 1964, they erected a monument to Begichev in a settlement of Dikson.


  1. ^ William Barr, The Last Journey of Peter Tessem and Paul Knutsen, 1919


  • William Barr, Baron Eduard von Toll's Last Expedition: The Russian Polar Expedition, 1900–1903
  • N. Bolotnikov. Nikifor Begichev, Moscow-Leningrad 1949