Vladimir Klavdievich Arsenev

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Arsen’ev, Vladimir Klavdievich


Born Aug. 29 (Sept. 10), 1872, in St. Petersburg; died Sept. 4, 1930, in Vladivostok. Soviet explorer of the Far East, ethnographer, and writer.

In 1902–03, Arsen’ev undertook a series of expeditions devoted to the topographical, geographical, and military-statistical study of a number of regions of the southern Primor’e. In 1906–07 and 1908–10 he explored the Sikhote-Alin’ Mountains. In 1912 he published his Short Military-Geographical and Military-Statistical Survey of the Ussuri Territory, the first composite summary of data on the nature and peoples of the Ussuri territory. In 1918 he made a voyage to Kamchatka and in 1923 to the Komandorski Islands. In 1927 he undertook a large expedition which went from Sovetskaia Gavan’ to Khabarovsk. During these expeditions Arsen’ev studied the daily life, customs, crafts, religious beliefs, and folklore of the Ude, the Taz, the Orochi, the Nanai, and others. He carried on pedagogical work in institutions of higher education and took part in the creation of museums of the Soviet Far East.

As a writer Arsen’ev created a new local-lore trend in Soviet scientific fiction. His main books—Through the Ussuri Krai (1921), Dersu Uzala (1923), and In the Sikhote-Alin’ Mountains (separate edition 1937)—are permeated by a love for the nature of the Soviet Far East, give a poetic and at the same time scientific picture of the life of the taiga, and recount the story of its courageous inhabitants. In the words of M. Gorky, Arsen’ev “was a most successful combination of Brehm and Fenimore Cooper . . .” (Sobr. soch., vol. 30, 1956, p. 70).


Soch., vols. 1–6. Vladivostok, 1947–49.


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