Society for Water Rescue OSVOD

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Society for Water Rescue (OSVOD)


a voluntary public lifesaving organization. The society’s aims are to prevent accidents, to cooperate in teaching the population, especially children, to swim and perform rescues, to assist the rescue service in every way, to regulate the use of small boats by amateurs, to develop new models of rescue equipment, and to work out problems of water rescue.

The Society for Rendering Assistance in Shipwrecks was founded in Russia in the 1870’s at the initiative of the Kronstadt sailors; its chairman was Admiral K. N. Pos’et. In 1890 it was renamed the Society for Water Rescue, and in 1892 it became the Imperial Russian Society for Water Rescue. Between 1891 and 1917 the society published a monthly journal, Spasanie na vo-dakh, (Water Rescue); 97 districts and 46 divisions of the society were established between 1872 and 1914, with 8,200 members.

In 1918, by a decision of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR, the society was placed under the authority of the Central Board of Water Transport. In 1925 the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR established the Central Committee of the Society for Water Rescue (OSNAV) in the People’s Commissariat of Railroad Transportation. OSNAV’s first congress, held in 1928, ratified the society’s charter and elected M.I. Kalinin as chairman. Between 1930 and 1932 the society published the journal Shturval (The Helm). In 1931, OSNAV was renamed the Union of Societies for Cooperation in the Development of Water Transport and Protection of Human Life on USSR Waterways (Soiuz OSVOD). This organization was abolished in 1943 and the functions of the rescue service transferred to the people’s commissariats of the maritime and river fleets. In 1948 the rescue service was placed under the authority of the All-Union Voluntary Society for Cooperation with the Navy (DOSFLOT), in 1956 it was transferred to the All-Union Voluntary Society for Cooperation with the Army, Air Force, and Navy (DOSAAF), and in 1966 it was assigned to various ministries in the Union republics.

The OSVOD was established in the RSFSR in 1970; by 1974 this branch had 73 oblast, krai, autonomous republic, and city (Moscow and Leningrad) councils. There were 62,000 local organizations with 10 million members, including 2.8 million junior members. The RSFSR OSVOD has a public information bureau, enterprises producing rescue equipment, a central laboratory for developing new types of rescue equipment, and an educational center that directs the methodology of 72 schools and stations for training such specialists as rescue divers and swimming instructors. Between 1971 and 1973 water rescue societies were organized in other Union republics.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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