Alexander Kuchin - Arctic-fund

Alexander Kuchin

Alexander Kuchin (1888—1913(?)). Born into a family of Pomor seafarers in Kushereka village (Onega District, Arkhangelsk County), Alexander would often sail on his father’s fishing boat as an apprentice since he was 9. In 1903, after Alexander completed his studies at the town school, his father sent him to Tromsø to study Norwegian. The Short Russian-Norwegian Dictionary Kuchin compiled in 1906 for the Russian seafarers, contained some 4,000 entries and a grammar guide. By the age of 15, Kuchin had been to Murman, Novaya Zemlya, Spitsbergen and sailed across the White, Barents, Kara and Norwegian Seas. In 1909, The Arkhangelsk School of Commercial Seafaring, where Alexander studied to become a navigating mate, awarded him with gold medal for excellent academic progress.

In 1910, Kuchin, who was a gifted seaman, was offered to sail together with Roald Amundsen as a navigation officer and ocean scientist. The only foreigner onboard the Fram, Kuchin owed a place on Amundsen’s expedition to his outstanding capabilities and vast knowledge of marine science. He conducted a series of truly unique oceanographic studies during that expedition. Upon his return, Alexander Kuchin was introduced to the King of Norway during the Norwegian Geographical Society Meeting. In 1912, Kuchin accepted the offer from Vladimir Rusanov to join his crew as a captain and ocean scientist for the expedition to Spitzbergen to explore the northern route to the Pacific Ocean. That expedition ended tragically and it is unknown where it became lost. Its traces were found in the 1930s on the coast of Taimyr.