Our Notes & References
First edition of this early comprehensive study of Antarctica. Inscribed upon publication by the respectful young author to Evgenii Blizniak, an important Soviet hydrologist and engineer, who took part in some of the most remarkable early projects of the Soviet Union: he was in particular head of construction of the Don-Volga Canal, and in charge of the Soviet administration of the country’s waterways. A scholar too, the much older Blizniak (1881-1958) may well have been one of the supervisors of Lebedev (b. 1930) at the Moscow State University.
Once his studies completed and now an oceanographer, Lebedev participated in the Antarctic whaling flotilla “Slava”, an expedition which began in 1947 and marked the first Soviet forays into Antarctic waters. He was involved in two voyages to the Antarctic on a research whaler in 1953-55, and his observations laid the foundations for the first complex Soviet scientific study of the South polar continent.
Antarktika begins with an overview of the continent’s exploration since the alleged expedition of Fernando de Noronha in 1501 to the summary of the Soviet achievements in the region, including the 1956 construction of Mirny, the first Soviet Antarctic station. The book also includes Lebedev’s own data on whaling collected during the “Slava” expeditions, a notable review of the photographic method of measuring icebergs, complete with a table of measurements, his photographs taken during the trips, two maps showing an underwater terrain of Antarctica and an allocation of scientific stations for the International Geophysical Year. Numerous other images (including portraits of the explorers Bellingshausen, Lazarev, Captains Cook, Amundsen and D. F. Scott) and maps from other scientific works illustrate other chapters on the general features of Antarctic nature, waters of the Southern Ocean, climate, crafts and fauna. It was later published in English (1959) and Spanish (1965).
Lebedev published his extensive research of Antarctica in 1957 (this copy being inscribed on April 16)
Less than a year after the publication of Antarktika, Lebedev joined the Third Soviet Antarctic Expedition: in 1958 he spent the winter in Antarctica as a member of scientific staff of the Observatory in Mirny. He went on to publish many scientific papers and larger works, and became emeritus professor at the Moscow State University.
Evgenii Varfolomeevich Blizniak (author’s inscription on title).