(Aug. 14) — A Russian expedition returned from Arctic waters this week with new information on one of the country’s most enduring mysteries: the fate of Georgii Brusilov’s expedition aboard the ship St. Anna, which sailed from the northern port of Archangelsk in August 1912 in a bid to become the first Russian ship to negotiate the Northern Sea Passage to the Pacific Ocean. It never made it.
Halfway through, in the Kara Sea, the ship was frozen fast in pack ice that began to draw it implacably northward. The crew endured two winters at the mercy of the shifting ice. In early 1914, with the vessel apparently drifting ever closer to the North Pole, the navigator, Valerian Albanov, had had enough. With part of the crew, he embarked on a grueling march over the ice, of which he was one of only two survivors. The St. Anna itself, along with the remaining crew, disappeared.
Vladimir MelnikEvgenii Fershter, center with some of his team, first started planning an expedition to find the Saint Anna in 2005.That basic tale, recounted in Albanov’s celebrated memoirs, was the source for Veniamin Kaverin’s novel “Two Captains,” known to every Russian child and twice adapted for the screen….