Soviet Antarctic Expedition

The Soviet Antarctic Expedition (SAE or SovAE) (Russian: Советская антарктическая экспедиция, САЭ, Sovetskaya antarkticheskaya ekspeditsiya) was part of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute of the Soviet Committee on Antarctic Research of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

The Soviet Union's Ministry of Sea Transport was responsible for the administration, logistics and supply of the expeditions.

The first Soviet contact with Antarctica was in January 1947 when the Slava whaling flotilla began whaling in Antarctic waters.


The first Soviet Antarctic station, Mirny, was established near the coast on February 13, 1956. This was added to in December 1957 by another station, Vostok built inland near the south geomagnetic pole.

Year-round stations

Summer stations

  • Komsomolskaya (established November 6, 1957)
  • Pionerskaya (established May 27, 1956)
  • Druzhnaya I (on the Filchner Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea)
  • Druzhnaya II (on the Weddell Sea)
10 Years of Soviet Research in Antarctica, 1966 USSR stamp block

IGY stations

List of stations in use during the International Geophysical Year.


The Soviet Union engaged in expeditions to Antarctica from 1955 to its dissolution. After this, the Soviet Antarctic stations were taken over by Russia.

See also


  • Boczek, B. A. (October 1984) "The Soviet Union and the Antarctic Regime" in The American Journal of International Law, 78(4):834–58
  • Voronin, V. I. (1948) "The first Antarctic whaling expedition of the Slava flotilla" in Proceedings of the Soviet Geographical Society, 80(3):213–222
  • Nudel'man, A. V. (1959). Soviet Antarctic Expeditions 1955-1959. Moscow: Izdatel'stvo Akademii Nauk SSSR.
  • Gan, I, Towards the great unknown: the Soviets prepare for their thrust into the Antarctic interior, National and transnational agendas in Antarctic Research from the 1950s and beyond. Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop of the SCAR Action Group on the History of Antarctic Research, BPRC Technical report no. 2011-01, Byrd Polar Research Centre, Columbus, Ohio, pp. 116–130. (2012) [Conference Edited]
  • Gan, I, 'The first practical Soviet steps towards getting a foothold in the Antarctic': the Soviet Antarctic whaling flotilla Slava, Polar Record, 47, (240) pp. 21–28.ISSN 0032-2474 (2009) [Refereed Article]
  • Gan, I, Soviet Antarctic plans after the International Geophysical Year: changes in policy, Polar Record, 46, (3) pp. 244–256.ISSN 0032-2474 (2009) [Refereed Article]
  • Gan, I, The reluctant hosts: Soviet Antarctic expedition ships visit Australia and New Zealand in 1956, Polar Record, 45, (232) pp. 37–50.ISSN 0032-2474 (2009) [Refereed Article]
  • Gan, I, Will the Russians abandon Mirny to the penguins after 1959... or will they stay?, Polar Record, 45, (233) pp. 167–175.ISSN 0032-2474 (2009) [Refereed Article]
  • Gan, I, The Soviet Preparation for the IGY Antarctic Program and the Australian Response: Politics and Science, Bolet%#237;n Antártico Chileno 2nd SCAR Workshop on the History of Antarctic Research, 22–22 September 2006, Santiago, Chile, pp. 60–70. (2009) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]
  • Gan, I, The Soviet Preparation for the IGY Antarctic Program and the Australian Response: Politics and Science, 2nd SCAR Workshop on the History of Antarctic Research, 21–22 September 2006, Santiago, Chile, pp. 11–15. (2006) [Conference Extract]
  • Gan, I, There was no cold war in Antarctica. Soviet-Australian contacts in 1950s, Russia in Antarctica Conference proceedings, April 2006, Saint Petersburg, pp. 77–78. (2006) [Conference Extract]

External links

Media files used on this page

Antarctica (orthographic projection).svg
Author/Creator: Heraldry, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Antarctica (orthographic projection)
1966 CPA 3318-3320 triangle.png
1966 USSR triangular postage stamp block (numbers 3318 through 3320 in the Soviet catalogue).