– It all started out with Vityaz. The legendary vessel completed its last voyage and arrived at the port of Kaliningrad in 1979. At this time, I just graduated from university with a degree in Ocean Geography, and the arrival of Vityaz in Kaliningrad was something incredible to for us, oceanologists. it took a long time to decide the fate of the vessel. There were plans to lay up it on the Moscow River, the option of moving it to Leningrad was also under consideration. But in the end, the Ministry of Culture assigned the care of the vessel to the Regional Museum of History and Art. And you know, from that moment everything became simple and clear to me: Vityaz must be preserved and become a museum. I prepared the concept of arranging an exhibit on its board and I came with it to the director of the Museum of History and Art to get a job. Of course, at first it was difficult. Vityaz Friends Club members and character helped. In addition, I was strongly supported by Irina Viktorovna Iksanova, deputy director of the Moscow Institute of Cultural Studies, who believed in me. It was she who suggested sending me, a young employee, to an all-union meeting of directors and specialists of natural science museums in Transbaikalia, which became for me a peculiar museum university. I believed in myself and thatI, together with like-minded people, I could give Vityaz a second life. So, in 1983, my fate and the fate of the research vessel were closely intertwined and became one. Today I can’t even imagine that everything might have gone a different way. And now, looking back, I think that if I were offered to rewind time and return to the same starting point, I would go down this path again, difficult, but fantastically interesting.
By setting up a museum on the research vessel Vityaz, I took the first step towards the realization of a dream. And now I often tell young specialists: “Dream, be sure to dream about something big and great, and each of your actions will become a “brick” that will help make the dream a reality. Set a goal and have the patience to move ahead step by step!”
– The path of any museum as determined by its function is development. It seems to me that this process was launched 30 years ago and nothing can stop it. Collections will grow, new exhibit items and perhaps, why not, new branches will emerge. And no matter who will be at the helm. The theme of the ocean is huge, it will give new ideas, which means there will be consistent forward movement. We have a lot to do in the near future: a lighthouse in Zalivino, replenishment of the small flotilla, but the primary goal today is the Planet Ocean. The implementation of this project gives us the full right to be called the Museum of the World Ocean.
– I have love ships since childhood. Everything fascinates me in them: architecture, movement, challenge if you like. And when I dreamed of being a sea captain at a young age, I thought about how I would conquer the oceans. That’s what’s happening. Running the museum, I remain a geographer and an oceanologist. I remember my first sea expeditions and the largest one lasted almost four months in the Southeast Atlantic on the large freezing fishing trawler Salekhard. It was followed by the voyages aboard the research vessels Academician Mstislav Keldysh, Academician Sergei Vavilov, Academician Ioffe. An immense love for the sea and ships is forever. And when you go along the decks of a famous ship, the first thing you start thinking about is how to make it possible for everyone to board it, learn its history and feel its power. I am sure every ship has a soul. It hears us, feels our care and «rises.» I felt it aboard Vityaz and Krasin.
The theme of the ocean is huge, it will give new ideas, which means there will be consistent forward movement
We believed in each other – and everything worked out. This is a kind of trust. Each ship moored at the Museum Embankment is the result of hard-won and emotional efforts. Helping, restoring and preserving them, we help ourselves. We save not just history and memory, we save our soul. So my soul and our common victory over oblivion are bound to ships.
– Of course, not every ship needs to be preserved. But there are special ships. Behind them is a unique story, unique architecture. They are the last of their kind, such as, for example, the space communications ship Cosmonaut Viktor Patsaev, the floating beacon Irbensky, or the B-413 submarine. There are ships that combine all this at once. It’s about them that we must take care of. And it’s necessary to think about their preservation, even when they are in service. Alas, the museum had to rebuild ships that looked more like a pile of old iron. We literally pulled them out of undeserved oblivion and reassembled them bit by bit. Therefore, today it’s necessary to decide the fate of the rescue vessel Kommuna located in Sevastopol, the research vessel Cosmonaut Viktor Patsaev. We must not forget that our legendary sailboats must be preserved in the future. Behind each of these ships is the great history of Russia. They are “living” witnesses of our victories, and we can use them today to tell young people the truth about the exploits, discoveries and accomplishments of their grandfathers and great grandfathers. This can be seen clearly in the case of the icebreaker Krasin. Over its centenary history, the vessel was involved in both World Wars, took part in unique rescue expeditions. When you learn about its exploits, you understand: Russia is a great country. This is especially important for the younger generation, because at the moment they don’t just feel their involvement in the history of the Fatherland, they understand what it means to be a Russian. We appreciate the help in preserving the historical ships from our friends, among which the United Shipbuilding Corporation occupies a special place. After all, this is a very complicated and financially intensive work, which it would be very difficult for us alone to cope with.
If we talk about the further development of the Embankment of the Historical Fleet of the Museum of the World Ocean, I do not exclude the possibility of replenishing it with new vessels. Time will show what they look like, but the fact that they will open another page in the history of the museum, shipbuilding and the country as a whole, that’s for sure.