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Kamchatka Territory: Encyclopedia Arctica 10: Soviet North, Geography and General
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur, 1879-1962

Kamchatka Territory

Form for receipt of article "Kamchtaka Territory"
66pp Mandel
22,500 words
KAMCHATKA OBLAST (Region or "State"), with approximately 100,000 people in [: ] an area of
[] 445,289 square miles, is the Soviet territory facing Alaska. The population has grown from 9,677 in 1926 and 28,800 in 1933 It includes the Kamchatka Penin–
sula 750 miles long, with 19 active volcanoes, and the northeastern Asiatic mainland, terminating in the Chukot sk Peninsula, up
to the Arctic Ocean. Administratively, it includes the Chukchi and Koriak National Okrugs (q.v.). On the west it is bounded by the Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist
Republic (q.v.) and by the Magadan-Kolyma mining counties (raion) of Khabarovsk Territory (Krai).
Almost half the population is in Petropavlovste (q.v.), which grew from 1,691 in 1926 to 45,000 in 1947.
Administratively, Kamchatka Oblast is also part of Khabarovsk Territory, for, like
Alaska prior to the building of the Al-Can Highway and, for the most part, even today,
it is, for all practical purposes, an overseas possession. That is to say, virtually
all its supplies come from [: ] Vladivostok by sea,
a distance of 1,500 miles, just as [: ] Alaska is supplied from Seattle. In both cases the reason is Arctic, i.e.,
omit a combination of natural conditions peculiar to the Far North: cold, snow, ice, perma–
frost, a short growing season, excessive difficulties in construction - all of which
science has but recently learned or is still learning to overcome, and which have so
retarded the populating of these territories that the construction of a railroad to
either of these territories Kamchatka or Alaska has been, or appeared, uneconomical. In both cases [: ]
human economic [: ] , political and social organization has at various times advanced, and
at others, retarded, the progress of the territory.
The comparison between Kamchatka and Alaska has been made for a number of reasons.
One is, simply, to demonstrate the place of Kamchatka in a study of the Arctic, although
it comes down to 51° N., and lies chiefly below the Circle. Like Alaska, it has large
areas both [: ] north and south of the permafrost line, the tree line, and the ice-packpack-ice line.
Like Alaska, it contains includes anomalous vegetation zones: the sheltered valley of the Kam–
chatka River contains the tallest natural grasses to be found anywhere in the Soviet
Union. [: ] Like Alaska, it contains has ports - Petropavlovsk and Ust–
Bolsheretsk, which can be reached the year round, although this has been done regularly
only in the past decade. But, by a number of criteria, geographic, climatic and historical, Kamchatka is distinctly an
Arctic land. The simplest proof of this is that, during the winter, which occupies most of the year –
7 ½ months - the only means of surface transport is by dog or reindeer-sledge. Dog trans–
port predominates in the south, reindeer in the north. The reliance upon these primitive
forms of transport stems chiefly from the fact that the Kamchatka Peninsula has the
heaviest snow-fall on earth. In bad years (agriculturally-speaking) the ground will be snow-covered as late as July. This is caused by the precipitation of evaporated moisture <formula> 1,153,300 3861 ﹍ 11533 69198 92264 34599 ﹍ 44528913 </formula>

Kamchatka Oblast

from the Arctic-type Sea of Okhotsk by the two-to-three-mile-high mountain range that
runs the entire length of the peninsula. Temperature factors result in this precipita–
tion taking the form of snow rather than rain. These are, in turn, a result of the
[: ] presence of the mountainous Kamchatka peninsula itself, which makes the Okhotsk
Sea, although an arm of the Pacific, virtually an enclosed continental body of water
under Arctic conditions. This [: ] effect upon that sea if furthered by the presence of islands:
Sakhalin Island in the south, [: ] blocking the warm waters of the Sea of Japan from
modifying those of the Okhotsk, and vice versa.
the Kuriles in the southeast,
reducing interchange of waters with the Pacific.
The extraordinary snowfall on the Kamchatka Peninsula, resulting in an Arctic
behavior pattern on the part of human beings - sledge travel, absence of agriculture
until most recently, etc. - has the effect of causing certain non-Arctic phenomena. By
insulating the earth against [: ] long-lasting [: ] sub-freezing temperatures,
the snow prevents the formation of permafrost on the southern half of the peninsula,
The same factors - insulation and moisture - encourage heavy forestation and lush growth
of grass. By the same token, the long period required for natural melting of so thick
a snow cover shortens the growing season before the onset of frosts unduly , and prevented
the cultivation of grain until artificial means of melting the snow - covering it with
dark-colored volcanic ash - was introduced a [: ] dozen years ago.
The very fact that the Kamchatka Peninsula is attached to the mainland at its
northern, rather than its southern extremity, contributes to its Arctic character from
the viewpoint of human activity. In the first place, as shall be seen in our treatment
of its history, it was discovered, and, half a century later, conquered by Russians
coming [: ] southward from the Arctic coast in boats along the shore and overland [: ]
[: ]
[: ] Secondly, the possibility of its being transferred from an Arctic - or sub-Arctic –
region to a non-Arctic by virtue of railroad building and attendant development, as has
occurred at Winnipeg in the past half-century, is rendered remote by the enormous [: ]
[: ] semi-circular route a rail line must follow
[: ] around the Okhotsk Sea coast before Kamchatka is reached. By
way of example, such a railroad would have to be three times as long as that built by
the Soviet Union into the high European Arctic, north of the Circle, to the oil and coal
of Ukhta and Pechora, during World War II.
In American terms, a railroad From Komsomols K
on the Amur (now head of rail) would have to be twice as long as the one proposed from Prince George to Nome.
These geographic and climatic factors have combined with others of [: human nature]

Kamchatka 0b

arising out of Russian and world history, economic, political, diplomatic and military,
to give Kamchatka a typically Arctic history. That is to say, it is an area discovered
by Europeans at a fairly remote period (for example, earlier than Alaska, which was dis–
covered from Kamchatka), but fundamentally undeveloped to the present day. Moreover,
there was really no lasting development at all until the past generation. In the narrowest and
strictest sense, this was an exploited area: everything going out and nothing coming in.
The Russians stripped the country of furs, virtually exterminating the sea otter and
the sable. Americans slaughtered the vast herds of whales en masse within Russian terri–
torial waters, almost depriving that country of the further use of that resource. The
Japanese, having won the this right to fish in Russian waters in the Russo-Japanese War of [: ] 1904-05, netted
salmon on their way to spawn in such vast numbers that, after only 35 years, a drop in
the expected catch has been noted.
To enable the natives to catch the furs and walrus (for ivory) that they wanted,
the Russians and Americans provided them with guns and some other manufactures - tobacco
and rum not least among them - but also infected them en masse with syphilis and other
contagious diseases. [: ] Kamchadals, Oduls, Yukagirs and others, "whose campfires
once outshone the stars in the sky", were slaughtered by conquest, [: ] disease [: ]
[: ] and fish famine (another evidence of an Arctic culture pattern is dependence ex–
clusively upon products of the sea or reindeer for food) so that, as late as 1946,
Soviet personnel coasting down the Kamchatka River in a dugout saw [: ] abandoned
sites where settlements of 300 to 500 had existed a quarter century earlier, and met
not a soul over stretches of 30 miles in a sheltered, timbered valley.
The Itelmen (Kamchadals)
declined from 20,000 to 2,000 from the middle of the 18th to the middle of the 19th century.
Not only [: ] did the various North Pacific powers plundered, [: ]
[: ] northeasternmost Asia, but their [: ] mutual rivalries and quarrels
with non-Pacific powers hindered its development. When Russia lost the Crimean War, it
withdrew from Kamchatka in every active sense because Petropavlovsk had been proven
in battle to be vulnerable to an Anglo-French squadron. The Russians did not return until loss
of another war - that with Japan, half a century later - compelled the erection of some
means of communications and the stationing of some officials on Kamchatka in view of
the coming of the Japanese to the fisheries. But neither the natives nor the local
economy derived any significant benefit from the new radio station, telegraph line or officialdom.
Perhaps the most devastating commentary on 250 200 years of Tsarist rule is that, in 1926,

Kamchatka 0b.

when the first census was taken by the Soviets four years after they came to power in
this outlying area, [: ] the total population of the Kamchatka territory was 30,000,
of whom 5,000 were Russians and the rest native.
Nevertheless, to regard the entire history of northeastern Asia as negative until
the last quarter century is, in effect, to regard that as being the case for almost all
Arctic and sub-Arctic territories everywhere in the world, and to ignore the role this
area played in the economies of non-Arctic countries. The coming of the Russians to the
North Pacific in 1648-1741 (Dezhnev to Bering) brought vast territories on both conti–
nents within the ken of civilized mankind for the first time in history. The furs they
extracted were not only decorative, but provided warm clothing in areas that needed it,
and a source of income for merchants and rulers like Peter the Great, who used it in
such efforts as the building of St. Petersburg. [: ]
[: ] The reindeer sledge-routes they [: ] traced from the Lena to the Okhotsk Sea
paved the way for a trade in which the natives of the northeast [: ] acquired the use
of iron, [: ] sugar and hunting guns. Two centuries after the Russians began this com–
merce, Yankee whalers appeared in amazing numbers 154 ships in (1849). They The provided the world of the
pre-petroleum era with the best oil it knew, [: ] Representing a flour–
ishing capitalism past the stage of plunder to accumulate capital - which was the essence
of [: ] stagnant Tsarism's attitude toward the Northeast - their attitude
toward the natives was that of the merchant rather than the taker of tribute (the more
so as this was Russian territory and open exactions by foreigners were out of the ques–
tion). Whatever evil they brought in disease and drunkenness, they also brought a suf–
ficiency of commodities of various types to cause the Chukchi of the Far Northeast de–
finitely to prefer them and their language to that of an Empire which, having performed
a remarkable feat of unifying far-flung territories, was now marking time in the bonds
of serfdom and absolute monarchy.
The role of the Japanese was different again. The last to appear on the scene in
numbers, they were [: ] more advanced industrially than America had been
half a century earlier when the whalers had been active here, and also more advanced
than Russia, which had just pushed rail to the Pacific and was barely beginning to en–
gage in shipping thereon. The Japanese fisheries and canneries on the Kamchatka coast
marked the arrival of modern industry there. Those enterprises may have been of less than

Kamchatka 0b.

no value to the native and Russian inhabitants (except in teaching the trade to the latter)
but they provided a greatly increased supply of food to the people of Japan, of China,
Southeast Asia and even Britain, to whom the Japanese sold the produce of the Kamchatka
banks, and, in the form of luxury foods (crab) to the United States.
The latest stage in the history of northeasternmost Asia dates, at least officially,
from 1922, when the Soviets came to power on Kamchatka. Actually, it was 1928 before they
were in a position to dispatch any number of competent personnel to the area: doctors,
teachers, scientists and laborers capable of erecting permanent buildings in the farth–
est north. By 1930 they had learned enough about the native peoples to distinguish
their areas of nomadic wandering with accuracy, and to establish National Okrugs (Areas)
with the first native governments known. [: ] By 1931 they had put enough ships into
these waters and enough commercial agents on land to dispense with the services of the
last important foreign trader-concessionaire in this area, Olaf Swenson, an American.
For the first time there was a budget which [: ] put something into the area –
schools, veterinaries for reindeer and dogs, doctors, weather stations. Agriculture
was multiplied 600-fold, that is, from a few acres of experimental crops to very con–
siderable truck farms at all fisheries, the one town, the one lumber-mill, the fish–
hatchery, all trading posts, "cultural bases", polar weather stations, and the like.
Natives were taught modern skills, and banded together into reindeer-breeding, walrus–
hunting and fishing cooperatives. Year-round airlines were opened, and shipping was extended
with the aid of icebreakers, radio, navigation markers and new vessels and ports.
Where Tsarist Russia had explored, conquered and exacted tribute for the develop–
ment of a far land west of the Urals; where the Yankee and Scandinavian Americans had
whaled and traded for the benefit of a land east of the Pacific and traded for what profit could be
gained; where the Japanese had fished under a State capitalist set-up (government-encour–
aged monopoly) for the benefit of a land to the South and its world commerce; the Soviets
placed the resources of a [: ] socialist and planned economy behind the all-round
prospecting, education, economic development and social advancement of an immensely–
rich territory and [: ] peoples singularly well-adapted to [: ] living under its natural
conditions. Direction into this area of a selected, small portion of the wealth and skills
of 200,000,000 people is laying has laid the foundation for the profitable utilization of resources
beyond the capacity of private capital to develop. Thus, whereas, from as early as 1910 1861

Kamchatka 0b.

to as late as 1934, informed Russians in the Far East pointed with envy and frank admiration
to the American development of Alaskan population, reindeer breeding and other industries,
the situation has been reversed during the past 15 years. Yet, in actuality, the history of
Kamchatka under the Soviets began to be written only in 1945, when the defeat of Japan can–
celled the Portsmouth Treaty of 1905, giving that country fishing concessions in Russian
waters and on the Russian coast. Whereas considerations of defense had compelled the Rus–
sians to spur certain developments because of the very presence of the Japanese, it was
obviously ridiculous to go all-out in investments [: ] that Japan could have [: ]
[: ] blockade by naval action in the absence of a
railroad, and could probably have captured. Now that that factor [: ] has been eliminated,
the road to the development of Kamchatka is wide open.
It would appear, however, that before turning to an [: ] all-out effort to master
Kamchatka, the Soviet authorities are busily correcting a mistake made by Tsarist Russia in
the lands to the south: the Kurile Islands and southern Sakhalin. One reason for Russia's
loss of the latter and abandonment of the former (Russia exchanged its claims to the Kurile's for southern
Sakhalin in 1875 and lost the latter in the Russo-Japanese War) was failure to populate
them. The preponderance of published news from the Soviet Pacific maritime territories since the
end of World War II has had to do with the arrival of, and deeds of, settlers on southern
Sakhalin and the Kuriles. What is more, these territories, which, immediately after the
war, were subject to Khabarovsk Territory, as was Kamchatka, have now been separated out as
an Oblast directly under Moscow. However, pamphlets whose purpose [: ] is to encourage settle–
ment on Kamchatka have been published since the war. They have been directed chiefly at
fishermen, indicating that the immediate need was for personnel to operate the fisheries
from which the Japanese had been ousted. For the present, however, Kamchatka remains Arctic
in terms of human activity in the same sense as do all the northern territories of the
Asiatic USSR beyond road-reach of the Trans-Siberian Railroad: It is served by the Northern
Sea Route and its intensive development still lies in the future.

[: ]
Kamchatka

[: ]
HISTORY
I. Discovery
As with the great voyages of discovery made by west Europeans in the 15th and
16th centuries, the remarkable overland marches made by Russians in the 16th and 17th,
culminating in the attainment of the Pacific coast from [: ] Bering Strait to
the Amur River, resulted from economic compulsions inherent in Russian society at that
period. Feudal regionalism having been overcome by Ivan the Terrible, commerce was
flourishing, and private merchants and the Treasury both sought ever new sources of
income via the acquisition of new areas providing materials for commerce and markets
for the goods available for sale. As early as the XVth Century certain Siberian [: ]
tribes had been subjected to the Grand Duke of Moscow Muscovy. In the 16th century
the interest of Moscow merchant capital in Siberia as a colony was intensified. This
policy found its [: ] most effective advocates and executors in the Stroganov family
of colonizers and exploiters of natural resources, furs in the first place. The central
government had granted them feudal rights [: ] in the collection of tribute and the orga–
nization of military defense of the areas they held. This armed "defense against the
natives" on their own land was a clear expression of the frank policy of unconcealed, forc–
ible colonial expansionism.
This policy required an armed force capable of carrying it out. A number of factors
combined to [: ] make such a force available. A severe impoverishment of the Russian
peasantry in the 16th Century, the growing burden of taxes and feudal services, end–
less wars with their oppressive consequences, the large-scale seizure of crown lands
previously occupied by the peasantry [: ] to be granted to the class of military servi–
tors, the outrages attendant upon constant feudal squabbles and frequent crop failures
resulted in an intensified flight of serfs from central Russia and the gathering of
masses of such peasants on its [: ] southern and eastern frontiers (i.e., the Ural ?
River). To In addition to the peasants, free and runaway serf, there were the free
Cossacks of similar origin, hunters, serving and fighting men, adventurers, and pioneer–
ing merchants and fur-traders. These elements comprised the human material for the
armed bands - they were little more - who were the means of conquering [: ]
northern Asia to the Pacific. They pushed eastward in search of riches, furs being the
chief form, of pardons and favors from the Tsar. They won out over the natives because

Kamchatka History

they represented a higher form of human society, capable of making better tools and
weapons - however primitive by today's standards; better organized militarily and
economically - however much a rabble they look from the vantage-point of the 20th
century; and able, therefore, to provide a livelihood for a larger number of human be–
ings from the materials at hand, thus ensuring retention of the conquered territories
by making them sustain a larger population, in the last analysis through agriculture,
than the natives could through hunting and nomadic cattle-raising.
The eastward movement of these freebooters began in the 16th century. Defeating
the natives, they opened the way to occupation by the military governors appointed by
the Tsars, who consolidated the fruits of conquest. By 1583, the official historical
date for the conquest of (western) Siberia by Yermak, Russian possessions actually ex–
tended far beyond the "Big Stone" (Ural Mts.). It is of interest that all during this
period, and for half a [: ] millenium prior thereto, the chief road of conquest was
by water along the Arctic coast and the northern tributaries and portages between the
great northward-flowing rivers. At the beginning of the 17th century, after all west–
ern Siberia had been taken, the conquerors reached the shores of the Yenisei, entered
a new high plateau and mountain land and emerged upon the next huge river, the Lena.
The native peoples resisted everywhere, but were no match for the Russians, who, like
the conquistadors, were few in number, but superior in organization and armament.
Following the Cossacks came a permanent population of hunters, fur traders and
f g armers, some on their own initiative, and others moved by the government. To protect
them - exactly as was the case with the western movement of the frontier in the United
States - forts and stockades were built.
The fourth decade of the 17th century marked the culmination of this process
in continental Siberia, both north and south. In 1643-46 Vasili Poiarkov and his exped–
itionary force reached the Amur and the coast of the Okhotsk Sea, while simultaneously
(1643-44) Stadukhin's Cossacks, seeking pursuing "tribute of fur for the Tsar and seeking new
lands" reached the last important northward-flowing river of Siberia, the Kolyma. From
there the Russians pushed on to the land of the Chukchi and the basin of the Anadyr,
i.e., the northern portion of today's Kamchatka Oblast.
In 1648 a party of Cossacks set sail along the Arctic coast from the mouth of the
Kolyma, pushing eastward and into "various rivers en route, to seek new people not yet

Kamchatka 0b.

History [: ] ( continue from top of page [: ] )
A territory as extensive as northeast Asia, presenting so varied and difficult an
[: ] expanse of terrain and water, roadless and thinly inhabited, could hardly be en–
compassed by the Russians at one swoop. Nor did its acquisition lack variety in means and
forms. Private initiative competed with government-outfitted expeditions, and the un–
concealed desire for plunder was interwoven, at least from the time of the Bering Expedi–
tions, with selfless scientific striving for knowledge.
The first discoveries in this area resulted from the initiative of private persons –
northern merchants, usually from the Arkhangelsk (q.v.) area, who had both experience and a
taste for pioneering for furs in the Far North. Either directly or through their agents
at Yakutsk, they hired Cossack hunters, [: ] by offering them a share in the
proceeds, outfitted them and sent them forth to unexplored territories. Each [: ]
expedition culminated in the founding of a fortified outpost, and, within a few years,
new parties were being sent forth from it. The courage of these conquerors was as strik–
ing as their cruelty, for, numbering only a handful of men to each party, they covered
vast distance in boats that were mere cockle-shells. Had they come as peaceful traders,
this would have been understandable, but they undertook, in all cases, to subject the
natives to Russian rule and compel them to pay tribute. True, their courage was bolstered
by the knowledge that they possessed guns that could outclass any native weapon, and
their means of exacting tribute was that of taking hostages, so that the natives came to
them and it was not they who had to scour the countryside.
The Dezhnev Expedition which discovered the northern portion of present-day Kam–
chatka Oblast - the mainland between the peninsula and the Arctic Ocearn the easternmost portion of Arctic Asia - fell into just
the pattern described above. It was financed by the merchant Fedot Alekseev, who took
his risks with the rest of the party and was not fated to reach his goal. Its means of
transport consisted of flat-bottomed, open boats (kochi) which [: ] moved under sail when
possible and always strove to hug the shore. Moving east from the mouth of the Kolyma
River, Dezhnev lost boat after boat, with most of his men, but pushed on nonetheless.
Rounding the cape marking the limit of the Asiatic continent - a point of land which now
bears his name - he pushed south and west, thereby resolving, without being aware of it,
their greatest geographic question of his day, the question as to whether or not there

Kamchatka

was a land bridge between Asia and America. Reduced to only a dozen men, Dezhnev was fin–
ally blown ashoare a little south of present-day Anadyr. Hungry and barefoot, in a strange
land amidst unknown people (the Chukchi), he proceeded, nevertheless, to attempt to con–
quer them. Levying tribute from those he met, he emerged on a large river, sailed up it
500 miles, and founded the Anadyr Fort in 1649, which became the base for the unsuccessful
Russian efforts to subject the Chukchi. Whereas That failure, arising from reasons to be
discussed below, led to the disappearance of Dezhnev's route from knowledge, as connec–
tions with Fort Anadyr were made thereafter in the manner traditional to the Russians –
via portages between the headwaters of the Kolyma and the Anadyr. Therefore, a century
later, Bering had to rediscover the strait which bears his name, and, almost two hundred
years after that, Sergei Obruchev, criss-crossing the country by air, had to redraft maps
of mountain ranges whose direction his forebears 300 years earlier had known accurately.
Following Dezhnev's privately-outfitted expedition of discovery, the government, in
the person of the Cossack Chief-of-Fifty, [: ] Vladimir Atlasov, (qv) head of the Anadyr Fort from
1695, undertook the military conquest of the country to the south. In his first year at
the outpost, he sent forth a scouting party under Luka Morozko to investigate the people
of Kamchatka (Dezhnev had reached the neck of land separating the mainland from the penin–
sula, but had not penetrated the latter). Then, in 1697-99, he made his great expedition
of conquest. His force consisted altogether of 60 warriors and hunters with 4 cannon. He
requested, unsuccessfully, reinforcements to bring the number up to 100. With his five dozen
men, he criss-crossed Kamchatka in all directions. From the Anadyr River he made his way
overland to the Penzhina River, then crossed the neck of the peninsula to Oliutorskaia
Bay on the Bering Sea. Moving southwest, he reached Tigil almost halfway down Kamchatka
on the Okhotsk Sea side. Moving up the Tigil River and portaging from its headwaters, he
reached the Kamchatka River, which he ascended, and then struck west again, reaching the
Okhotsk Sea coast at Icha. Beyond this, his Cossacks, exhausted by their three-year march,
refused to go.
The expedition was difficult not only in terms of its duration. Atlasov had to move
through well-populated country, for on the Kamchatka River he repeatedly came upon vill–
ages of 300 to 500 houses. Yet he subjected them all. To maintain this hold, he founded
small forts, after the initial expedition, at three strategically-located points:
Verkhnekamchatsk (1699) Bolsheretsk (1700) and Nizhne-Kamchatsk (1702).

Kamchatka

Atlasov returned to Yakutsk and where he composed a report constituting the [: ]
most ancient source of information about the nationalities of Kamchatka: the Koriaks,
Itelmen (Kamchadals) and even the Kuriles, inhabiting the south. Whereas he had not visited
this last people, he met individuals who had made their way north. From them he learned
of the existence of Japan, which sold porcelain and fabrics to them in exchange for
otter fat and pelts. This was the first information on Japan ever to reach the court
at Moscow. Thus Atlasov not only added a large territory to the possessions of the Em–
pire, but [: ] expanded its geographical horizons.
In 1706 Atlasov returned to Kamchatka to undertake its pacification and organization.
His greed and brutality were such [: ] as to call forth not only rebellion on the part
of the natives, but protest by the Russians themselves. Removed from office by the govern–
ment, he did not survive to board the ship which was to take him away, but was killed by
his own Cossacks. The reason was that his policies, bringing the natives into rebellion,
meant constant danger to the lives of the men serving under him.
In August, 1711, Kamchatka provided the base from which Russians made the first
direct contact with [: ] the Kuriles and established the basis to the claims leading –
in addition to strategical considerations - to Soviet ownership of those islands today.
[: ] today. The 1711 party consisted of 50 Russians, 11 Kamchadals and
a shipwrecked Japanese, plying in open kochi under Ivan Petrovich Kozyrevskii. "Our
purpose", he told his men, is to investigate Kamchatka and the nearby islands, to inquire
into what government the people who allegiance and to force tribute from those who have
no sovereign, to inform ourselves as fully as may be possibly about Japan and the way
thither, what weapons the people have and how they wage war, whether they might be will–
ing to [: ] enter into friendly and commercial relations with Russia and, if so, what
kind of merchandise they might be induced to buy."
Upon receipt of Kozyrevskii's map of the Kuriles and report that the natives of
Shimusu Island had been compelled to promise "eternal subjection" to the Tsar, Peter the
Great dispatched two special agents from Kamchatka, Fedor Luzhin and Ivan Ev e reinov, to
check the chart. They got to Shasukotan, the fifth island south of Kamchatka.
These efforts were overshadowed by the great Bering Expeditions of 1728-29 and
1740-41, the most extensive scientific explorations in history up to that time. of that day The
first expedition, building its boats at and setting sail from Okhotsk on the northwest

Kamchatka

coast of that Sea, rounded Kamchatka, followed the continent north to Bering Strait and,
finding no land connection between Europe and Asia, considered its purpose fulfilled.
This finding called forth the idea of finding opening the Northeast Passage from the
east, so as to link the Asiatic possessions of the Russian Empire to its center by a
means cheaper than sledge, river boat and portage across Siberia. Perhaps the need for
this route was best illustrated by the problems involved in launching the Second Bering Expedi–
tion itself. The preparations took ten years. It was necessary to bring 800 people 5,000
miles across Siberia, provide them with 640,000 lbs. of provisions a year, build at
Okhotsk sufficiently substantial vessels, and engage leaders and scientific personnel –
not an easy thing in the Russia of that day. The cost of the expedition was equivalent
to $2,500,000 in today's values.
Great as were its contributions to science, the Bering Expedition represented
a more fearful catastrophe to the natives of the North than did Atlasov's plunder raid.
For Russian conquest had brought not only the obligation to pay tribute, but that of pro–
viding free transportation to all in the service of the Tsar. In view of the primitive
state of the native [: ] economy, every day away from hunting or fishing brought the
sledge-driver and his family that much closer to starvation. For people whose own com–
munities rarely reached that size, the transporting of 800 men and their supplies was
an unbearable burden.
The Bering Expedition was of major importance in the history of Kamchatka. It
founded Petropavlovsk, to this day the only city in the area, and discovered the
Commander (Komandorskie) and , Aleutian Islands, and Alaska, thus opening the way to the [: ]
[: ] establishment of Russia's North American colonies, which were administered and
reached via Petropavlovsk.
Developments now moved rapidly for that day. In 1743 Basov began the e xploitation
of the fur resources of the Komandorskii Islands. In 1745-59 Trapeznikov and other com–
pleted the discovery and began the exploitation of the Aleutian chain. In 1761 Russian
fur traders reached Alaska, and in 1780 Kadiak and Sitka were founded, cementing Russia's
hold upon the Northwest of the American continent. At this period and in this part of
the world, the Russians showed themselves more adept at colonial expansion than the
British, perhaps because the latter were preoccupied elsewhere, particularly with the
Revolutionary War in the American colonies. The great Capt. Cook's expedition visited

Kamchatka

Petropavlovsk, and direct efforts were made to tap the wealth of the North Pacific in
furs, but the Russians established their hold [: ] unmistakeably. In the north
the Russians of that day, pushing far northwest of the Kamchatka area, attained the
New Siberian (Novosibirskie) Islands in the Arctic. On the eastern shore of the Pacific
they moved south until they confronted Spain in California, and there was nowhere further
to go. A full-scale farming and fishing colony was established at Fort Ross on the Russian
River, no [: ] the summer resort area of the San Francisco well-to-do, and a sealing and
birds' egg-gathering party spent considerable time on the Farallone Islands, off San
Francisco Bay.
The Russian-American Company, founded by Shelekhov and Golikov, arising out of
the foregoing, controlled all commerce - chiefly the fur trade - from the coast of the
Okhotsk Sea to that of California, and, in Alaska, enjoyed administrative and military
authority.
While merchant adventure and the government at St. Petersburg pushed Russia's
boundaries so far afield, the exploitation of Kamchatka territory proper went slowly
enough. Atlasov had, as we have mentioned, actually founded only three posts [: ]
[: ] on the entire peninsula, one at the mouth of the Bolshaia River on the
southern extremity of the Okhotsk Sea coast, one [: ] near the mouth of the Kamchatka River
on the [: ] Bering Sea coast, and one at the head of navigation. New ones were added
gradually: Oliutorskk on the east side of the neck connecting the peninsula to the
mainland, a native strong-point, was [: ] finally taken by the Russians in 1714. [: ] amsk,
on the mainland west of Kamchatka - an area removed from Kamchatka Oblast about 15 years
ago - was founded in 1736; Petropavlovsk, as we have said, in 1740; Tigil, [: ] on the upper
portion of the west coast of the peninsula, in 1750, and Gizhiga, on the Okhotsk mainland
coast, marking the western limit of the Kamchatka Oblast today, in 1765. Each of these
represented the fruit of bitter and long-drawn-out warfare with the natives. At first
they were simply stockades surrounding a wintering camp. Later there appeared, within,
a cleared yard and tribute-paying hut. Their garrisons numbered a few dozen men each,
and sometimes only a few individuals. Under these conditions, it is hardly surprising that
the Cossacks preferred not to leave the protection of their quarters, but dealt with
the natives by means of a porthole through which the latter tossed their tribute in furs
and fled. As has been stated, it was the holding of hostages, always under guard, and

Kamchatka

not infrequently in irons, that assured the payment of tribute and, to some degree, the
safety of the conquerors.
While the Tsars of Moscow ordered "gentle" treatment of the natives and no
interference with their customs, the collection of the tribute which those same rulers
insisted upon compelled the local authorities to issue orders such as this, stemming
from the provincial seat at Irkutsk, and pertaining to the natives of the Gizhiga area
(Koriaks): "for their undependability and ancient habit of crime to kill and destroy
them all, except their young children".
The function of the local authorities was the collection of the tribute in furs.
Soon it became necessary to fix this at a regular sum. This was set at 7 sable per year
from a married native and 5 from a single man. As only sable was accepted; as the Rus–
sians insisted upon tribute; and as the Chukchi and Koriaks were reindeer-breeders and
not [: ] hunters of forest animals (i.e., they are tundra-dwellers), the payment of the
tribute demanded was impossible or [: ] caused great hardship. It was this which
resulted in the half-century of resistance put up by these tribes, ending ultimately
in abandonment of Russian efforts to subject the Chukchi and in seeking a route to
the Kamchatka Peninsula which would avoid the hostile land of the Koriaks. Krasheninnikov,
Russian ethnographer of the Bering [: ] Expedition, and the first to provide a
scientific description of Kamchatka, wrote, on this score: "the tax-collectors do not
travel to the land of the Koriaks without heavy guards, for otherwise they are murdered
by the incompletely subjected" natives. It was not until 1714, [: ] i.e., 18 years after
Atlasov set forth on his conquests, that the fur tribute got safely through to Yakutsk
via the Okhotsk coast. Previously it either failed to reach its destination or had to
go the long way round via the Arctic and the Kolyma River.
Reference has been made earlier to the [: ] heavy burden involved
in transport service, and the fact that this reached its climax with the Bering Expedi–
tion. That effort cost the Kamchadals along its route all their dogs and starvation for
the population, which [: ] was diverted from its essential occupations, and was one of the
reasons for an uprising which embraced the entire territory. The yasak (tribute in furs)
was another reason. Still another were the so-called "pominki", added tribute in fur,
amounting to another sable or two per year, which the local Russian authorities demanded

Kamchatka

to line their own pockets.

4a. Khabarovsk Kamchatka

[: ] the government. Each of [: ] them was surrounded by a wooden stockade with block–
houses, and had a garrison of a few dozen men armed with guns but only rarely with
a cannon. Fear and hatred between them and the natives was mutual and intense. Those
natives whom punitive campaigns had already caused to deem themselves conquered crept
up to the tax-hut of the stockade in fear and trembling, conducted their business
through a window, threw in the required number of furs as tribute, and dashed away.
They paid the tribute only so the Russians would spare the lives of hostages held in the stockade
A 50-year war was required, ending only in 1773, to subject the natives of the Kam–
chatka Peninsula alone (the Kamchadals) and the Chukchi were never deemed, nor did
they deem themselves, as conquered. The Russians accepted only sable as tribute. The Chukchi, having none, could not but resist to the death. The similarity in all respects to the conquest
of the American West - or of Latin America, India and Canada - is remarkable.
The extraction of the yasak - tax in furs; [: ] the merciless extermination of
recalcitrant natives, families and clans; their reduction to the status of slaves;
the forcible abduction of their wives and [: ] daughters by the conquerors, who were,
of course, male, and the trade set up in women, reduced the aborigines to a state
of desperation. When it finally became [: ] clear to them, after half a century, that
they had lost, a wave of mass suicides swept the island peninsula. The 50 years up
to 1773 has gone down in local history as the "bloody" time. It is remarkable to
find even a publication by the Tsarist provincial rulers of Kamchatka, issued by
them in exile, in Shangai, in 1940, saying that: "To this day ( (they were ousted in
1922 - W.M.) the word 'Russian' carries the meaning there of terrible suffering and
sorrow."
The situation farther north was different. The Chukchi defeated and killed
the Cossack captain, A. Shestakov, on the river Egach, March 14, 1730; and Major
Pavlutskii, after [: ] some temporary success, was likewise defeated and killed,
March 21, 1747, on the Middle Anadyr. Bogoraz qv writes: "After that, the government,
tired of an expensive and useless war, withdrew its garrisons, and in 1764 even
ordered the fort of Anadyrsk, the remotest Russian post in northeastern Asia, to
be demolished. Intercourse with the Chukchi, renewed in 1789, was carried on the
whole time with much circumspection, and no new attempt was made to conquer the
Chukchee by force. The border divisions of the tribe have gradually submitted to Russian

Khabarovsk Kamchatka

influence. The bulk of the Chukchee territory, however, up to the present time [: ]
(1904 - W.M.), remains practically exempt from any trace of Russianization; and
there are many camps and villages where a Russian face has never been seen, nor a
word of the Russian language heard."
This, however, was a unique situation. In the same classic work, Bogoraz,
[: ] writing of the [: ] entire area under our consideration, stated: "As far as
can be ascertained, the decrease of native tribes in northeastern Siberia was
produced by the direct or even indirect contact with civilization, exactly as
was the case in other countries. It began with extermination during the bloody
wars of the early conquest by the Cossacks, and in subsequent mutinies, which
were subdued by wholesale murder. After that came severe oppression; demand of
tribute (hitherto wholly unknown); exactions from the officials and Cossacks,
who succeeded in enslaving a number of the strongest men and women; and the fraudulent
acts of the [: ] merchants, who imposed on all those that remained free the burden of
interminable debts. Then came contagious diseases, which made havoc not only among
the natives, but also among the conquerors, who lived under the same material
conditions.... [: ] Small-pox has several times ravaged the population of northeastern
Siberia. [: ] ....In 1899 an epidemic of
measles, brought from Vladivostok by a Russian trader, spread northwards, and
in the summer of 1900 reached the Chukchi villages and camps. Everywhere its ef–
fects were most disastrous....In several Reindeer camps near the Pacific coast only
a few children were left, and the masterless herds were scattered....The whole
number of people who perished from this disease must have amounted to several
thousands."
Where warfare failed to conquer the aborigines, trade, however plunderous,
did, for it brought them needed and desired goods produced by historically more
advanced nations: the Russians, the Americans and the Japanese. Bogoraz contrasts
the early hostility of the Chukchi with the uniform reports of friendly treatment
during the quarter-century [: ] prior to the time of writing, and concludes:
"These cases indicate very clearly that the Chukchi have laid asi d e their former

Khabarovsk [: Kamehatka].

hostility toward the civilized world, and after more than a hundred years of [: ]
constant trading with Russian settlers on the Kolyma, and with American whalers
on the Pacific coast, have tried to show themselves friendly to the few white
people who [: ] have happened to come to their villages and camps. From the visits
of several men-of-war, the Chukchi have been able to form an opinion of the real
power of the white people. Trade has become quite indispensable to them; and those
who have come into contact with Russian officials have been willing to submit, at
least nominally, to Russian authority, and even to pay tribute, however slight and
precarious.... [: ] In 1788, forty-one years after the defeat of Pavlutskii, and twenty–
four years after the recall of the garrison from the fort of Anadyrsk, Banner, the
chief officer of the town of Zashiversk (founded 1639 -W.M.), on the Indig h irka River,
who also held command over the Kolyma country, succeeded in establishing anew
peaceful relations with the western Reindeer Chukchee. As a result, a regular trade
was started the following year." [: ]
[: ]
Thus, the unsuccessful attempts at conquest cost the Russians a delay of 150
years in the launching of a most profitable trade. In the 1820s the turnover amounted [: ]
to 200,000 rubles a year: $100,000 in pre-Revolutionary currency, and actually a [: ]
great deal more in terms of changed values during the century. Even more interest–
what fair? ing is the fact that the fair fair growing out of the beginning in 1789 witnessed the
marketing of furs trapped in America, which had had to be carried not only across
Bering Strait, but a very considerable distance overland thereafter. Thus, in 1837,
the official records show (and the figure may be doubled to account for smuggling to
evade taxes) that the following skins of animals not found in Asia were sold at the
fair: 100 beavers, 395 martens, 30 Canadian lynx es , 31 marten garments, 13 musk-rat garments,
etc. Despite the desire for trade, there was no love lost between the parties. The
Chukchi came fully armed with spears, bows and arrows, and large knives tied to
their belts. Bloodshed resulted from differences over prices so frequently that in
1812 the governor of eastern Siberia ordered them fixed annually in advance of the
fair, a rule which obtained for more than half a century, until the decline of that

Khabarovsk Komchatka

[: ] inland fair in favor of coastal trade. But in the early 1900s the Anui fair, then in
its second century, still drew [: ] six or seven hundred people, half of them Chukchi.
[: ]
and the turnover, in prices of that date, came to $10,000-$12,500. Another reason
[: ]
for the drop was the fact that Alaska had come under American rule, and its furs
[: ]
no longer were offered.
Even in the early years, the Anui fair, at the extreme western limit of the
far northern portion of the area under our consideration, was by no means the only
one in the truly Arctic portion of the territory. Gizhiga and Kamenskoe, at the
northeastern tip of the Sea of Okhotsk, where Kamchatka meets the mainland, were
the sites of trading with the Anadyr and Telqap Chukchi even before the 19th
century. At the beginning of that century, a spring fair for the Reindeer Koryak
and another for the southwestern Chukchi was established. Yet another came into
being inland, in the village of markovo, on the Middle Anadyr. In the last 15 years
of the 19th century, after the institution of separate district administration for
Anadyr - that is, the first Russian machinery for rule over the Chukchi in the 150
years since the defeats inflicted by them over the Cossacks - three more fairs
were instituted, one at Tumanskaia in the west, a second at Vakarena on the Middle
Anadyr and a third on the Eropol River.
The chief products procured by the natives, tobacco and tea, can hardly be
considered to have been beneficial to them. American smoking and chewing tobacco
began to replace Russian with the arrival of the whalers in 1848, because it was
sold more cheaply, but the natives retained their taste for the product they had
known first, and, at the turn of the present century, were still willing to pay
more for Russian tobacco, when they had the price. After 1850, brick-tea, of Chinese
origin but a staple in Russian trade, became the most important single item.
Other Russian wares were sugar, iron and copper kettles, cottons, cheap warm scarfs
and shawls, cheap hardware and cutlery of Yakut make (brought from Yakutsk), beads,
etc. Trade in spirits, always officially forbidden, was always, nonetheless, one
of the most important items in Russian trade dealings with the natives. 300 barrels –
18,000 bottles - of unrectified alcohol were brought into the Chukchi country
annually at the turn of the present century. overland through Russia from the west.

Khabarovsk [: Kamchatka].

Yankee whalers began trading on both shores of the Bering Sea in 1848. , when one vessel came here. Their
154 ships sought the cetaceans in Russian waters the next year.
Their efforts became more intense after the purchase of Alaska by the United States. In the
beginning, they sold cheap rum, rifles and ammunition. Then they added flour, bis–
cuits, granulated sugar, black molasses, drilling and muslin, hardware and cutlery,
beads and the like. They were chiefly interested in procuring whalebone, of which the
natives had large supplies, and in which the Russian traders, preoccupied with their
traditional fur trade, had little interest.
By 1901, only two of ten American whalers trading on the Russian coast of the Bering
Strait carried rum. The others offered more useful goods. By the beginning of the
present century, fairly modern , if second-hand, Winchesters were the normal arm throughout the
northern area under our consideration, although west of the territorial boundary
the natives had still to depend upon ancient firelocks. [: ] Likewise, wheat
flour had become an article of regular consumption, some 2,500 [: ] 44-lb. sacks
being sold each summer by the whalers. Second-hand whaling boats, small whaling-guns,
exploding-harpoons, mineral oil, oil stoves, Primus stoves and ships' compasses were
sold in small quantities by that date. However, this [: ] trade was channeled through
the hands of a small number of natives acting as agents [: ] for the Americans,
Norwegians and others who established themselves on the coast. Class stratification
set in, and the majority of the aborigines found themselves dependent upon and ever
more intensely exploited by a few of their compatriots for the ultimate benefit of
the foreign traders. [: ] The orientation of the natives, particularly the [: ] wealthier
"compradores", tended to be pro-American. The Americans, not ruling the area, sold
[: ]
anything the aborigines would buy,
[: ] doing so sub rosa , to evade taxation and restric- prohibitions
tions. for officially they were prohibited from engaging in commerce. But when, in 1882, the richest Chukchi trader, sought to purchase a an American schooner,
it was confiscated by the Tsarist authorities as a prize of smuggling.
The American goods, brought by cheap maritime transport, [: ] cost only half as
much as the Russian, which had had to come thousands of miles overland. The Trans–
Siberian railroad not having been built as yet, even "Russian" goods from Vladivostok
were actually re-exported American goods from across the Pacific, and one of the
greatest Vladivostok firms was that of a Russianized Yankee, Denby. However, the Rus–
sians held the control of the sale of brick-tea, sugar, which was better refined than

Khabarovsk Kamchatka

the American, and cutlery made in the Far North at Yakutsk and even at Sredne-Kolymsk
and Markovo. These rough, strong knives were better adapted to the purposes of the
natives than the finer steelware brought by the whalers.
By 1901 there were 14 "prefabricated" wooden storehouses, brought from San
Francisco, [: ] on the Pacific coast of the Chukot Penin–
sula, at least half of them belonging to native traders. A storehouse-shack bought for $100 in San Francisco brought $1,000-$1,400 in whalebone. On the other hand, the
United States government had purchased [: ] 1,300 head of reindeer from Chukotka for
breeding in Alaska. Despite the price advantage of American goods, the fact that
they could be sold only on the Pacific coast and then by smuggling, while Okhotsk
Sea, Arctic and inland trade was with the Russians, left the latter with the lion's
share of the turnover, as nearly as could be determined. Russian trade with the
natives was about $35,000 a year in 1900; American trade $10,000 - $20,000. Total
inter and intra-tribal turnover, including the Russians, came to $100,000.
While the mainland north of the peninsula of Kamchatka underwent the "natural"
type of development outlined above, with little interference or assistance from the
Russian government, except as indicated, Kamchatka witnessed a different type of
historical progression. Following the bloody half-century of colonial warfare, sup–
pression and extermination up to 1773, resulting in the Russification, down to de–
tails of dress and religion, of the surviving Kamchadals, the absence of further re–
sistance made possible a policy which seems comparatively enlightened. From 1773 to
1855 a [: ] certain amount of progress was recorded. The 6 trading forts
of 1740 had become 50 points of permanent human habitation - however tiny - by 1830.
In that year, too, the peninsula had three hospitals as well as 11 churches and a
seminary. , all for Russians and natives willing to be Russified. Beginnings were made in agriculture and cattle-raising, although as late
as 1915 the finest presents a visiting official could bring the territorial governor
at Petropavlovsk were fresh ( two -week-old) fruits and vegetables.
British ambitions in the Bering Sea area expressed in 1799 led to [: ] a decree
placing Kamchatka in a state of preparedness and to the stationing of a battalion
there, brought all the way from the Volga. In 1817 whatever naval forces Russia pos–
sessed in the north Pacific were transferred eastward to to ice-free Petropavlovsk from Okhotsk,
blocked by ice more than half the year. In 1849 the Kamchatka Territory was estab-

Khabarovsk Kamchatka

lished, with Petropavlovsk as its capital, and Admiral Zavoiko, an able and ener–
getic officer, was named Governor-General. He interested himself in every aspect of
the life of this distant colony, and made it independent insofar as the basic food
and fabric were concerned by introducing the growing of wheat and flax. This achieve–
ment, notable for its day, was represented by exhibits at the St. Petersburg Exposi–
tion. Admiral Zavoiko was the first Russian administrator in the northeast to travel
throughout Kamchatka and familiarize himself personally with the native population.
He erected buildings for offices and homes for the persons employed therein, regul–
ated the fur trade and encouraged the people to engage in s launch fisheries. He brought
order into all forms of commerce, founded regular /fairs for trade with the natives and re–
pressed excesses by the merchants. In a most uncommon act for a Russian nobleman,
which must have called forth considerable resentment, he put his officers and offici–
als to useful labor by inviting them to a "picnic" and then leading them personally
in building a 20-mile road from Petropavlovsk, the only one vehicular road in the territory until the late
the 1930 1910 1930s. With an eye to the exploitation of the mineral resources of this volcanic
[: ] mountain country, he set the wheels in motion which resulted in the invitation
of Ditmar and Meglitskii for geological studies.
In May, 1854, Admiral Zavoiko received a communication from the United States
envoy to the Hawaiian Islands informing him of the outbreak of the Crimean War. With–
out waiting for information from St. Petersburg, which reached him, as a matter of
fact, only in July, he set about building batteries to defend Petropavlovsk from
hostile vessels of war plying the Pacific. Soon he was reinforced by the arrival of
two Russian ships on a round-the-world cruise, the Avrora and the Dvina . From the
crews of these ships and all the persons [: ] in his tiny colony capable of bearing arms he shaped a
company of men, which soon faced the task of meeting a force twice its size. For on
August 17, 1854, a [: ] combined Anglo-French squadron of six warships carrying
224 guns entered Avacha Bay. There were three large frigates of 44 to 62 guns each,
a 32-gun corvette, an 18-gun brig and a steam-powered vessel carrying 8 guns and
4 mortars. Driven off temporarily by the unexpected accuracy of fire from one of
the batteries built by Zavoiko on the outskirts of his village-capital, the enemy
squadron renewed its assault on August 20, this time with all 224 guns in action.

[: ] Kamchatka

The first and fourth Russian batteries were put out of action, and the attack–
ing forces undertook a landing from [: ] boats. The Russian 2nd Battery sank
two of the boats, while the men of the 4th Battery, spiking its guns, sought cover in
the [: ] brush nearby. The enemy occupied the battery and began to march on the town. At this
point, 25 Russian seamen from the abandoned battery and 20 Kamchadal hunters, who thus
vindicated Admiral Zavoiko's somewhat enlightened policy, opened fire from cover, and compelled
the enemy to retreat to his ships. At this point the Russian 2nd Battery had been
virtually rendered hors de combat, [: ] 8 of its 12 guns [: ]
now being out of action, and the enemy steam-vessel, more maneuverable than the sailing
ships, attempted to take advantage of this to slip through the entrance of the inner
harbor. However, it was prevented from doing so by the fire of the Avrora and the Dvina .
The British admiral in command of the enemy squadron was killed ([] committed suicide?) at this point, and the
Anglo-French forces withdrew to an inlet to repair the damage suffered and bury the
dead, including their commander. The Russians used the time in the same manner, repair–
ing the breaches in the 1st and 2nd Batteries, but abandoning the 4th as a total loss.
A decisive battle began on the morning of August 24th. The 1st and 4th Batter–
ies were again put out of action, the steamer resumed its efforts to penetrate the
inner harbor, and the guns of the two anchored Russian vessels beat it off once more.
That day the invaders directed their main fire at the western side of the town, where
the 3rd, 5th and 6th Russian batteries were located. After succeeding in putting [: ]
[: ] two of them out of action, the enemy effected a landing in numerous boats, and began
to march on the town in column formation. However, the guns of the 5th battery and
the sniper fire of the Kamchadal hunters concealed in the woods cut this force to
pieces, killing its commander, a Capt. Parker, and many others. The Anglo-French now
ascended Nikolskaia Hill and brought the town under fire from that height. The [: ]
Russians infiltrated their [: ] defences in groups of 30 and 35, and engaged in
hand-to-hand combat. Despite [: ] inferiority in numbers - there were 347 Russians
to 926 Anglo-French in this action - the ranks of the landing force broke and they
retreated to the sea. not knowing that the Hill rise on which they [: ] had been ensconced
terminated in a sheer drop. This cost them the loss of 9 officers and 300 men, to

Khabarovsk Kamchatka

100 for the Russians.
[: ] The remainder of the invading force boarded its ships, made for
another bay where those who had died of their wounds were buried, and sailed away,
defeated.
The emigreé anti-Soviet governor of Kamchatka in 1917-22 [: ] wrote from exile in
Kamchatka of this incident: "Among the materials of the distant past of Kamchatka in
my archives, lost on the steamer Sishan during the evacuation, there was the autograph
manuscript of an appeal by Admiral Zavoiko to the population to defend the Homeland
from the Anglo-French. [: ] In his simple and clear words one
feels an immeasurable love for his country, for the Kamchatka territory and its popu–
lation. Only a soul as great as that of Admiral Zavoiko could [: ] rouse the native popula–
tion, recently hostile to the Russians, to battle, and, with their aid, decide the
outcome of the struggle in the far north."
The bodies of the Russians, British and French were buried by the Russians
in three common graves, [: ] over which monuments with inscriptions in all three
languages were later raised. A memorial clock-tower was later built at the base of
Nikolskaia Hill, and another monument on the spit barring the entrance to the inner
harbor. The cannon and balls used in the fighting have been gathered round them. For
three-quarters of a century, August 24th was celebrated as the "national holiday" of
Kamchatka by the Russians. Zavoiko's house became the Kamchatka Museum in 1914. and various naval
vessels have borne his name.
Having informed St. Petersburg of the foregoing, Zavoiko (q.v.) was ordered
to evacuate Petropavlovsk completely, for the duration of the war, which he did early
in 1855, transferring it to the mouth of the Amur on six ships. There he built the
town of Nikolaevsk in 2 1/2 months. (It had been "founded" earlier, but was virtually non-existent in fact.) When a large combined Anglo-French squadron, too
strong for the Russians to resist, came to Petropavlovsk in the summer of 1855, they
found it abandoned. However, they learned of the Russians' destination from the few
natives in the vicinity, and set out to pursue them. Zavoiko was tracked to De Castri
(this was before he proceeded to the Amur mouth). Prepared to scuttle his ships and
meet the enemy on land, he was suddenly favored by fog. Under its cover he slipped
past the blockading fleet and through the strait separating Sakhalin from the mainland.

Khabarovsk Kamchatka

The enemy, not knowing of the existence of this strait, could not find him, and he
made his way safely to the Amur mouth.
The government's decision to abandon Petropavlovsk in 1855 was not conceived
of as temporary. Russia was on the decline in the Pacific, and, what was more important,
her powerful European rivals, possessed of steam vessels and [: ] more modern [: ] arms,
could range that great body of water at will. The idea of a an isolated base on the north Pacific was
abandoned, and all energies were transferred to the rich Amur country and Sakhalin
Island, which the Russian-American Company had occupied in 1853. In 1858 the energetic
expansionist governor of eastern Siberia, N.N. Muravev-Amurskii, who held office there
from 1847 to 1861, secured recognition from the local Chinese authorities of Russian sovereignty north of the Amur and
of the coast inland to a line running south from the junction of the Ussuri and Amur.
Two years later the Russo-Chinese Treaty of Pekin made this official, and in that same
year of 1860 Vladivostok was founded by the military. The capstone to the decline of Russia
in the north Pacific was laid with the sale of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands to the United States in 1867
for $7,200,000. The absence of a fleet and the barbarous extermination of the sea–
beaver otter , [: ] fur-seal and polar fox [: ] by the Russian–
American Company made [: ] the disposition of this vast holding
seem good riddance. An empire that once sent its outposts almost to San Francisco
(Fort Ross was the southernmost settlement on the American coast) now withdrew,
for all practical purposes, six thousand miles round the arc of the Pacific to the
Okhotsk Sea coast.
The vast Kamchatka Territory was placed under the control of a district police
officer, somewhat like the Royal Canadian Mounted Policy in much of the vast Northwest
Territories to this very day. American and Anglo-Canadian concerns. Hutchinson,
Kohl and Company; Walsh & Co; and others, took over the trade the Russian-American
monopoly had formerly held, operating from schooners along the coast. Only gold
prospectors troubled to penetrate Kamchatka during the half-century which followed.
1885 to 1909 was a period during which there were neither hospitals, doctors
nor schools, except for one in Petropavlovsk, which revived spontaneously after the
Crimean War, with the arrival of some Russian fishermen, hunters and farmers. All

Khabarovsk Kamchatka

exploited the natives, whose numbers declined drastically. In 1897 Petropavlovsk had
a population of 394, [: ] chiefly government officials and their families, Cossacks, etc. Other than their shacks, there stood only a church,
a school, the police post and the trading post of the Kamchatka Company.
If the Crimean War brought about the decline of the Russian Northeast, and
even the outright disposal of the vast American possession, the Russo-Japanese War
[: ] resulted in its revival. In April, 1940 1904, the news reached
Petropavlovsk overland from Irkutsk, via Yakutsk, Okhotsk and Gizhiga, that Japan
had declared war and that shipping between Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk had been
interrupted. As a result, all food was had to be brought from San Francisco by the Kamchatka
Company, [: ] Likewise, in 1905, the first vessel
to arrive was an American ship which put in on May 17. [: ] On the
20th a German vessel, chartered to an American fur-trader, arrived. Five days later
he left for Japan. A third ship arrived from San Francisco on the 28th, with the
news that it had been lit up by the searchlight of an unidentified ship 5 or 6 days
out of Petropavlovsk. A fourth, most mysterious, German vessel, arrived on June 2, 1905.
[: ] A merchant ship in appearance, it had the orderliness of a man-of-war, and
was under the command of a reserve naval officer. Allegedly its sole business was
to transport a war correspondent for a Vienna newspaper, who frankly introduced him–
self as a captain in the reserve of the army of Prussia. At all events, this ship,
which later was wrecked without loss of life, left newspapers which gave the incredu–
lous population its first knowledge of the Russian naval disaster at Tsushima.
Several weeks later a squadron of Japanese ships put into the harbor and
[: ] shelled the town, but the population had been evacuated to the suburb of
Zavoiko. The However, the hostile fleet left shortly afterward, and Japan showed no
further interest in taking Kamchatka.
The loss of the Russo-Japanese War and the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railroad
provided reason and means for fuller attention to the Far Eastern portion of the
Empire. St. Petersburg locked the barn door after the horse had been stolen. A law of 1909 completely reorganized the Amur Territory, dividing it into
four Regions, the Amur, Kamchatka, Maritime and Sakhalin, and giving each the status
of province. More important, there was ordered the construction of a radio station on

Khabarovsk Kamchatka

at Petropavlovsk, one of the first for long-distance communication anywhere in the
world, and also the building of [: ] a 2,500-mile telegraph line to Okhotsk. Simultane–
ously the equally lengthy line from Irkutsk via Yakutsk to Okhotsk was erected,
[: ] thus [: ] establishing direct connection between Petropavlovsk, St. Petersburg
and the rest of the world. The erection of the telegraph line from Petropavlovsk
was by far the largest single human activity that area had yet seen, and brought the
population of Petropavlovsk alone to 1,500. Its purpose was purely military, and did the economy neither good nor harm. Early in 1910, thousands of workers,
[: ] and hundreds of horses were dispatched to Petropavlovsk aboard some dozens of
vessels. Everything needed was transported by sea, from nails to telegraph poles
(one wonders at the latter in view of the abundance of timber at least on Kamchatka),
food for men and feed for horses, wagons and sledges. Housing had to be erected and
roads built.
Within three years the telegraph line had been built the 550-mile distance
from Petropavlovsk to Tigil, and linked all the settlements on the western shore of
Kamchatka. Later a parallel line was laid on the east coast of this precipitous
mountain peninsula, [: ] and extended to the settlement
of Kozyrevskii on the Kamchatka River. Suffering from mosquitos in summer, and from
scurvy and slogging through seven-foot snows in winter, was intense, and the achieve–
ment was the more remarkable therefor.
While the telegraph line was being built, the government was concerned with
the immediate establishment of communications with the center of the region, Petro–
pavlovsk, and the idea was advanced of establishing radio contact between that town
and Nikolaevsk-on-the-Amur, a distance of 750 miles as the crow flies. This was in 1901
[: ] 1909, when radio was in its infancy. Experimenta–
tion in Russia was being conducted at [: ] the Electrotechnical Institute
at St. Petersburg, with a department of radio-telegraphy under Prof. N.A. Skritskii.
There were two stations, one at St. Petersburg, and one [: ] 15 miles away on the island
naval fortress of Kronstadt, where a school of radio-telegraphy had been set up. Ef–
forts to establish communications at a distance of 180 miles were the limit of achieve–
ment at that time, so the proposal to link outposts 750 miles apart roused worldwide

Khabarovsk Kamchatka

interest.
Y.Y. Linter, an [: ] electrical engineer who later became the first chief of the
Petropavlovsk station, was dispatched to western Europe and America to acquaint himself
with the latest in radio technique there, and to go on to make field investigations on
Kamchatka. The Telefunken firm in Berlin [: , ] undertook the construction of the stations, on
the basis of new methods of radio-telegraphy that had just been discovered. Russia, mean–
while, trained two crews totalling 10 men to man the stations, the chief feature of each
of which were [: ] two steel towers, [: ] 225 feet high, on tripod pin foundations.
A The first set of installations at Petropavlovsk was ruined by rain in a storm on Aug. 31,
1910, which tore the roof [: ] off the equipment building and soaked everything within.
However, the next steamer to [: ] Vladivostok carried a wire to the Telefunken firm, which
dispatched new instruments by express the 6,000-mile distance from Berlin to Vladivostok,
and a special steamer carried them to Petropavlovsk. As a result, radio contact was estab–
lished with the mainland successfully on Nov. 14, 1910. It is of some interest that the
Telefunken firm simultaneously sold two stations of somewhat lesser range to Japan, thus
launching the industry there. The station at Petropavlovsk burnt down on Jan. 5, 1911,
but its personnel, now experienced, was able, when it received a two-kilowatt radio [: ]
the following June, to re-establish contact. In January, 1912, the station was back in
operation with proper equipment.
The Kamchatka experiment proved so successful that stations were built at Anadyr,
Okhotsk and Naiakhon in 1912, thus reducing from months to seconds the time needed to
effect communications [: ] to the most distant points of the northeast opposite Alaska.
The Petropavlovsk station became the [: ] kernel around which considerable scientific
activity was developed. The Academy of [: ] Sciences built its first Seismological
Station in the immediate vicinity, as well as a well-equipped meteorological station.
Experiments in electrometeorology, observations of atmospheric electrical screens and
their motion, and of earthquakes and volcanic activity, proceeded apace. Courses in radio–
telegraphy and radio-technology [: ] were organized for the training of persons native to
Kamchatka, who were given the necessary general education preparatory thereto. In 1914 the
government decided to erect a radio laboratory and workshops at Petropavlovsk, but made
an initial allocation of only $500. The war World War I put an end to further development.

Kamchatka History

Revolution, foreign intervention and civil war lasted longer in Kamchatka and
the immediately adjacent territories than anywhere else in the USSR: from 1917, when
the Tsar was ousted, it was five years until the Soviets finally established their
rule in Petropavlovsk, (1922) two more years until they came into power on the Chukot Penin–
sula (1924) and yet another until, in 1925, the last counter-revolutionary band, that
under General Pepeliaev, was destroyed on the Okhotsk mainland coast. This lengthy
[: ] "troubled time" [: ] is accounted for in part by the fact that this border
area was far more accessible to foreign intervention than inland Russia, and that,
consciously or spontaneously, foreign states and individuals of foreign nationality
took advantage of the absence or weakness of Russian rule. The memory of this period played
a major role in Soviet Far Eastern policy before and during World War II, and still does
today. Three countries were involved primarily: Japan, by far the most active econo–
mically and militarily; Great Britain (i.e., Vilhjalmur Stefansson's "Adventure of
Wrangel Island", accompanied by the raising of the flag of Canada, then far more
closely bound to Britain than today); and the United States, represented chiefly by
private traders and partly by participation in the Wrangel Island Expedition. In addi–
tion to the direct activities in [: ] and off Kamchatka Region
(Wrangel Island lies within its bounds), there was the far more important indirect
effect of Allied intervention (Japan, the United States, Great Britain, Czechoslovakia
and others were represented by military formations) along the Trans-Siberian Railroad
from Vladivostok west to Lake Baikal.
The Allies supported any and all anti-Soviet groupings, dignified them with
the rank of government, armed and supplied them, and, behind that camouflage, pursued
their own economic and strategic ends. Japan, geographically closest, best able to
support its forces, and having specific interests developed since the Russo-Japanese
War, was most active in this regard. The Japanese in Kamchatka since the signing of
the [: ] fisheries convention of 1907 were of various types: fishery entrepreneurs, busi–
nessmen of other types, employees of the foregoing, and fishery workers. [: ]
Of these, the workers had little contact with the native and Russian population. The fishery
operators were, for the most part, [: ] men of
limited financial resources, who conducted their business [: ] with the backing either
of one of the five or six major concerns of that period, or, more frequently, under
arrangements with financiers seeking profitable investment [: ] for their capital.

Kamchatka History, cont'd.

If the loss of the Russo-Japanese War stimulated St. Petersburg to take measures
for improving communications with Kamchatka (as shall be seen, [: ] shipping [: ] was also
furthered, primarily for reasons of defense), the privileges won by Japan by the
[: ] Portsmouth Treaty were rapidly exploited through the development of fisheries
(see below) and led to

Kamchatka History

Thus, the Japanese fishery operator was, of necessity, more a merchant than an
industrialist. He lacked the means for large-scale and long-term operations. His out–
look, therefore, was that ofprofiting as much and as quickly as possible. The result
was a most wasteful type of [: ] approach to the resources of the fisheries. His in–
terest, therefore, was in [: ] securing as large a catch as possible as cheaply
as could be done, without regard for reproduction of the salmon species. Likewise,
his processing was based on the idea of minimum expense, even though the resulting
type of preservation led to a much less tasty product. The shoreside equipment he
installed on Kamchatka - this, again, does not apply to the few large concerns –
reflected his short-range means and outlook, for it was of such a [: ] nature as to
serve only his annual rental of the given location. The Japanese operator's functions
as a merchant become evident in examining his relations with the population, from whom
which he purchased fish, and with whom which was his right, and with whom he traded,
entirely against the law. His commerce consisted of the same primitive type of pur–
chase of furs for liquor that the Russians and Americans had "pioneered" in. Another
aspect of his business was the "purchasing" of the Russian fishery operator who oc–
cupied the adjoining lot.
The Japanese [: ] fishery operators, unlike their Russian neighbors, did
not operate at their own risk. They were joined in the Kumiai , the Association of
Japanese Fishery Entrepreneurs in the Convention Waters of the Pacific Ocean. This
organization was a cross between the old government monopolies like the Russian-American
or the Hudson Bay, and a modern government-backed state capitalist concern. Membership
in it was compulsory. The Kumiai secretly distributed the fishery lots among its
members and fixed their bids for them, thereby reducing to a farce the auctions held
by the Russian government. (In later years the Soviets neatly reversed the practice,
paying off the Japanese in their own coin through the Moscow-controlled Kamchatka
Company.)
Kumiai was, obviously and consciously, a means of reducing the Russian north–
east to the status of a semi-colony of Japan. It logically followed that it was a
Russophobe organization, headed by persons hostile to Russia, and pursuing a policy
that was far more than economic. The entrepreneur belonging to Kumiai enjoyed free–
dom from competition, [: ] had an abiding personal interest in reducing the authority

Kamchatka History

of Russia in that area (be it that of the Russian government or of Russian business),
and was in an ideal position to serve as an intelligence agent.
The Japanese found pliable tools in the provisional government of Kamchatka, which
[]
much preferred foreign rule to the loss of property rights which the Soviets would bring.
[: ] When the Tsar was overthrown in St. Petersburg in March, 1917, power,
in Petropavlovsk as throughout the Empire, [: ] passed into the hands of the middle
class. The Kamchatka Region al Committee of Public Safety, formed March 8, included the
manager of the warehouse of the Russian shipping line, the local representative of
the great Russian merchant firm of Churin & Co., centered at Harbin, the chief bookkeeper of the same firm, and various lower
officials of the old regime. That this "revolution" meant nothing is frankly admitted
by one of the members of that Committee, A.A. Purin, who writes: "The Regional Commit–
tee occupied itself with economic affairs and the elaboration of projects for local
self-government, believing that prior to the convocation of the Constituent Assembly
there should be no change in the administrative apparatus of the region. We all worked
together in a friendly manner and no differences whatever arose among us."
An even blunter evaluation is offered by another emigre writer, I.I. Gapanovich,
who states: "The moving force of the events in Kamchatka was the bureaucracy at
Petropavlovsk, which had, it is true, lost its leadership (i.e., in St. petersburg -W.M.)
but which remained the sole organized group in the north. By its efforts the regional
administrative apparatus was preserved untouched by the device of changing titles in
accordance with changing events (County Chiefs were renamed Commissars of the
Provisional Government - W.M.). The facade of this structure was [: ] prettified
by elections....the elected officials played no role whatever, and in actuality
everything was run by some office which managed to keep on operating.... [: ]
"....several (Japanese) cruisers and a whole flotilla of destroyers plied in
Kamchatka waters (in 1920-22), [: ] and a battleship, carrying more armed men than the
[: ] entire population of Petropavlovsk, wintered in
the bay for the ultimate safety of the town's dozen Japanese inhabitants....
"In point of fact, Kamchatka was subject to the Japanese, having so overpower–
ing a force at their disposal. It was not for nothing that the Japanese had had the
foresight to publish and distribute, gratis, maps showing Kamchatka as a part of
Japan....The senior officers eagerly maintained intercourse with the native population,

Kamchatka History

expressing concern with its conditions of everyday life and its, at that time, parti–
cularly difficult position, pointing out the helpless inability of the Russian author–
ities to improve the situation and emphasizing the relation between the Asians of
Kamchatka and the Japanese. To acquaint the population with the greatness of the Japan–
ese Empire, free passage was offered to persons desiring to visit Japan. At this time,
a great exposition was open at Yokohama. That the Russian north was at that time of
greater interest to the Japanese than merely as a field of activity for [: ] the fishery
operators, is demonstrated by the fact that Japan maintained a consul at Petropavlovsk
at that time, and appointed an outstanding diplomat, Yamaguchi, having excellent know–
ledge of Russia and the Far East, to that post."
Mr. Yamaguchi and his commercial associates were not inactive. In 1921 a
broad program [: ] was advanced for the extension of the rights of the Japanese
fisheries, and the fact that Kamchatka was, practically speaking, under Japanese oc–
cupation, [: ] enabled this program to be carried into life as far as was
possible in that limited period of time. This program of demands, detailed below, had
to be abandoned by the Japanese with the restoration of Russian sovereignty, but
that they remained a sought-after objective is indicated by the endless position in
taken by the Japanese year after year in the negotiations over the Kamchatka fisheries
between World Wars I and II. The demands included cessation of the fishery-lot auctions
and replacement of that system by rental en bloc , reduction in rental fee, elimination
of the navigation permits which the Japanese were required to secure from the Russian
consul at Hakodate, equal rights with Russians in renting river fisheries, and the
right to engage in trade at the fishery location, i.e., a broader right than even
Russian operators possessed, and, finally, permission to remain in Kamchatka during
the winter. From the point of view of the local population the last three points were
the most important, for, if granted, they would have enabled the Japanese to penetrate
deeply and securely into the Russian North.
In order to bring pressure to bear for the satisfaction of these demands,
the Japanese paid no rental and fished in Russian waters without any formal [: ]
permission whatever in 1921 and 1922 - on the excuse that [: ] no central govern–
ment was recognized and it was therefore impossible to determine to whom payment should
be made. However, the Japanese did not take undertake to carry out the full program

Kamchatka History

listed above. They remained within the legal framework of the convention so as to be
able to claim the rights listed in it when the Russian civil war came to an end.
By 1921, Soviet ideas of economic and national equality had penetrated suf–
ficiently into the far northeast, and the forces of foreign intervention and their
puppet governments had sufficiently discredited themselves, for partisan warfare to
encompass the far taiga. Let us again quote Mr. Gapanovich, writing from Peiping in 1933:
"In 1921-22 it (the North) was formally subject to the Amur-country government, which
maintained a representative and staff of regional officials in Petropavlovsk. The
authority of that government was enforced by [: ] a military force of considerable
size distributed at various points of the Okhotsk-Kamchatka territory and possessed
of means of transportation (two ships). All this did not prevent the Reds from organiz–
ing a [: ] mobile regional administration, establishing partisan groups, successfully
waging war with their opponents, breaking the communications between Petropavlovsk and
the mainland and holding the town (consisting chiefly of government officials and their
families - W.M.) in fear of an attack. This situation endured until the fall of the
government in Vladivostok." The Vladivostok Amur-country government fell when the Japan–
ese withdrew.

Kamchatka

The Soviet Period
When the Soviets gained control over Kamchatka in 1922, they faced a far more
complex problem than had the preceding governments. The Tsars had had no desire to
provide organized government among the natives, toward whom their policy was one of exact–
ing tribute in furs and labor services, conducting a minimum of trade, and leaving the
native social structure, customs and legality strictly alone, for the most part. [: ]
Improving the lot of the Chukchi, Koriak and Itelmen was no part of the function of
[: ]
the Tsarist tax-collectors, however much advanced individual officials may have desired
[: ] that end. The Soviets did not idealize the primitive native community. They
[: ] To them, the sparseness
of the population of the far northeast was a result of the inability of the native
[: ] culture to provide [: ] food and shelter for [: ] larger numbers, [: ]
to safeguard them from the rigorous climate, to afford protection against disease —
[: ]
[: ]
[: ] entirely aside from the complications introduced by the
whites. With primitive weapons and means of transportation, the natives could reach and
catch only a limited number of the animals upon whose flesh, hides and bone they depended
for food, clothing, shelter and implements, and could support, accordingly, only a cer–
tain number of human beings. Lacking knowledge of how to preserve and increase wildlife,
[: ] (i.e., the reindeer herds), the [: ] killing
of [: ] larger numbers [: ] would only
have exterminated the staff of human life. Ignorance of medicine, human and veterinary,
had its constant companion in loss of human life by illness, injury or starvation for
lack of animal food. The "explanations" offered by folklore for the native's his inability to cope
more effectively with the forces of nature ringed the native him with [: ] tabus and supersti–
tions that braked the [: ] initiative of the forward-looking. The This primitive society,
for all its communal aspects, was founded upon the exploitation of the weak. Women were
at their husbands' disposal not only for work - and the rich man could afford more than
one wife - but for the gratification of his friends and guests. This society had not
created an alphabet for its language, and therefore accumulated human experience could
be passed to succeeding generations only in oral form. Unable to provide a food supply
beyond the needs of the able-bodied and the young, it killed its aged.

Kamchatka

Soviet policy in face of this situation was to give bring to the natives the tools required
- material, organizational, educational, medical - to cope with maximum effectiveness
with their [: ] natural surroundings, making possible a higher living standard, growth in
population and even the enjoyment of the cultural benefits - literature, music, theater –
of modern civilization. These steps required joint effort. Joint effort, in its turn,
required government, both for the sake of organization and in order to oppose the
efforts of the privileged - the shamans and the large reindeer-owners - to resist
changes which might affect their status in favor of the interests of the larger commun–
ity.
Concretely, the first problem, with regard to the natives, was that of establish–
ing collective and elective organs of government among a population, largely nomadic,
which, as a result of its experience with Tsarist rule and with the marauding, degen–
erated [: ] remnants of the counter-revolutionary Russian armies, was predominantly
hostile to all whites. This was complicated, on the Chukot sk Peninsula, by the preference,
as among whites, of Americans to Russians. The Soviets regarded this as a reflection
of the superiority of American capitalism, with its ability to produce inexpensive com–
modities and willingness to trade value-for-value, to over the Tsarist levying of tribute
and the inability of a semi-feudal Russia to manufacture goods comparable to those of–
fered by U.S. traders. However, [: ] Moscow [: ] was convinced
that its system of planned organization of commerce and production would prove superi–
or to the anarchic and profit-seeking competition which it deemed to be characteristic
of private American trade in the Arctic as elsewhere.
Finally - although this last did not affect the natives themselves for some time –
Moscow naturally regarded the far northeast as an integral part of the Soviet Union,
and therefore sought to discover its resources and develop transport - the Northern Sea
Route - as part of the process of developing the country at large.
Three motives, therefore, must be considered in examining Soviet policy in Kamchatka: (1) assistance to the native population in advancing from
the Stone Age to the 20th century; (2) considerations of foreign policy insofar as Ameri–
can traders on the Chukot sk Peninsula, Japanese fisheries on the Kamchatka Peninsula,
and [: ] defense was concerned; x and (3) overall development
of resources and transport facilities in this area important to the USSR as a whole., such as Fisheries and the Northern Sea Route.

Kamchatka

The initial organization of the natives under the Soviets was by clans. Each clan,
inhabiting a given hunting, grazing or fishing district, chose its native clan Soviet.
However, as soon as the idea of the propriety, necessity and usefulness of government,
linked with the general Soviet scheme of things, was established by this means, the
authorities strove to substitute the election of Soviets on a normal territorial basis,
representing and including all the nationalities in the area, Russians as well, [: ] in place
the of Soviets based on family ties. The reason lay not only in the desire to break down
mutual exclusiveness and distrust among tribes and between them and the Russians, but
in the fact that the entire primitive society was rooted in the clan system. The idea
of poor reindeer men banding together against a rich one could hardly take root where
the dominating principle was that of the blood relation among them all.
By 1930 the [: ]
[: ]
[: ] concept of
nationality among the natives, and the Russians' knowledge of and ability to distinguish
among them, had reached a point at which it was possible to set up governments based on
the principle of nationality (as distinct from that of clan or that of local territory).
There resulted the formation of the [: ] Chukchi and Koriak National Okrugs (districts),
in each of which the language of that nationality was the official tongue, and the
governments of which were headed by persons of that nationality. Meanwhile, as the
natives found that the Soviets they had elected had real, if [: ] local, powers, and
aided them in organized efforts for the common good, they gained in authority and,
therefore, in usefulness.
At For example, the very first regional gathering of representative of Soviets in the Penzhino
area [: ] took place in 1928. The minutes of this early meeting show that the natives
were still at that time firmly opposed to schooling: "You learn instead of working,
and so have to run around with out trousers to cover you." They were sceptical, but not
opposed, to veterinarians: "If I have a head on my shoulders, my reindeer won't get
sick"; "I was terribly sick in the stomach, and the doctor cured me, so maybe he can
cure reindeer too"; "Let the healer come him come - if he heals well, we'll send our reindeer to him.
If he doesn't, we won't." But as to the desirability of the Soviets themselves, there
was general agreement:

Kamchatka

"Khagal (Koriak, speaking through interpreter): 'We are happy that the (Russian)
chiefs and we have gathered and are all talking together. This is the first time that
we have been able to talk with the chiefs.'
"Khachikeev (Tungus with Russified last name, speaking through interpreter): 'This
government suits me fine: it doesn't slaughter the reindeer. The old government slaugh–
tered the reindeer and wished nothing good. They were just some kind of fools. Under the
old chiefs the merchants threatened us so: If you don't slaughter reindeer (for us),
we will complain to our chief.'
"Chirkul (Tungus, speaking through interpreter): 'In the old days the (Russian) chiefs came
and talked only with the tribal elders, and the people didn't know what the chiefs
were up to. The new chiefs now come [] to us, gather us all together and talk with all
about how we can live better. The new government does nothing bad to us. And now we
will ourselves elect the chiefs. I have finished."
By 1933 - that is, only five years after organized government had reached the
farthest corners of Kamchatka Oblast for the first time - a territory as large as
England, France, Germany, Belgium and Sweden combined - the advances made were most
noteworthy. 53 schools were functioning in the native tongues, and had 1,500 pupils.
Devices had been found to provide education for the children of nomads. Their schools
either wandered with them, or, h as has been the case in more recent years, became board–
ing institutions at which children were left during the school year. The government paid
and pays the full cost of their upkeep. By 1947 there were 70 schools and one normal
school in the Chukot sk National Okrug alone, with about 1/3 the population of Kamchatka
or less, and, in addition, a normal school. Elementary education was almost universal,
and there were already some native doctors, teachers, writers and many officials.
A repertory theater was organized in Petropavlovsk and, in 1937, a children's puppet
theater with a personnel of five was established. In four years, travelling by dog-sled,
it gave 450 performances in 200 settlements. A single tour involved 1,500 miles of sledging.
By 1947, there were 54 hospitals on Kamchatka. Education and treatment had cleared
up centers of infection such as villages near Petropavlovsk, where, not many years earlier,
the entire population suffered from hereditary syphilis.
In 1946, it was planned to build 400 2-family houses for the Chukchi and Eskimo,
enough to place one-third of them (all the non-nomads) in modern dwellings. In 1947, a
new stage in the history of the Chukchi was reached when a one reindeer-Chukchi cooperative
[: ] abandoned the nomadic way of life entirely - the first among its people to do so.

Khabarovsk Kamchatka

The Soviet government has vastly expanded communications on Kamchatka. [: ]
[: ] In 1940, Tthere were 100
sending-and-receiving sets in the territory, and 150 post offices. Petropavlovsk had a
regular telephone [: ] system linked to the outside world by radio-telephone to Moscow
and Khabarovsk.
Transport To and In Kamchatka
The coastline of the Arctic Ocean from the mouth of the Kolyma eastward to
Bering Strait, of the Pacific Ocean down to the southern tip of Kamchatka, and of
the Okhotsk Sea, totals 6,000 miles. This vast territory - the region within our pur–
view, is linked with the outside world - the Soviet railheads on the Amur and the Sea
of Japan, the United States and Japan - only by sea, and, in the past two decades, by
air. Navigation is rendered difficult by the great distances between ports of call,
severe storms and fogs, obstruction by ice for [: ] eight months of the year [: ]
along that entire 6,000 mile coast except for the southern quarter of the Kamchatka Peninsula
proper, [: ] and the virtual absence of installed port facilities and sheltered
harbors. Kamchatka Petropavlovsk is the only port with docks and piers in the entire territory At Gizhiga, for example, ships must anchor 12 miles from shore and have been
known to ride at anchor literally for weeks until conditions were suitable for lightering.
Further, tidal currents in the Okhotsk Sea are extreme, particularly in the Penzhino
Gulf area adjoining northwestern Kamchatka. Until Russia the Soviet Union regained the Kurile Islands
after World War II, the Japanese did not permit passage between them, and
[: ]
navigation was rendered more difficult by the need to use the shallow and winding
[] 1st Kurile strait just off Kamchatka. Now the 5th is used. Regular shipping between Vladivostok, founded
in 1860, and Petropavlovsk, dates from 1880. In 1870 one Filippeus obtained a government
subsidy from St. Petersburg, and his ships made one trip a year to Petropavlovsk, Ust–
Kamchatsk, Tigil, Gizhiga, Okhotsk, Aian and Uda. In 1886 his franchise expired and
the so-called Volunteer Fleet ("volunteer" here meaning private, as distinct from government monopoly, enterprise) undertook the service, making two trips per year to Petro–
pavlovsk and one to Gizhiga and Okhotsk. There were other occasional visits by Russian
ships. Thus, in 1883, a 1,500-tonner and a 700-tonner also visited Kamchatka. With the
building of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, the first route of which was the Chinese Eastern
crossing Manchuria to Vladivostok, greater needs for Kamchatka products appeared. Three
or more vessels belonging to the Chinese Eastern plied to Kamchatka beginning in 1899.
Immediately after the Russo-Japanese War the ships of the so-called [: ] Reserve Non–
Commissioned Officers' Company made trips, [: ] but from 1906 on the Volunteer Fleet

Khabarovsk Kamchatka

provided [: ] uninterrupted service., with the aid of a government subsidy, anti-Japanese in purpose The growth in the turnover of that firm, [: ] is
striking:
Year Voyages Freight turnover Passengers
1909
1906
6 1,776 [: ] short tons 661
1909 9 4,478 [: ] " " 1,607
1910 13 7,347 [: ] " " 2,516
1916 27 50,000 " " 12,000
The passengers were chiefly fishermen, and the freight fish and fishery supplies.
Two large vessels, the Tambov and Yaroslavl , and six smaller, built in 1913,
the Yana , Indigirka , Stavropol , Kolyma , and Sishan , and one other, , served the Kamchatka region. All
of them carried powerful deep-sea steam or motor launches, and their own specially-designed
lighters. Some of them are still in service on the Soviet eastern Arctic run.
A portion of the business done by the line was objectively unnecessary, but a
result of the [: ] unrestrained play of private competition at the fisheries. Many [: ]
fishery workers were being drowned during the loading of their product during the
autumn storms. [: ] In 1913 the Stavropol spent
two months cruising near Icha, and had to put into Petropavlovsk twice for coal,
before the storms abated sufficiently for her to go inshore and pick up the fishermen.
Therefore the line proposed to assign two small ships to pick up fish during the sea–
son and bring it to Petropavlovsk for trans-shipment in bulk. However, the fishery
owners preferred to risk not having their catch taken out at all and, therewith, to
condemn ing their workers to almost certain death by wintering, rather than assign a
few men to loading during the height of the salmon-run.
In 1912 the Volunteer Fleet company [: ] undertook its first run through the Bering
Strait and west in the Arctic Ocean to the mouth of the Kolyma. In 1913 there followed
the outfitting, and dispatch from Vladivostok, of the famed Taimyr and Vaigach Expedi–
tion ( Vilkitskii [: ] the final commander) to investigate the entire Northeast
Passage from east to west.
The Revolution and subsequent Civil War and Intervention disrupted the opera–
tions of the Volunteer Fleet, [: ] and by 1920 the majority of its ships had been
seized by various governments, Russian and foreign, local authorities and even private
individuals, in various ports of Asia. The remaining ships were chartered to fishery
operators.

Khabarovsk Kamchatka

In 1921 it was necessary to send a ship to Petropavlovsk with food in winter,
something that had never been done before. The authorities in Vladivostok, then in anti–
Soviet hands, requested the head of the Hydro-Meteorological Section of the Naval Ob–
servatory in Vladivostok, A.A. Purin, one-time meteorologist at Petropavlovsk and later
head of its anti-Soviet regime, to determine the possibility of such a trip. He offered
the opinion that the trip was feasible, and on Dec. 19, 1921, the steamer Okhotsk ,
under Capt. Dobrozhanskii, left Vladivostok with Petropavlovsk as its destination.
After intermediate stops at a number of Japanese ports, it arrived safely on [: ] January 22.
It was 1924 before the Soviet government, then only two years old in the Far
East, was able to [: ] undertake the organization of [: ] regular
[: ] communications with Kamchatka. Acting with great energy, it put tens of millions of rubles into the
undertaking, and in 1925 had [: ] scheduled trips operating to Kamchatka, when 15 ships, pur–
chased abroad, were in the northeast service. By 1931 there were 66. Express Scheduled trips increased in number
from 11 in 1925 to 38 in 1931. In addition there were, annually, dozens of voyages for
special purposes, involving [: ] the shipment of foodstuffs, the supply of factories.
In 1931 more than 100 such voyages were made. In 1932 there were 27 runs for fishery
and fur-collecting purposes alone. Turnover increased from 27,000 tons of freight and
6,600 passengers in 1925 to 176,000 tons of freight and 32,000 passengers in 1932,
while in 1935 no less than 456,000 tons were moved, that is, almost ten times as much
as the Volunteer Fleet had carried in the war prosperity year of 1916.
A major objective has been the extension of the navigation season and the intro–
duction of navigation [: ] through ice. The express vessels [: ] on the scheduled Vladivostok–
Petropavlovsk run, specially built and capable of carrying 750 passengers and 1,500 tons
of freight, made the trip in three to four days. They are equipped with sheathing for
navigation in light ice and operate the year round. In addition, the numerous scientific
voyages of the Sibiriakov , Litke , Cheliuskin , Krasin , Smolensk and Stavropol , [: ]
and the erection of a network of meteorological and radio stations and coaling ports,
have ended the hitherto eternal isolation of the Okhotsk-Kamchatka coast from the main–
land during the winter months. Ships now ply as far as [: ] Oliutorskii Bay on the Bering
Sea coast (above 60°) even in February, and reach Lavrentii (St. Lawrence) Bay in May. In 1934 the then

Khabarovsk Kamchatka []

21-year-old Stavropol served 11 points along the west coast of Kamchatka in February,
thereby demonstrating the feasibility of winter runs to the Okhotsk Sea. Since 1940 they have been made regularly. There has also
been a great increase in coastal trade using Petropavlovsk as a base for operations to
southern Kamchatka, using northern Sakhalin as the base for service to the southern Okhotsk Sea coast
between Nikolaevsk and Aian, [: ] Nogaevo ( [: ] Magadan) for the northern portion of that
sea, Anadyr for the northernmost Pacific coast, and Ambarchik in the Kolyma [: ] delta
for the easternmost portion of the Soviet Arctic proper. The building of a port in
Providen ce [: ia ] Bay was begun in 1940, and one at Ust-Kamchatsk was [: ] being designed. By 1947
freighters were visiting Providence[: ia] Bay as late as the end of December.
The port of Petropavlovsk (q.v.) has been completely rebuilt and vastly ex–
panded. Docks and piers have been erected, Longshore work has been mechanized with
the installation of powerful cranes. Coal dumps and hoppers have gone up. A repair
yard for large ships and another capable of building small ones fill out the list of
enterprises necessary to make this magnificient protected harbor an d independent
naval and merchant marine base. In point of fact, there are now three ports there:
the merchant at Petropavlovsk proper, the naval at Solovarnaia and the fishing at
Taria. 135 small Lend-Lease naval craft were based at Solovarnaia during World War II and used by the Russians to take the Kurile Islands. The statistics for Petropavlovsk are eloquent:
Year Freight turnover in metric (long) tons Passengers No. of ships
1929 21,829 3,039 77
1930 41,243 9,863 111
1931 44,526 14,161 106
1932 43,371 9,390 126
1933 60,706 12,649 113
1934 72,752 13,730 95
1935 150,000 26,000 ?
A 1946 visitor describes the arrival of three ships in a single day, and reports
seeing both freight and passenger vessels, tankers, timber - carriers,
refrigerator - ships and small coastal vessels in the harbor at one time.
River Traffic
Prior to the Revolution river shipping on launches had been opened on the
Anadyr River [: ] up to the village of Markovo, a distance of some 375 miles; on the
Kamchatka River for something over 300 miles up to Mashura village; and, after the
Revolution, up the Avacha River from Petropavlovsk to Zavoiko village, and up the
Penzhino River 40 miles from its mouth to the site of the Cultural Base established
by the Soviets to provide educational and health facilities to the Koriaks. On smaller
rivers and along the shore the people still use various forms of native canoes, skin–
boats, dug-outs and barges. The rapid settlement of the Kamchatka River valley and the
demands of newly-introduced agriculture require considerable expansion of the inland

Khabarovsk Kamchatka

waterways. Prior to 1934 only 25 vessels of any size were in service on the rivers of
Kamchatka. The 5-Year-Plan then in progress projected an increase in turnover to
50,000-60,000 tons by 1937 and the construction of launches, river steamers, barges,
tugs, dredges, floating cranes and other harbor craft. 8,000,000 rubles were appropri–
ated for that purpose. In 1934, also, the dredging and placing of navigation markers
in the Bolshaia, Tigil, Apuka and other rivers was undertaken, but there is no definite
information as to actual shipping thereon.
Land Transport
One of the reasons, if not the main one, for considering Kamchatka, with its
peculiar climate and vegetation, as Arctic, is the fact that during the larger portion
of the year when snow is on the ground, the chief means of land transport is by dog
sled. The [: ] main route for this traffic is the winter road up to the val–
ley of the Kamchatka River from Petropavlovsk [: ] to Verkhne-Kamchatsk via the settle–
ments of Koriaki, Nachiki, Malka, Ganaly, Pushchino and Sharomy. In the Koriak National
Okrug the main route is from Gizhiga to Markovo, and to the annual Apuka and Chukot [: ck ] Fairs.
These routes traverse marshy tundra in the summer and are virtually useless during
that season of the year. The dogsled route on the west coast of Kamchatka is parti–
cularly difficult, crossing really high mountain ranges and areas thickly grown with
underbrush. The clearing made [: ] for the telegraph line and the temporary road
laid there 40 years ago are only in partial use, as the line leaps [: ] unbridged
gorges and is otherwise largely unsuitable.
The co a st of dog-sled transport is, of course, extraordinarily high. In 1928
it cost $7.00 to move 40 lbs. the 300 miles from Petropavlovsk to Sobolevo village,
and $12.50 to transfer a like weight the 425 miles to Khariuzovo. This made the build–
ing of decent roads imperative with the development of the territory. The dirt road
connecting Petropavlovsk with Zavoiko, Koriaki and Nachiki was been improved to
carry trucks. Other roads have been built near Bolsheretsk and along the valley of
the Kamchatka River. West of the limit of Kamchatka Oblast there is, of course, the
heavy-duty highway stretching from Magadan on the northern coast of the Okhotsk Sea
up to the Kolyma gold fields.
A plan still far in the future (the 1946-50 5-Year-Plan does not provide for

Khabarovsk Kamchatka [: ]

its realization) is the construction of a 500-mile railroad to serve the major fisheries
of Kamchatka, [: ] and to handle 2,000,000 tons of freight per year. It is to link
Petropavlovsk on the east coast with Ust-Bolsheretsk on the west via Nachiki, and also
to Milkovo in the north. However, the cost of that line was estimated at nine billion
rubles in 1940, or about half-a-billion dollars at the lowest valuation of the ruble.
Another project envisages the linking of Petropavlovsk with Ust-Kamchatsk, a distance
of 350 miles. Both ideas have met the opposition of persons who hold that aero-sleds,
caterpillar tractors and half-track trucks are better suited to the requirements of
northern transport, at least in view of the limited extent of present demands. The
chief argument in favor of a railroad is that the difficulties of shipping on the
west coast make desirable the shipment of fish products by rail to the splendid
Petropavlovsk harbor.
Aviation
Scheduled runs by air have been made to Kamchatka since 1936. There are two
routes. One follows the Amur River [: ] from Khabarovsk to Nikolaevsk and then rounds the
Okhotsk seacoast via the Shantar Islands in its southwest corner, Aian, Okhotsk,
Magadan, Khariuzovo, Bolsheretsk, Petropavlovsk and then up the Pacific coast to
Wellen (Uellen). The other is by sea: Khabarovsk-Sakhalin-Petropavlovsk. In 1940
there were 10 flights a month to Petropavlovsk on sturdy hydroplanes of special
design, skis being used in the winter. Since World War II modern twin-engined land
craft have replaced them except for bush flying. In 1946 there were three flights weekly to Petropavlovsk. In the Far North, aviation was
based on Cape Schmidt from 1934 on, from which regular flights were made to Nizhne–
Kolymsk, Vankarem, Providence [: iia] Bay, Anadyr and Gizhiga. Another center of operations
was at Gizhiga, through which the Chukot-Anadyr territory of the Arctic proper was
linked to the line from Vladivostok and Khabarovsk. A broad network of secondary
lines has been established to [: ] carry passengers, mail, freight (furs, equip–
ment, etc.) and to provide medical service., as Arctic swamp-and-bog in summer and deep snow in winter isolates the Kamchatka River valley. For the history of aviation in the
Soviet northeast, q.v. Kaminskii.
During World War II, Petropavlovsk was used as an emergency landing
field by American patrol craft and bombers returning from the Kuriles,
for it was 700 miles farther to the nearest U.S. field on the Aleutians

Kamchatka (Khabarovsk)

Economic Life: Fish [: ] , Crabs and Sea Mammals; Reindeer Breeding; Trapping; Agriculture; Mining, Construction, Commerce.
The fisheries of Kamchatka are its most important and most thoroughly exploited
asset. Historically speaking, this is a recent development, dating from the close of
the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. As late as 1910, the salmon run was so heavy that
it was difficult to row a boat across a stream [: ] jam-packed with fish making for the
[: ] spawning grounds. Yet by 1917 intensive and ruthless exploitation had brought
about an insufficiency of fish at up-river communities, and in places an actual famine,
for fish was the staple food.
In the '50s of the past century, Americans fished for cod off the coast of
Kamchatka. In the 1890s they made an unsuccessful effort to find a market in the United
States for salted salmon. The scale of exploitation up to this date was so small that
Sliunin, who visited Kamchatka and Sakhalin in 1892-3 wrote that [: ] no fish–
ing industry whatever existed, but he did mention the exploitation of the waters by
foreigners. In 1894-95 a Russian firm [: ] operating out of Okhotsk repeated, with
equal lack of success, the American efforts to market salt salmon in the United States.
The pioneer firm in fishing on Kamchatka proper was the Russian Association of Sealers,
which made yet another unsuccessful effort to sell salt salmon in the U.S. in 1895. In
the following year [: ] this firm rented two fishery lots on the Kamchatka and Stolbovaia
Rivers; in 1897 added two more on the Ozernaia River and Avacha Bay, and the next
year increased its operations to embrace 21 lots. In 1900 the firm took 3,500,000 sal–
mon in these waters. In all, commercial fishing operations were conducted at 47
locations on Kamchatka in 1900.
Japanese interest in fishing the inshore waters of the Russian Pacific coast
was recognized in a Russo-Japanese Treaty of 1875, which gave Japanese nationals the
right to operate there. However, neither Japanese nor Russians took advantage of
the opportunities offered, except as noted above. Moreover, there was a drastic drop
in Pacific fishing immediately after the turn of the century, and in 1903 only 8 lots
were offered for rental.
The Portsmouth Treaty closing the Russo-Japanese War provided that "Russia
engages to arrange with Japan for granting to Japanese subjects rights of fishery

Kamchatka (Khabarovsk)

along the coasts of the Russian possessions in the Japan, Okhotsk and Be h ring Seas",
thus opening Arctic and sub-Arctic waters to Japan. For all practical purposes, this made Kamchatka a semi-colony of Japan until 1944. Methods for exercising the right by
lease of fishery lots were provided in the Convention of 1907. Excluded from [: ]
leasing arrangements were rivers and bays needed by the local population. Japan's inter–
est in northern fisheries were spurred by the [: ]
very extreme decline in fish taken in her own waters, whether as a result of their
being fished-out or of geological factors is not clear. The speed of development of
Japanese fishing in the waters of the Okhotsk Sea and the Pacific off Kamchatka is
illustrated by the following Soviet data:
1908 1917
Number of lots fished 88 200
Annual catch, short tons 15,762 73,882
Fishing vessels 184 355
" " , tonnage 33,000 117,000
Japanese customs data record the importation of a million tons of fish from
the Kamchatka fisheries from 1907 to 1919 inclusive, to a value of 70,000,000 yen.
Thus, an average of 80,000 tons a year was taken. The changing role of Russia and Japan
in exploiting the fisheries, with Japan taking an early lead, [: ] Russia not
engaging in a major effort until 1929, and then passing Japan in 1935, is indicated
by the following table.
Number of Leased Fishery Lots
Year Russian Fisheries Japanese Fisheries Total
1903 --- --- 8
1907 --- 74 74
1908 12 88 100
1909- -- -- 169
1910 11 138 149
1911 18 187 205
1912 -- --- 197
1913 15 205 220
1914 15 205 220
1917 18 200 218
1918 41 240 281
1920 70 237 307
1923 25 230 255
1928 42 255 297
1929 162 303 465
1930 278 318 596
1931 301 309 610
1932 301 392 693
1933 352 357 709
1934 365 386 751
1935 414 395 809
1936 419 399 818
1937 424 391 815

Kamchatka (Khabarovsk)

Year Russian Fisheries Japanese Fisheries Total
1938 409 386 795
1939 399 349 748
1940 394 360 754
These figures reveal that the Japanese operated 94% of the fisheries until 1928.
From 1935 to 1940 the Soviet Union operated 51% of the fisheries off its Arctic, sub–
Arctic and temperate Pacific coasts. From year to year, as the USSR became stronger,
it excluded additional areas from [: ] leasing, increased the rentals the Japanese were
required to pay, and, in 1944, won unmistakeable recognition of its sovereignty –
which had been reduced by the defeat of 1905 and the terms of the Japanese evacuation
of Sakhalin in 1925 - in the following clause of the [: ] fishery convention: "All
questions relating to the fisheries, activities of the fish industry and citizens of
the USSR are not regulated by the Fisheries Convention or the documents attached there–
to, as they fall exclusively within the competence of the USSR." Finally, with the
defeat of Japan in 1945, the Soviet Union [: ] barred it from fishing, not only [: ]
in northern Pacific territorial waters, but also in those [: ] washing the Kurile
Islands and southern Sakhalin, which the USSR re-acquired by the terms of a Yalta
agreement.
The increase in actual number of fish caught, coast by coast, is indicated
in the following figures:
Year Okhotsk Sea coast West coast of Kamchatka East coast of Kamchatka
1910 85,595 fish 14,569,167 fish 3,086,189
1913 895,962 31,014,176 9,615,641
1917 3,256,277 76,499,581 5,752,665
1920 7,145,552 56,221,471 11,687,654
1922 3,584,970 73,473,943 4,530,748
The foregoing pertain to coastal fisheries. For river fisheries in the same
respective areas, the figures are as follows:
1910 ----- 1,256,400 -----
1913 599,522 2,522,570 2,306,654
1917 1,378,313 17,179,808 2,042,555
1920 1,582,375 17,539,277 1,834,724
1922 1,857,020 17,126,530 2,576,868
The total catch in the entire Okhotsk-Kamchatka territory, river and maritime,
was as follows, in number of individual fish:
1910 18,998,851
1913 46,684,705
1917 106,709,199
1920 96,011,053
1922 103,149,079
Kamchatka (Khabarovsk)
For subsequent years, I.I. Gapanovich gives the following figures, in short tons:
1923 329,140 tons
1924 229,540
1925 325,420
1926 259,300
Those figures represent the [: ] catch off all Soviet
Far Eastern waters, including those in the temperate Sea of Japan. Five-sixths of it
was taken in the Arctic and sub-Arctic waters of the Okhotsk Sea and the east coast of
Kamchatka.
The sharp increase in Soviet Far Eastern fishing in 1929 was foreshadowed two
years earlier by the organization, of the under the auspices of the Soviet government,
of the Kamchatka Joint-Stock Company, with a capital of 25,000,000 rubles - at that
time probably $12,500,000 - outfitted with specialized herring, cod and other fishery
bases, grouping the fishermen into cooperatives and processing their catch at mechanized
canneries. The [: ] methods of fishing were also modernized. As a result, both fish–
ing and processing became far more productive in man-hours. By 1937 the catch in
Soviet Far Eastern waters was 4 1/2 times [: ] as large as in 1923, coming to
1,280,000 metric (approx. equal to long) tons, according to Pravda , April 2, 1938.
By 1940 over 56,000,000 rubles had been invested in the Kamchatka fisheries, [: ]
This capital outlay had been spent on new, large and fast fishing vessels; canning, bottling,
drying, and salting plants; repair shipyards, machine shops, fish-net manufacturing
enterprises, pitch works; aircraft to spot schools of fish, radio stations, and
schooners and small craft [: ] for auxiliary uses; fuel tank-farms, warehouses, docks;
mechanization devices (conveyor belts, etc.) and overhaul; housing and educational and
recreational facilities for the workers; social insurance and other provisions for
labor; administration; grain and vegetable farms to provide fresh food for the fishery
workers; and bonuses to induce seasonal workers to remain in the area during the
Arctic winter conditions. Trawling and deep fishing methods were introduced, thanks
to these investments. In addition to all this, the first fishery port on Kamchatka
was built in Tarie Bay near Petropavlovsk.
Private Russian fishing concerns, protected until 1923 by government policy,
were gradually driven out of business by the results of a new Soviet program, initiated that year,

Kamchatka (Khabarovsk)

[: ] whereby the system of [: ] leasing lots for [: ]
a rental payable in advance of the season was extended to the river fisheries. In
the space of a few years, cooperatives, looked upon with favor by the Soviet govern–
ment, had the river fisheries as their domain.
The growth of canneries on Kamchatka in the early years is indicated by the fol–
lowing figures:
Year Number of canneries Crates of 48 one-pound
Cans processed per year
1910 1 700
1913 11 75,074
1918 12 271,769
1920 24 534,490
1922 23 718,220
The largest cannery was that of A.G. Denby, a Russified American living in
Vladivostok, built at Ust-Kamchatsk. Next came that of the Russian Grushetskii Co.
in Bolsheretsk, Ekkerman's in Palana, Menard's on the Kolpakova and Palana Rivers
and the Japanese firms of Tsutsumi and Nichiro. In number and size, the canneries
built prior to the establishment of Soviet rule in Kamchatka in 1922 pale into in–
significance relative to those erected since. In 1934 alone the government-organized
Kamchatka Joint-Stock Company built 16 mechanized canneries. By 1940 Soviet Far
Eastern waters could properly be described as being served by an up-to-date and
large-scale fisheries industry, which provided 30% of the USSR-wide catch of that
staple of the Russian diet. There were 41 Soviet canneries, producing over 150,000,000
cans of fish per year, or 4 1/2 times the pre-Soviet maximum. There were more than
900 vessels in the fishing, [: ] crab and whaling fleets, including dozens of large
ships and floating factories. An appropriately large refrigeration network had been
established, embracing both shore-side [: ] installations and refrigerator vessels,
so that the value of the catch was greatly enhanced in that a considerable proportion
could be brought to market fresh. In 1940 the construction of three [: ]
more large smoking plants was begun on the west coast of Kamchatka. Four factories
making cans, a number of barrel-making enterprises, a fisheries research institute,
museum and high school training fishery technicians were also established in the [: ]
decade prior to World War II.
The significance of these developments emerges more clearly if it be realized
that the "Russian" portion of the Kamchatka and neighboring fishing industry in pre-

Kamchatka (Khabarovsk)

Soviet and even in early Soviet times was largely dependent upon the Japanese, who
provided tackle and supplies and in many instances subsidized the Russian [] entre–
preneurs. Hakodate, in Japan, was not only the center of purchase of fish caught
off the coasts of the Russian Far Eastern sub-Arctic, but also the point of origin
for much of the goods sold to the people of Kamchatka in exchange for their fish and
furs. The re-opening of the Russian market through the conquest of Kamchatka by the
Soviets, and the expansion of that market by economic and social change, however,
brought a fundamental change in this situation, beginning in 1923.
The distinction between the fisheries situation before and after the period
of expansion under the Soviets is indicated by the fact that, prior to 1923, 8,000,000
of the 11,000,000 fish caught annually by [] Kamchatkans (as distinct from seasonal Russian and Japanese workmen) went to feed the native popula–
tion and its dogs, while only 3,000,000 went to outside markets. [: ] Year-round
inhabitants of Kamchatka caught only 1/8 of the fish taken in its rivers and off its
shores. Today the quantity they catch has increased (the permanent population has also
risen greatly) and the bulk is available for supplying [: ] outside market.
One of the clearest indications of the progress of [: ] Soviet
Russian skills in the operation of the Kamchatka fisheries is the decrease in number
and ratio of Japanese workers employed by the Russians[: ] at Soviet government-owned
[: ] enterprises in this industry:
Year Russian Workers Japanese Workers Total
1928 1,418 1,599 3,017
1929 2,901 2,788 5,689
1930 6,242 2,980 9,222
1931 9,726 1,005 10,731
1932 11,604 560 12,164
1933 16,707 0 16,707
The Japanese invasion of Manchuria in September, 1931, was a major factor in
causing the USSR to dispense with the services of Japanese personnel as rapidly as
possible. Likewise, in other fields, [: ] Soviet imports from Japan dropped very
rapidly. Moscow was keenly aware of the fact that Japan had been forced to evacuate
the last Soviet territory (northern Sakhalin) only six years earlier, and of the
Tanaka Memorial outlining [: ] a renewed effort to conquer Siberia, beginning with
the acquisition of Manchuria and its development as a jumping-off place.

Kamchatka (Khabarovsk)

One of the fundamental [: ] limitations upon the further development of the Kamchatka
fisheries, as well as of all its other resources, has been was the insufficiency of ship–
ping. [: ] Therefore, there was also
considerable dependence upon the Japanese in this respect as well. In 1931, there
were only 45 Russian steam-powered vessels, including 3 constituting the crab fleet, in the
[: ] Kamchatka fisheries, but 164 Japanese, including 23 seeking crabs and 19
launches serving the latter. However, as has already been stated, a fundamental
change had been brought about by 1940, and, since 1945, the fisheries have been ex–
clusively Russian.
To prevent the exhaustion of the fisheries, large-scale breeding is engaged
in. In 1922, before the Soviets regained Kamchatka, there were two hatcheries on
Kamchatka, one established by Denby at Ust-Kamchatsk and the other by the Grushetskii
firm at Bolsheretsk. Both were maintained by these private concerns. Their joint
capacity was 5,000,000 fry per year. Today this, as all else, is in the government's
hands. Dozens of hatcheries have been established, and trained personnel are in. Only one was functioning in 1946, at Ushki, but its capacity was
charge. 25,000,000 fry per year.
The growth of the fisheries has made the problem of an adequate salt supply
a most serious one. The need is great, reaching 60,000 tons [: ] in 1940, of which Russia,
utterly lacking salt supplies in the temperate zones of its Far East, supplied only
1,600 tons. The rest was imported. However, with the outbreak of war in the Pacific,
every effort was made to increase Soviet salt production at Nordvik on the coast of
the Arctic [: ] Ocean about midway between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. As a result,
2,400 tons of Nordvik salt were shipped to the Kamchatka area in 1942, ten times as
much as in 1935, when the first experiment was made along these lines. 1943 shipments
multiplied 9 times over the year before, reaching 21,700 tons. During the following
year the Allied shipping shortage - the USSR had lost most of its merchant marine and
was dependent to a considerable extent upon Lend-Lease vessels - reduced the amount
of Nordvik salt that could be shipped eastward to 14,000 tons, although 2 1/2 times
that quantity was mined, or more than half the [: ] 61,500 tons needed by the Far
Eastern fisheries that year. Judging by salt requirements, the 1944 catch was only
slightly above that of 1940. But the 1947 catch [: ] in Soviet Far Eastern waters,

Kamchatka

increased by the [: ] appropriation of the former Japanese fisheries in Soviet territory as
well as by the acquisition of southern Sakhalin and the Kurile island chain, was
87.3% above that of 1940. Thus the need for salt is now in excess of 100,000 tons
per year. This would require a trebling of the last reported actual production at
Nordvik in the Arctic.
The sharp increase in [: ] the Soviet fish catch in Kamchatka and adjacent
waters since the barring of the Japanese, and the efforts of Gen. MacArthur to re-open
those areas to Japanese fishing, for whatever reason, merit a fuller discussion of
the Japanese fisheries than we have engaged in hitherto. [: ]
[: ] Several facts emerge. First, 152 Japanese steamships totalling 360, 653
tons - that is, sizeable vessels averageing [: ] about 2,400 tons - were
engaged in fishing in Soviet waters in 1936. They, and the shore fisheries, caught
over 94,000 tons of fish that year. By contrast, the increase in the Russian catch
in 1947 over 1946 was 82,000 tons, i.e., almost as much as the Japanese had lost,
excluding what increase there may have been in 1946, the first year of exclusive
Soviet operation. The Japanese also caught some 6,500,000 crabs. Over 20,000 workers
were engaged in these operations. The operations were in the hands of a vast
government-assisted [: ] cartel, the Nichiro Fishing Company, which took 7/8 of the
entire Japanese catch in Soviet waters. 4/5 of the catch was exported: the salmon
to England, [: ] crabmeat to the United States, and salt fish to China, Hongkong,
Manchuria and Korea. Thus the USSR has regained control and, judging by the 1947
figures, is efficiently operating, an asset providing [: ] a major additional
item of food supply for its own people, whose sources of proteins were greatly re–
duced by German slaughter of cattle in the rich agricultural areas up to Leningrad,
Moscow, Stalingrad and Rostov. More important, the [: ] Arctic waters of the Okhotsk
Sea and the sub-Arctic waters off eastern Kamchatka now give the USSR greater quanti–
ties of products with established markets in countries whose currencies Moscow needs
for the purchase of industrial and transport equipment of all kinds. It is quite
possible that, as the Soviet declaration of war against Japan came at the height or
the fishing season, in August, a number of vessels were captured by the Russians:

Kamchatka

insofar as any fishing fleet remained after diversion to war purposes and American
naval, submarine and aerial action. But there is no doubt that the Russians acquired
the large and excellent canneries and refrigeration plants the Japanese had built on
Soviet shores. The figures on these installations, as of 1939, indicate how completely
the fisheries are concentrated on the Kamchatka Peninsula:
Location Canneries Refrigeration Plants
Kamchatka, Eastern Shore 5 18
Kamchatka, Southern Shore 3 5
Kamchatka, Western Shore 13 9
Kamchatka, Northern Shore 12 13
Okhotsk mainland coast 1 11
Total 34 56
Whereas the first years after World War II, 1946 and 1947, were devoted to re–
pairing the equipment of, and training personnel to take over the former Japanese
installations, by 1948 further overall expansion of the industry was taking place. In
August of that year, two ships, loaded with cannery equipment and pre-fabricated
housing arrived at Malaia Garmandi Bay (62°N.) in the Gulf of Gizhiga of the Okhotsk
Sea to launch large-scale fishing here for the first [: ] time.
A fundamental [: ] change dating from World War II is the initiation of year-round
fishing for many varieties, rather than 4-month fishing for salmon only. Off-season
fishing in 1942-43 brought in 15 times the catch of 1939-40 during the same months,
when little effort was made in this direction.

Khabarovsk (Kamchatka)

Crab Industry
The waters of Kamchatka Oblast are rich in crabs. They are taken off the west
coast of the peninsula, but, on the east coast, only [: ] north of the peninsula proper, that
is, from Bering Strait south to Oliutorskii Bay. [: ] However, the industry is preponderantly
an Okhotsk Sea operation, 19 of 20 Japanese [: ] ships operating there in 1929, and
[]
only one in the Bering Sea. It was the Japanese who, in 1908, founded the crab industry. They
[: ] marketed the canned crab-meat
in the United States. The [: ] Kamchatka crab industry dates from 1919, when the
Japanese introduced floating factories off the coast - ships equipped to handle the
work from catching the crabs to boxing the packed cans. The manner in which [: ] Kam–
chatka outstripped Japanese home waters in this respect is graphically illustrated by
the following figures:
Year Catch in Japanese Waters Catch in Kamchatka Waters Total
1920 73,410,000 crates of cans 5,126,000 78,536,000
1925 69,897,000 185,440,000 255,137,000
Thus, the Kamchatka crab industry multiplied 36 times in five years. [: ]
Further trebling in the next four years, and the
[] relative importance of shore and floating canneries in the Japanese
industry in Russian waters is indicated by the following figures:
Year Canneries Ashore Floating Canneries Total
1920 4,839,000 crates 287,000 5,126,000
1925 76,000,000 109,240,000 185,240,000
1929 150,000,000 426,000,000 576,000,000
Production by 1940 was stabilized at about 500,000,000 boxes, or a little less than the 1929 level, while the catch in
Japanese waters was only one-tenth as large. However, in 1928 a Soviet crab industry
made its appearance, and grew so rapidly that in 1930 a special "Crab Trust" was formed
which took this field of operation over from the Kamchatka Company, but for a single
cannery on Ptichii Island. The growth of the Russian industry may be indicated by the
following figures:
Year Canneries Ashore s Floating [: ] Canneries Output in Crates of Cans
1928 1 2 63,000
1929 2 3 90,000
1930 3 5 150,000
1931 3 5 84,000
1934 ? [] 9 71,000
1935 ? 9 120,000

Kamchatka (Khabarovsk)

[: ] In 1946 the catch rose to 466, in 1947 to 500-odd, and
in 1948 to a figure well in excess of 700. The 15-year total, 1933-47, was 6,500, indi–
cating an average of 433. To attain that average, the annual catch between 1936 and 1945
would have had to be higher.
Under the 1946-50 5-Year-Plan, new coastal factories were being built for trying
whales, canning, refrigerating and salting their meat, and utilizing waste for ferti–
lizer manufacture.
The two best harpoon-gunnders of the Aleut , Prokopenko and Panov, secured 2,500 whales
between them in 10 years. The Russians claim that their modern equipment makes it pos–
sible to flense a whale in 40 to 50 minutes, instead of 7 or 8 hours, and to hoist it
aboard in 5 to 10 minutes, instead of 3 to 4 hours. The whaling fleet is based at Morzh–
ovaia (Walrus) Bay, not far from Petropavlovsk, where abundant fresh water is available,
and whales themselves abound.

Khabarovsk (Kamchatka)

Reindeer Breeding
Of an estimated 2,700,000 reindeer in the world in 1933, [: ] the USSR had two-thirds.
The most important reindeer-breeding area in the Russia has always been the [: ]
[: ] Okhotsk-Kamchatka territory, which has had the following number:
1912 692,000
1923 714,000
1926 729,000
1934 647,000
The geographic distribution of the total head in 1934 was as follows:
Chukot sk National Okrug 427,400
Koriak National Okrug 127,700
West Coast of Okhotsk Sea 45,300
North Coast of Okhotsk Sea 38,000
Kamchatka Peninsula 9,000
The reindeer [: ] were the property of 3,144 households: i.e., the average
holding was in excess of 200 head.
The fall in total head between 1926 and 1934 was not chiefly due to natural
causes. The collectivization of agriculture advocated [: ] by the Soviet authorities
everywhere in the USSR in the early ′30s was directed at the larger property owners.
Their spontaneous reaction everywhere was to slaughter their livestock rather than
permit it to become the property of those who had been their farmhands or herdsmen.
[: ] 18% of the reindeer were thus slaughtered. The Soviet government regards this
as the price of bringing about a more advanced form of social organization under which
those losses could be more than made good. [: ] With the [: ] reindeer-breeding
natives gathered into collectives and freed from the influence of the shamans, who
were closely linked with the large reindeer owners and used their "powers" of invoca–
tion on behalf of that group, the Soviets were able to provide and convince the natives
to utilize modern means. Veterinary stations, bacteriological laboratories, experiment–
al reindeer-breeding stations and feed dumps were set up for the animals, very often
in conjunction with food depots and educational, health and recreational centers for
the people. In 1934 experimental reindeer-breeding stations were organized on the
Y l ablon River in Markovo Raion, on the Konchalan in Anadyr Raion, on the Pogonda River
in the Eastern Tundra Raion, near Michiga Bay in the Chukotsk Raion and on the Shaiboven
River in the Penzhino Raion. Their instructions were to assist the native nomads in

Kamchatka (Khabarovsk)

every way possible. Each station served approximately 25,000 head of reindeer in an
area with a radius of 80 miles. By 1940 there were dozens of such stations, and the radius
of activity of each was correspondingly smaller. Their assignments duties were listed as:
(1) Improvement of the reindeer industry - regulation of nomadic grazing routes
to follow the most advantageous routes over the tundra; institution of accounting of
total numbers, natural increase, decrease, slaughter, sale, etc., selection and improve–
ment of the breed through mating; preservation of the herds from predatory animals and
natural catastrophe, veterinary and zoo-technical [: ] services, and assignment of
tracts of land to each collective;
(2) Further the organization and development of the nomadic economy, trapping
and fishing;
(3) Providing overall leadership to the native economy as a whole; and
(4) Conducting cultural and political activities among the nomadic population.
The personnel of the stations include reindeer experts, veterinaries, hunting
and trapping experts, and fishery personnel. Finally, the processing of reindeer products
has been placed on a semi-industrial [: ] basis. In the Anadyr, Chukot, Penzhino and
Korf Bay districts there have been established vertical [: ] enterprises providing
[: ] everything from stud service from the best bull reindeer,
meat-packing, tanning, hair-processing, and the manufacture of glue, horn products,
albumen, intestinal membrane and the like.
As a result of this overall planned direction, the head of reindeer in the
Kamchatka-Okhotsk territory reached 860,000 in 1937, the highest figure on record. In
1940 it was expected that the figure would reach 3,000,000 by 1943.
That may very
well have occurred, for in 1945 it was reported that the total head
had grown 50% in 1941-45, and enough additional no Chukchi had been
convinced of the advantages of collective reindeer farming to
form 3 new collective farms.

Kamchatka (Khabarovsk)

Fur Trapping
Trapping is one of the most universal occupations of the people of Kamchatka Oblast.
The most important peltries, economically speaking, are those of the fox, polar fox,
sable, squirrel and brown bear. Of secondary importance, not in individual value but
in proportion of marketed furs, are the [: ] ermine, otter, wolf, lynx, reindeer, mountain
goat, weasel, and wolverine. During the 17th and 18th centuries 50,000 sable were taken per
year, but by [: ] the end of the first decade of this
century the [: ] figure had dropped to 5,000, as a result of the
thoughtless extermination practiced in hunting. In 1912, therefore, the government pro–
claimed a three-year closed season, which brought about some rise. As the following
data for one of the richest fur districts of Kamchatka show, the closed season was
entirely too brief, and, after a single year of good hunting, the take dropped below the
1909-1910 level, while in two more years the figure was at an all-time low:
1909-1910 season 900 sable
1910-1911 600
1911-1912 400
1912-1913 350
1913-1916 Hunting prohibited
1916-1917 1,100
1917-1918 650
1918-1919 500
1919-1920 325
1920-1921 130
These figures all pertain to the years before the Soviets gained control of
Kamchatka, but, as shall be seen, it was 1930 before a conservation program could be
put into effect. The catch of other fur-bearing animals had also dropped during the
same years, but not as catastrophically. The average annual catch for all of Kamchatka
Oblast on the eve of the Revolution was as follows:
5,000 sable sold at $50-$100 each
5,000 red fox $9-$12.50 "
10 silver fox $250-$500 "
1,300 blue polar fox ? "
8,000 " " " $15-$30 "
3,000 brown bear $4-6 "
300 polar bear $40-60 "
500 otter $20-$25 "
200,000 squirrel $0.45-0.50 "
The total catch was valued at approximately $750,000.
In 1930 the USSR adopted a law governing the hunting and trapping industry,

Kamchatka (Khabarovsk)

which regulated the [: ] administration and use of hunting lands. Six government offices
were established in Kamchatka Oblast to control and direct this industry: one on the Okhotsk
mainland coast, two in the Koriak National Okrug, and one each in the Kronotskii, Uka and
[: ] Asacha areas of the peninsula. These stations are concerned with conservation,
regulation of hunting, breeding the most valuable types of fur-bearing animals and supplying
the hunting population with consumer goods and hunting and trapping equipment. [: ]
Hunter's cooperatives now predominate, although individuals are free to work for their own
account. However, all furs, however taken, are saleable only through government channels.
In rubles, the industry on Kamchatka has shown the following trend under Soviet
organization, by contrast to the 1,500,000 ruble average of pre-revolutionary times:
1924 951,500 rubles
1925 921,200
1926 550,200
1927 1,164,800
1928 1,050,500
1929 1,052,600
1930 1,097,600
1931 1,246,800
1932 1,458,000
1934 3,538,000
The mark-up on goods sold to the hunting population declined from 132% in 1923
to 41.8% in 1930. [: ] with
the decline in transport costs due to increased volume, bigger and better ships, [: ]
centralized supply in place of competitive small enterprise, and elimination of get-rich–
quick practices. The people have also benefitted by an increase in the prices paid for
furs. It is of interest to note that the 1931 prices were maintained at the 1927 level,
and in some cases were higher, despite the fall in world market prices for furs:
Fur 1912 1927 1931
Sable 90 rubles 100 rubles 100 rubles
Red Fox 16 rubles 30 rubles 30 rubles
White Fox 27 rubles 45 rubles 45 rubles
Stoat 1 ruble 3 rubles 3.20 rubles
Otter 20 rubles 75 rubles 100 rubles
Squirrel 0.40 rubles 1.80 rubles 1.80 rubles
During the same period, the price paid for silver fox rose 60%, for bear 25%,
and for reindeer skins, 233%.
Until 1931 the catch was picked up by an American
concessionaire, Olaf Swenson who was also empowered to sell necessities to the natives.
During World War II, the trapping industry grew 150% in overall
catch, probably as a result of the increased luxury market in the United
States, and the Soviet government's need for dollars.

Kamchatka (Khabarovsk)

Agriculture
Efforts to introduce agriculture into the Okhotsk-Kamchatka territory date from
the 1730s. [: ] Vitus Bering (q.v.) reported to St. Petersburg at that time that barley,
hemp and radish were grown in the clearing round the Yakutsk Monastery on Kamchatka, [: ]
while turnips grew to 10 lbs. each. He added that whereas the frosts came early and
human beings were the tractive power for their own ploughs, barley and [: ] rye were
grown at the fortress outposts. [: ] G.W. Steller [: ]
[: ] naturalist of the Bering Expedition, and an observer of
notable accuracy, stated unequivocally that Kamchatka was rich in meadow grasses, offer–
ing rich perspectives for stock-raising. Both Steller and his predecessor, Krasheninnikov,
pointed out that nowhere in Russia were there richer or taller grasses than on Kamchatka.
In the middle of the 19th century, when the energetic Admiral Zavoiko (q.v.)
was governor, both agriculture and livestock were again introduced on Kamchatka, but
there followed another period in which these beginnings were lost. The reason is simple.
Hunting and fishing, requiring a relatively small expenditure of time and labor under
the conditions existing on Kamchatka, brought enormous returns, whereas agriculture,
demanding heavy and persistent work, under these sub-Arctic conditions, gave negligible results in proportion thereto.
Therefore agriculture was pursued only from time to time by persons able to engage in
it as a hobby.
In 1910, in connection with the building of the radio station, a government
experimental farm was established at Petropavlovsk, with blooded stock. It served chief–
ly to meet part of the needs of the newly-enlarged administrative staff of the region,
although it also provided calfs to persons in the population desirous of raising them.
On the entire enormous peninsula, the number of cattle in pre-revolutionary times was
as follows:
1891 2,228 cattle 826 horses
1896 2,915 cattle- 1,154 horses
1914 3,587 cattle 1,558 horses
1922 3,200 cattle 1,600 horses
Thus, the average annual increase in cattle was 46 head; in horses, 37. No
shelter was built for what little livestock there was and it was not uncommon for them
to be turned loose to graze beneath the snow in winter, despite the enormous depths of
snowfall. They developed long winter coats, and entire herds of wild horses came into

Kamchatka

being in the Kamchatka River valley as a result.
As for small livestock, there were only six sheep and four pigs [: ] in all of
Kamchatka Oblast in 1876. Even for the 5-year period 1911-15, the average was only 140
pigs and 20 goats.
Gardening was limited to the planting of potatoes, turnips and various types of
turnips. In 1922 the total area under gardens in Kamchatka Oblast came to forty acres.
By 1934, thanks to the founding of experimental farms, the training of the local populace
in agricultural pursuits, clearing of the forest, provision of tractors to pull roots
and turn the virgin soil, encouragement to individual farmers in the early years of
Soviet rule and importation of cattle, the picture had changed markedly. The land under
crop on the Kamchatka Peninsula proper had multiplied more than 100-fold, reaching [: ] 4,350 acres. The number of horses
had risen more than a third, and now stood at 2,241; cattle had increased to 5,543, while
a new branch of livestock-raising had made its appearance, for there were now 6,116 pigs.
7,043 tons of potatoes were harvested, 5,520 tons of root-crops were dug, the cows gave
2,250,000 quarts of milk and slaughter yielded 198 tons of meat. Of the greatest inter–
est is the fact that the value of agriculture, by 1934, actually exceeded that of the
hunting and trapping industry: 4,844,000 rubles to 3,538,000. However, as shall be ex–
plained below in greater detail, the sub-Arctic climate was still, at this time, a virtu–
ally insuperable obstacle [: ] to the growing of grain-crops, so that only one-tenth of
the acreage was sown to them. However, the vegetables now grown included the onion[], cabbage[],
pumpkin, spinach, cucumber, tomato and even apple, not yet acclimatized on the Siberian main–
land. North of the Kamchatka Peninsula, in the true Arctic, agriculture had only begun
to develop in 1934. 150 acres were planted to vegetables in the Koriak National Okrug
and 85 in the Okhotsk mainland area, but only 10 acres on the Chukot Peninsula and 10
acres in Bystrynskii Okrug. As for [: ] livestock, there were, in the Koriak National Okrug, in
1932, 975 head of cattle, 551 horses, 63 pigs and 22 fowl. They had been brought there
to supply the Russian personnel of the Cultural Bases and to interest the natives in
these branches of agriculture.
The chief difficulty with grain crops was the fact that the growing season before frost
was a month too short. Beginning in 1936, this was overcome by covering the white snow fields with
dark volcanic ash in February, thus greatly speeding spring melting. This effect of volcanic ash
had been cast forth by an eruption had been noted by Admiral Zavoiko in 1855, but was later forgotten
Now charcoal is used, as it is blacker and more generally available. As a result, area under crop
rose to 5,600 acres in 1938. During World War II, the acreage doubled again, and the crop trebled. By
1945 a grain yield of 24 bushels per acre was the general objective on Kamchatka, and it was hoped to
obtain 12 tons of potatoes per acre. The previous year Kamchatka had, for the first time, met in
full its own needs for potatoes and vegetables.
The Kamchatka River valley is capable of supporting
10,000 forms families once a road is put through.

Kamchatka

Dog-Raising
The dog is the most numerous tractive animal in the Okhotsk-Kamchatka territory.
(There are more reindeer, but only a small proportion are domesticated.) Prior to the
Revolution there were some 40,000 sledge dogs in Kamchatka Oblast. A canine census in
1926-27 showed 54,670 dogs in the Okhotsk-Kamchatka and Chukot-Anadyr territories. They
[: ] consumed annually some 8,000,000 fish of the salmon varieties, to a value of
410,000 rubles in prices of that day. But, for various reasons, perhaps not unconnected
with hasty, premature efforts to gather the native hunters and herdsmen into collective
farms, 44% of the dogs had died or been killed off, and the total number declined to
30,267. To make good this decline, breeding [: ] kennels were established with blooded
stock, their purpose being to raise not only sledge dogs but animals for the frontier
guards of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Kamchatka

Forestry and Lumbering
The first investigation of the forest riches of Kamchatka was undertaken in
1928. The resources of the Kamchatka River valley were estimated at a minimum of 40,000,000
broad leaved trees larch and 2,000,000 pines. The average age of the deciduous trees larch was 142
years, that of the pines - 158. The Avacha, Paratunka and Nachika Rivers flow through
basins with extensive- park-like forests. The total reserve there was estimated at 200,000
stone birch and 136,000 willow and poplar. The Kamchatka Forestry Administration computes
the timbered area of the Kamchatka and Avacha valleys at 11,489,773 acres, that of the
Anadyr district at 5,863,543 acres, and that of the Penzhino district at 11,207,625.
[: ] All the fortress outposts, houses and ships of the Russians [: ]
[: ] two centuries ago were [: ] built of native timber, which [: ] was also an export pro–
duct. [: ] However, hardly a dent has been made in the enormous resources of the area, for the
annual use as recently as a quarter century ago (i.e., 1924-25) was only 22,100 cubic
meters, of which two-thirds was firewood. [: ] In 1931 the importation of lumber
to Kamchatka was prohibited ( [: ] during the preceding generation, when the
development of Kamchatka began, finished boards were transported from Vladivostok) and
the lumbering industry entered a period of rapid expansion. In the decade before World
War II lumbermills were built at Kliuchevskii and Petropavlovsk on the peninsula of
Kamchatka, in the district of Okhotsk on the northwestern coast of that sea, and on the
Shantar Islands in its southwestern corner, enabling the full needs of the area at that time to be met
locally. These operations also revealed the fact that many forests were fully 240 years
of age, and that [: ] the completely virgin forests showed up to 50% standing deadwood.
By 1938 the Kliuchevskii mill alone was delivering 183,000 cubic meters of lumber, includ–
ing round logs as well as boards solidly packed, i.e., over eight times as much as the
whole area had used 13 years earlier.
It also makes river boats, barges and launches
Logs linked in huge cigar-shoped rafts are towed by sea
from [: ] Kamchatka, at the mouth of the Kamchatka
River, to Retropavlovsh.

Kamchatka

Coal Industry
Of the numerous coal deposits known to exist in Kamchatka Oblast, those at
Anadyr (Bukhta Ugolnaia) and Korf Bay have been in process of development since 1929.
[: ] for the use of the vessels of the Northern Sea Route Administration. The Anadyr
deposit is believed to contain 780,000 tons of 5,180-calory coal, with 3.49% ash, while
the much larger Korf Bay resources are also of much lower quality: [: ] 30 31,000,000 tons of 4,140-4,230 calory coal
with 10.01-11 95% ash. The first years of mining showed the following results:
Year Korf Bay, Tons Anadyr, Tons Total, Tons
1929 3,211 1,130 4,341
1930 1,219 1,196 2,415
1931 12,276 2,127 14,403
1932 ? ? 8,500
1933 4,613 2,500 7,113
The decline in output after 1931 was attributed to the poor administration and
[: ]
shortage of labor. The failure to develop others among the 73 known coal deposits on
Kamchatka tended to retard the expansion of the economy of the peninsula as a whole.
Its large canneries, growing fishing fleet, and the needs of transport had annually
greater needs for coal which were met by a long over-water haul from Sakhalin and
Vladivostok at a cost of 50 rubles per ton. By 1940 it was believed that Korf Bay output
had reached 50,000 tons - still only one-ninth of the [: ] need in 1933, and the need it–
self had, presumably, risen in the intervening years.

Kamchatka

Other Mining Mineral Resources
By 1940 the known mineral riches of the Kamchatka Oblast included gold,; pumice–
stone,; asbestos,; gypsum,; coloring, construction and pottery clays and [: ] kaolin,;
graphite,; various iron ores,; limestones,; marble,; marl,; copper,; chalk,; molybdenum,; arsenic,;
nickel,; tin,; ochre,; pyrites,; platinum,; sulphur,; silver-lead ores,; zinc,; mica,; antimony,;
building stone,; and semi-precious stones: agate[], amethyst[], opal[], chalcedony, carnelian,
smoky and gold-tinted crystal, varicolored jasper, amber, pearls, whetstones, [: ]
fluorspar, tripoli and mammoth tusks. Further, there are vast quantities of high-quality
peat, capable of providing hundreds of millions of tons of fuel [: ] . [: ]
[: ] There is also petroleum, the first commercial drilling for which
dates from June 17, 1934, and was made at Voiampolk a . The oil turned out to be of high
quality and similar to the better grades of Baku oil. There are spots where Kamchatka
oil exudes at the surface of its own accord. Potentially, it is of importance not only
for the region itself, but for the entire northern portion of Asia's Pacific seaboard
and off-lying archipelag [: ] . Palana was the main petroleum-development district in 1946
Kamchatka is also rich in water power. In its Arctic regions wind power stations
have been installed. One such station was built at Chaun Bay and another at ( St. Lawrence ) Lawrentiia
Bay in 1934, each having five windmills of 15 kilowatt-power each. They provided all the
power needed for the cultural base, school[] and hospital at each of these places. It is
also planned to use the numerous hot springs and the terrestrial heat of the volcances,
providing natural steam.

Kamchatka

Commerce
By January 1, 1934, there were 195 year-round and 3 seasonal trading posts [: ]
in Kamchatka Oblast: 52 in the Chukchi National Okrug, 50 in the Koriak National Okrug,
71 on the peninsula of Kamchatka and 25 on the Okhotsk seacoast. They served, on the
average, 436 persons scattered over a territory of 4,000 square miles. Their turnover,
including purchase of furs as well as sale of necessities, was as follows:
1928 3,933,900 rubles
1930 10,657,800
1932 22,398,000
The income of the population in 1935 came from the following sources:
Furs 3,500,000 rubles
Fishing and sealing, etc. 5,500,000
Reindeer 200,000
Agriculture and handicrafts 900,000
Wages, fish processing 1,800,000
Haulage, sledging, etc. 3,500,000
Total 15,400,000
At this time, therefore, the population was chiefly self-employed, only one-third
of its income (5,300,000 rubles) coming from wages and [: ] haulage. The
latter, too, was largely a contractual rather than pure wage relationship, for the [: ]
individual often provided his own sledge and dogs or reindeer, horse and wagon, or
small boat. [: ] The foregoing figures are exclusive of the earn–
ings of the seasonal fishery workers.

Kamchatka

Investment
The direction in which the economy of Kamchatka was being developed on the eve
of World War II is best indicated by the total investments made there from the institution
of the Soviet regime to 1938. It is notable that more than two-thirds of this investment
was made in the years 1933-38. By 1938 the picture stood as follows:
Fisheries development (see above) 56,600,000 rubles invested
Transport (ships, harbor improvement, roads) 47,500 1 ,008
Costs of bringing settlers and assisting them 32,500,000
Petroleum Industry 12,000,000
Lumber Industry 11,000,000
Agriculture 5,600,000
Coal Industry 3,700,000
Reindeer Industry 2,100,000
Total 171,000,000

Kamchatka Oblast

Inducements to Settlers
A 1946 pamphlet published by the Soviet Ministry of Fisheries to induce settle–
ment in the Far East, including Kamchatka, lists the following government assistance
both to seasonal fishery workers and to permanent settlers [: ] of all types. In the first
place, they are classed with personnel in the Far North, which gives them numerous
privileges - and also indicates that these areas are still Arctic or sub-Arctic, inso–
far as conditions of human life are concerned. Specifically, free transportation for
the worker, [: ] his belongings and his family, if they accompany him, is provided from his place of resi–
dence to his destination: 5,000 miles by rail and sea, in most cases. Secondly, he is
paid a lump sum to assist him in meeting the initial [: ] costs of setting up house in
the new location, and per diem for himself and each member of his family from the time
of leaving his previous employment to the time of going to work in Kamchatka or else–
where in the Far East. The rates are very liberal. Thirdly - this was a special imme–
diate postwar provision when rationing was still in effect [: ] and there was an extreme
shortage of clothing - he received an issue of underclothing, footwear and the right to
purchase all consumer goods at the favored fishermen's cooperative stores. Wage rates
and piece rates in the Far East, including Kamchatka, are 30 to 60% higher than in the
European portion of the USSR. Further, as a premium to induce workers to remain and
build a permanent working force, reducing the turnover which has plagued Soviet indus–
try since the fear of unemployment disappeared in 1929, there is an automatic 10% wage
increase in the Far East every six months. There is a paid vacation of 36 days per year
(elsewhere in the [: ] USSR it varies between two weeks and a month), while specialized
personnel whose working day depends upon their responsibilities rather than a fixed
schedule, receive a 48-day vacation. In addition, once in three years the employing enterprise pays the wor–
ker's fare to and from the place he chooses to spend his vacation.
[: ] Further inducements are provided to permanent settlers making their homes [: ]
[: ] outside the chief urban areas of the Soviet
Far East. No part of Kamchatka is urban, Petropavlovsk still having many of the inconve–
niences of a booming pioneer town. Every such settler is entitled upon demand to a gov–
ernment loan for private home building, only 60% of which must be repaid. Similar loans
are offered for the purchase of a cow or other livestock, [: ] to meet the family's
Krasheninnikov (qv), who [: ] spent almost 4 years (1737-1741)
on Kamchatka at the time of the Bering Expedition was the first
to describe the hot springs and geysers.
" [: ] In many places, the springs shoot up in the guise of
fountains 1 1/2 ft high, and mostly producing a lot of noise.
Some of them cons t itute lakes located in large hollows, and out
of them flow numerous rivulets".
Krasheninnikov found their temperature to be near boiling point,
around 185°F., and sometimes higher. Of the springs in the valley
of Ozernaia river, which flows out of Kurile Lake, he writes:
"Their water is so hot, that one can boil [] meat in it... Along
the shores grow green grasses, some of which were in blossom".
This Krasheninnikov observed in March, when deep snow was lying
on the ground.
Bee.

Kamchatskaia Oblast

own needs. Fishery personnel in the Far East who engage in farming as a supplementary
occupation are not required to sell any produce to the state at controlled prices until
five years after they have begun farming. However, Kamchatka [: ] did not seem to be, im–
mediately after World War II, the Far Eastern area which the Soviet government [: ] was most eager
to populate. Wages and all other privileges on Sakhalin Island were, by decree of
March 1, 1946, 50% higher than elsewhere in Khabarovsk Territory, of which Kamchatka
is a part, whilte for the Kurile Islands the premium in all respects was 100%, to
compensate for the fog and isolation.
In Kamchatka Oblast, these financial inducements and the general policy of
developing the Arctic and sub-Arctic have brought 45,000 permanent residents to Petro–
pavlovsk, which is the only urban community in the entire area meriting the administra–
tive rank of [: ] "city". Six new localities, recently founded, have risen to the status of
"workers' settlements", engaged in commercial shipping, mining, year-round fishing and
canning, or having administrative responsibility for the surrounding countryside. This
status means that their population is presumably between 1,000 and 5,000 each, or ap–
proximately that of Alaska's towns, except the largest. Their dates of incorporation
indicate how recent is the opening of the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Three of them, (
Anadyr (1934), Providenie (1946) and Ugolnyi (1946), all on Anadyr Bay in the Bering
Sea, are in the Chukot sk National Okrug. The Koriak National Okrug, about the size of
California (it is 151,700 sq. mi. in area) has no workers' settlement as yet, being
administered from the village of Palana. The other three workers' settlements are on
the southern half of Kamchatka. They are Industrialnyi, a suburb of Petropavlovsk,
and Kikhchik and Mikoian, centers of the fishing and canning industry on the non–
freezing portion of the coast.
It is entirely within reason that tourist travel will eventually swell the
seasonal population of Kamchatka. [: ] This is the one active vol–
canic region in the USSR, the tallest peak being Kliuchevskaia, 16,000 ft. It contains
the only geysers in Soviet territory. ✓[ They were discovered only after World War II. ](?)
Finally, it has a considerable number of springs of proven healing quality.

Kamchatka Oblast

Literature:

Kamchatskie vstrechi , Semen Bytovoi, 240 pp., Molodaia Gvardiia, Leningrad, 1948.

Patrioty Dalnego Vostoka , S.K. Gerasimov, 144 pp., Pishchepromizdat, Moscow, 1946.

Kamchatka, 1740-1940 , ed. by A.A. Purin, 248 pp., Slovo, Shanghai, 1940.

Rossiia v Severo-vostochnoi Azii , 2 vols. I.I. Gapanovich, Pekin, 1933 and 1934.

Kamchatskii Krai , M.A. Sergeev, Moscow, 1934.

Kamchatskaia Oblast , Mikhail Bolshakov and Vladimir Rubinskii, Moscow-Leningrad, 1934.

Po Sovetskoi Kamchatke , V. Kanotorovich, V. Kantorovich, Moscow, 1931.

Northwest of the World , by Olaf [: ] Swenson, 270 pp., Dodd, Mead and Co., New York, 1944.

The Urge to the Sea: The Course of Russian History , Robert J. Kerner, 212 pp., U. of Cal. 1942.

Through Kamchatka By Dog Sled and Skis , by Sten Bergman, 284 pp., Seeley, Service & Co.,
London, 1927.

The Rim of Mystery , John B. Burnham, 281 pp., Putnam's, New York, 1929.

Armed Intervention in Russia, 1918-1922 , W.P. and Z.K. Coates, 400 pp., Gollancz, London, 1935.

The Soviet Far East and Central Asia, William Mandel,

158pp., Institute of
Pacific Relations, N. T., 1944.

The U.S.S.R, A Geographical Survey, J. S. Gregory and D.W. Share, 636 pp.,
Harrap, London, 1944.

The Basis of Soviet Strength, by Geo. B. Cressey, 287 pp.
Whittlesey House, 1945.

L.S. Berg, Otkrytie Kamchatki i Ekspeditsia Beringa (Discovery of Kamchatka and the
Bering Expedition), Academy of Sciences, Moscow 1946

Krasheninnikov, M., (meaning Mr. because his name is Stepan)
Voyage en Siberie contenant la Description du Kamtchatka
Chez Debure, Paris 1768

Williams Mandel
HomeKamchatka Territory : Encyclopedia Arctica 10: Soviet North, Geography and General
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