Pyotr Petrovich Shirshov was a Soviet statesman, hydrobiologist and polar explorer, Professor, Doctor of Geographical Sciences, Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Hero of the Soviet Union. He came from an employee’s family. He was enrolled in the postgraduate course of the Dnepropetrovsk Biological Station and specialized in freshwater biology while he was a student,. His first scientific works, carried out under the supervision of Professor D.O. Svirenko, belong to this time. Shirshov took part in expeditions organized to survey the sanitary and biological condition of the Lugansk and Samara rivers in the Donbass, and then the Dnieper, Southern Bug and Kodyma. In these expeditions, he studied algae and microflora. He announced the results of his research in four articles published in the proceedings of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1930, he headed a botanical expedition of the USSR Academy of Sciences to the Kola Peninsula, where he conducted a hydrobiological survey of the Notozer and the Tuloma River. In 1931, under his leadership, surveys of the Krestovaya Lip and the Northern Sulmeneva Lip were conducted in the Arctic on Novaya Zemlya. He managed to compile a detailed biological map of the littoral and sublittoral vegetation of Novaya Zemlya. In 1930-1938 he was a researcher at the All–Union Arctic Institute, in 1931-1932 he was a member of the expedition to Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land, then from 1932 to 1938 he participated in expeditions to Sibiryakov (1932), Chelyuskin (1933-1934), Krasin (1936) at the drifting station “North Pole-1” (1937-1938). In 1938-1939, after the dismissal and arrest of Rudolf Samoilovich, Shirshov became a director of the All-Union Arctic Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1939-1942, Shirshov was the 1st deputy chairman of the Main Directorate of the Northern Sea Route under the SNK of the USSR. At the same time, in 1941, he was an authorized representative of the State Defense Committee. From February 8, 1942 to March 30, 1948 he was a People’s Commissar, then Minister of the Navy of the USSR.
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