Mikhail Prokofievich


Mikhail Prokofievich Belousov was the captain of the flagship icebreaker “Joseph Stalin” of the Main Sea Route under the SNK of the USSR. He was born on October 30 (November 12), 1904 in Rostov-on-Don in a peasant family. He had incomplete secondary education. He worked as a sailor on private fishing vessels on the Sea of Azov. In 1925 he graduated from the maritime department of the Rostov Polytechnic of Railways. Since 1924 he had been sailor, navigator’s apprentice, assistant captain of the steamer “Memory of Lenin” in the Far East. He was in the Red Army from November 1926 to 1930. He participated in the battles on the Chinese-Eastern Railway (CER) in 1929. He was a member of the CPSU (b)/CPSU since 1928. Since 1930, he worked again in the Far Eastern Shipping Company. Since 1932 he had been captain of the steamer “Volkhovstroy”, then the steamer “Komiles”. In 1935-1939 he was captain of the icebreaker “Krasin”, sailed in the eastern sector of the Arctic, carried out the first posting of cargo ships to the east behind the icebreaker, in 1937-1938 withstood wintering with the ship in the Khatanga Bay. Since August 1938 he had been captain of the flagship icebreaker “Joseph Stalin” Glavsevmorput, for the first time formed a Komsomol youth crew on the icebreaker. During the summer navigation of 1939, for the first time in history, the Joseph Stalin made a double through voyage in one navigation from Murmansk by the Northern Sea Route through the Bering Strait to Providence Bay of the Anadyr Bay (off the southeastern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula) and back the same way. In the winter of 1939-1940, the icebreaker “Joseph Stalin” under the command of M.P. Belousov brought the icebreaker steamer “Georgy Sedov” out of the ice in the Greenland Sea at 80 degrees 30 minutes north latitude and 1 degree 50 minutes east longitude, northwest of Spitsbergen, drifting for 812 days from the Laptev Sea; at the same time, in early January, the icebreaker “Joseph Stalin” reached a record latitude (80 degrees 42 minutes north latitude) for free navigation at polar night. In difficult Arctic conditions, under the threat of ice compression, on January 13, 1940, the icebreaker Joseph Stalin approached the Georgy Sedov, transferred fuel, water, and food to its board and brought it out of ice captivity. By the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated February 3, 1940, Mikhail Prokofievich Belousov was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union with the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal for exemplary fulfillment of the government task and courage and heroism shown at the same time. The icebreaker “Joseph Stalin” was awarded the Order of Lenin. From 1941 until the end of his life he was Deputy head of the Main Sea Route at the SNK of the USSR – Head of the Maritime Department. At the same time, from November 1941 to May 1942, he was commander of the Icebreaking Vessels Detachment of the Main Sea Route, and from December 1942, head of the Department of the White Sea Ice Operations, provided escort of caravans of ships to Arkhangelsk and along the route of the Northern Sea Route; from December 1943, head of naval operations in the Far East. He died on May 15, 1946. He was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow (plot 3). He was Captain of the 1st rank. He was awarded two Orders of Lenin (02/3/1940, 12/22/1945), Orders of the Red Banner (1.05.1944), the Patriotic War of the 1st degree (07/8/1945), the Red Star (1937, according to other sources – 1940), medals “For the Victory over Germany” (1945), “For the Defense of the Soviet Arctic” (1945). “Honorary Worker of the USSR Navy”. “Honorary Polar explorer”. Two icebreakers of the USSR Arctic Fleet, a cape near Ziegler Island in the Franz Josef Land archipelago, a cape in Antarctica (1958), a mountain on Wrangel Island in the Chukchi Sea are named in his honor. In Moscow a memorial plaque is installed on the house in which the Hero lived.

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