Papanin, Ivan

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Papanin, Ivan Dmitrievich


Born Nov. 14 (26), 1894, in Sevastopol’. Soviet arctic explorer. Doctor of geographical sciences (1938); rear admiral (1943). Twice awarded title of Hero of the Soviet Union (June 27, 1937, and Feb. 3, 1940). Member of the CPSU since 1919.

The son of a sailor, Papanin fought in the Civil War (1918–20) in the Ukraine and in the Crimea. From 1923 to 1932 he worked in the People’s Commissariat of Communications. In 1932 and 1933 he directed a polar research station on Tikhaia Bay on Franz Josef Land, and in 1934 and 1935 a polar station at Cape Cheliuskin. In 1937 and 1938 he was in charge of the first Severnyi Polius drifting station (SP-1). From 1939 to 1946, Papanin was chief of the Main Northern Sea Route Administration and from 1941 to 1945 he also supervised naval transport in the north for the State Defense Committee. From 1948 to 1951 he was deputy director for expeditions at the Institute of Oceanography of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. In 1951 he became director of the academy’s department of marine expeditionary work, and from 1952 to 1972 he was also director of the academy’s Institute of the Biology of Inland Waters.

In 1945, Papanin was appointed chairman of the Moscow branch of the Geographical Society of the USSR. At the Eighteenth All-Union Conference of the ACP(B), held in 1941, he was elected a member of the Central Auditing Commission. He was a deputy to the first and second convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.

Papanin has been awarded eight Orders of Lenin, the Order of the October Revolution, two Orders of the Red Banner, the Order of Nakhimov First Class, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, the Order of the Red Star, and also a number of medals. A cape on the Taimyr Peninsula, mountains in Antarctica, and an underwater mountain in the Pacific Ocean have been named in his honor.


Zhizn’ na l’dine. Moscow, 1938.


Vishnevskii, V. V. Geroi Sovetskogo Soiuza Ivan Dmitrievich Papanin. Moscow, 1938.
Kremer, B. A. “Ivan Dmitrievich Papanin.” Meteorologiia i gidrologiia, 1964, no. 12.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.