by Nikolai VEKHOV, Cand. Sc. (Biol.), Russian Scientific-Research Institute of Cultural and Natural Legacy named after D. Likhachev, the Russian Federation Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications (Moscow)
Of great interest for studies of people's past, apart from the generally recognized monuments of architecture and art, are literary works, especially of historic, and ethnographic nature, like diaries and travelogues which often contain information not found in the archives. One such literary source is a book God na Severe (A Year in the North) which describes the culture, traditional crafts and folklore of the Pomorye region of the middle of the 19th century when the region reached its summit. The author of the book is Acad. Sergei Maximov, a writer and ethnographer, and an Honorary Member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1900. His 175th birthday is marked this year.
There were two hostile naval attacks in the 19th century on Russia's northern regions. During the Napoleonic wars in 1809 - 1810 the British staged a blockade of the Murman (northern coast of the Kola Peninsula) where they plundered and burned down settlements of the Pomor hunters and fishermen and shelled the town of Kola. During the Crimean War (1853 - 1856) the British, together with the French, blockaded navigation on the Barents Sea from the Russian-Norwegian border to the Kola Peninsula and carried out raids on the White Sea. The main hostilities took place far in the south, but the enemy delivered strikes at the local weakest spots of our defences-in 1854 there were pitiless shellings of the Kola, Kandalaksha, the Solovetsky Monastery, etc.
In the face of this course of events the Russian government decided to rebuild its navy. In 1855 its commander, Grand Prince Konstantin Nikolayevich, sent a request to the Commissariat Department of the Naval Ministry asking them to try and find some gifted writers and send them to Arkhangelsk, Astrakhan, Orenburg, to the Volg ... Читать далее