Michael K. Sidorov (1823-1887) and the north of Russia

Category Other
Group GSI.IR
Location International Geological Congress,oslo 2008
Author Minina, Elena
Holding Date 03 September 2008

In the second half of the 19th century, Michael Konstantinovich Sidorov was well known not in Russia also in Europe. The personality and activity of this outstanding person - industrialist, businessman, and enthusiast of the Russian North - is a vivid example of disinterested service to the Fatherland, selflessness, purposefulness and persistence in implementation of noble plans.
Michael was born on March 16, 1823 in a family of Arkhangelsk merchant. In 1845, having left for Krasnoyarsk (East Siberia), he was involved in a gold production business. Thanks to the enterprise as well as luck in prospecting and exploration of new gold deposits, Sidorov became soon a millionaire. But he did not aspire to personal well-being and riches: "Having left the financially favourable gold industry on a background... I have transferred all activities and financial resources to northern seaside margins of the native land ". He has set for himself a task of a state aims - development of the Russian North: industry, ship-building, mining, land and see roads, education, - all that could raise a standard of living and formation of inhabitants of this vast region.
Since 1857 Sidorov tried to prove a need and advantages of navigation through Northern seas. In 1862-1877 he repeatedly organized and financed that kind of trips. Together with O. Dickson and A. Sibiryakov, Sidorov sponsored the Nordenskiold scientific expedition 1878-1880) - the first Northern Sea Passage. Later Sidorov wrote: "Before discovering of the sea route, I was looked at as a dreamer, which ruined himself for realization of an unrealizable dream. I am happy that I could render a feasible service to my fatherland".
Sidorov did herself to show natural riches of the Russian North. He attended 25 exhibitions, including 16 world’s fairs. There he displayed samples of rocks and materials, collected on a huge territory - from Yakutia to Norway: oil, coal, graphite, iron, coal, asbestos, pearls, silver, gold nuggets, etc. He was awarded by 15 medals, including five big gold ones, for attending of these exhibitions. Sidorov donated geological, biological, ethnographical, and archaeological collections to Russian and foreign Museums, Universities, and scientific organizations.
This "poorly educated" person was a member of 27 Russian and 6 foreign scientific and charitable societies. He lectured on the North of Russia, published articles. All his funds M. Sidorov invested in realization of grandiose projects, most of them could not be realized at that time.
On July 11, 1887, M.K. Sidorov has died in Aachen. The "New Times" wrote: "The examples of hobby, persistence, and sequence in carrying out of known ideas are so rare in our society that persons similar to Sidorov should raise surprise, their names should remain with gratitude for descendants".