Vladimir Arsenyev

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Vladimir Arsenyev

Vladimir Klavdiyevich Arsenyev (Russian: Влади́мир Кла́вдиевич Арсе́ньев) (10 September 1872 – 4 September 1930) was a Russian explorer of the Far East who recounted his travels in a series of books - "По Уссурийскому Краю" ("Along the Ussury land") (1921) and "Дерсу Узала" ("Dersu Uzala") (1923) - telling of his military journeys to the Ussuri basin with Dersu Uzala, a native hunter, from 1902 to 1907. He was the first to describe numerous species of Siberian flora and lifestyle of native ethnic people.

Early life[edit]

Arseniev was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. His father, born a serf, became the chief of the Moscow District Railway. After a military education, Arseniev began his expeditions to the forests of the Far East. He lived in Vladivostok through the years of the Russian Civil War and was a Commissar for Ethnic Minorities (Komisar po delam inrodcheskim) of the independent Far Eastern Republic. After the Far Eastern Republic was absorbed by Soviet Russia in 1922 Arsenyev refused to emigrate and stayed in Vladivostok.[1]

Work[edit]

Arsenyev and Dersu Uzala.
1956 Soviet postage stamp commemorating Vladimir Arsenyev.

Arseniev is most famous for authoring many books about his explorations, including some 60 works on the geography, wildlife and ethnography of the regions he traveled. Arseniev's most famous book, Dersu Uzala, is a memoir of three expeditions in the Ussurian taiga (forest) of Northern Asia along the Sea of Japan and North to Vladivostok. The book is named after Arseniev's guide, an Ussurian native of the Nanai/Goldi tribe. Eventually the book was made into two films, one by Soviet director Agasi Babayan in 1961, the other by Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa in 1975. The latter Dersu Uzala version won that year's Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film. The third book of Arsenyev's trilogy, In the Sikhote-Alin mountains, was published posthumously in 1937.

Personal life[edit]

Arseniev died at the age of 57 in 1930. His widow, Margarita Nikolaevna Arsenieva, was arrested in 1934 and again in 1937 after being accused of being a member of an underground organization of spies and saboteurs allegedly headed by her late husband. The military court hearings of the case (21 August 1938) took only 10 minutes and sentenced her to death. She was executed immediately. Arsenyev's daughter Natalya also was arrested in April 1941 and sentenced to the Gulag.[1]

Arsenyev’s family home in Vladivostok has been made into a museum. Arsenyev, a town located in Primorsky Krai, was named after him.

Bibliography[edit]

  • "По Уссурийскому краю (Дерсу Узала). Путешествие в горную область "Сихотэ-Алинь" (Po Ussuriyskomu Krayu) (Vladivostok 1921), the first book of Dersu Uzala trilogy.
  • "Дерсу Узала Из воспоминаний о путешествиях по Уссурийскому краю в 1907 г. Владивосток" (Dersu Uzala) (1923).
  • "Dersu Uzala" translated by Malcolm Burr as "Dersu the trapper." Kingston, N.Y.: McPherson & Company, 1996.
  • "В горах Сихотэ-Алиня" (In the Sikhote-Alin Mountains), the third book of the Dersu-Uzala trilogy, published posthumously in 1937 [1]
  • "Мифы, легенды, предания и сказки народов Дальнего Востока" (Mify, legendy, predaniya i skazki narodov Dal'nego Vostoka) (Myths, legends, traditions, and fables of peoples of Far East). Monograph Series, International Institute of Ethnolinguistic and Oriental Studies (IIEOS), ISSN 1230-3283 ; 10, ISBN 83-902273-4-7)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Vladimir Klavdievich Arsenyev and his heritage by Sergey Krivoshenko (Russian)

External links[edit]