Detective case of the Cossack Vladimir Atlasov

I will tell genuine detective history from the first decade of the XNUMXth century, associated with the great geographical discoveries of Russians in the Far East and with the first steps to create a Russian fleet. It has everything from the detective genre - robbery, a lengthy investigation with severe torture in the traditions of those times, substantiated doubts about the guilt of the arrested person and the full confidence that the officials who provoked this crime remained beyond suspicion.

At that time, on the Far Eastern seas, Russia did not yet have large ships, but there was the indomitable desire of the Russian Cossacks to go ahead and on the cochas or primitive fishing vessels to search for and explore new lands along the shores of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk and the Great Eastern (now Pacific) Ocean. What drew the Cossacks forward to unknown lands, where sometimes bloody clashes with the local population, cold and hunger, deprivation and traveling life were waiting for them? How many parties of brave souls disappeared on this way. But, despite all the difficulties, the Cossacks eagerly went to discover new lands, push the borders of the country and bring the native inhabitants to Russian citizenship.


In the middle of the 17th century, Russian Cossacks began to develop the Far East. In 1632, the Cossack centurion Peter Beketov founded the Lensky (Yakutsk) prison, which became the center of the Yakutsk voivodship in 1641, and the Cossacks, who turned out to be in the territory of this voivodship, were called the Yakut Cossacks. In 1639, a detachment of the Tomsk Cossack Ivan Moskvitin reached the shores of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk and sailed from the Okhta River to the south - almost to the mouth of the Amur, thereby initiating Russian swimming in the Pacific Ocean. The first forts along the coast of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk - Okhotsk, Ola, Tauisk and others were founded in 1640's.

In 1648, Semyon Dezhnev rounded the Chukotka peninsula, reached the Anadyr River and founded the Anadyrsky ostrog there, from where Russian campaigns began in Kamchatka. In an unusually short period of time, in just a few decades of the 17th century, the Russian people explored and attached to Russia a vast territory from the Ural Mountains to the coast of America, firmly standing on the shores of the Great, or Pacific Ocean. At the same time, the indigenous peoples who lived in these territories were not destroyed and were not driven into reservations. Not a single square kilometer of land was taken from them.

A fairly complete picture of the life of the pioneers can be obtained by becoming acquainted with the fate of Vladimir Vladimirovich Atlasov. He was a typical representative of the Yakut Cossacks, although he may have been more inherent in such qualities as the natural intelligence, decisiveness and perseverance in achieving the goal, the ability to see the basic interests of the state for everyday everyday concerns.

The name of the explorer Vladimir Atlasov is well known to history buffs. It is mentioned in all encyclopedias and in many books on the history of Kamchatka. However, the fact that our hero was convicted of robbery and spent four years in prison is usually ignored or served in a veiled manner. Incorrectly indicated and patronymic Atlasov. It was established quite recently, and before that it was called Vladimir Timofeevich or Vasilyevich.

The writer Nikolai Ogloblin found the Atlasov case in the archives of the Siberian Order, and in 1894, he published his detailed account in the form of the book "On the Biography of Vladimir Atlasov." My story is largely based on the book Ogloblin and later studies.

In his younger years, Vladimir Atlasov hunted sables in the vicinity of Yakutsk, and in 1682 he entered the civil service. He participated in many campaigns on the coast of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk and in 1688, he was sent to Anadyr prison. At that time it was a small settlement, which at the end of the XVII - beginning of the XVIII centuries became the main supporting base for the development of the vast territories of Chukotka, and then of Kamchatka.

The young Atlas Cossack was distinguished by his endurance, resourcefulness and ingenuity. These qualities and remarkable organizational skills distinguished Atlasov from among his associates. In the summer of 1694, he was sent to Yakutsk with a yasak treasury. At meetings with the Yakut prison governor Ivan Gagarin, the Atlas with great enthusiasm told me that, according to rumors, a large and rich, but still unexplored land of Kamchatka lies to the south-west of Anadyr.

Gagarin had already heard about Kamchatka, had long been going to send a batch of Cossacks there. And suddenly a sensible, energetic Cossack appeared, who himself volunteered to accomplish this difficult and dangerous task. He was immediately appointed a Pentecostal, and later a clerk (chief) of the Anadyr fortress, with instructions to send the party to examine Kamchatka.


Unfortunately, in June 1695, a new military governor, Mikhail Arsenyev, arrived in Yakutsk. He verbally confirmed the campaign order, but did not give money for equipment. They had to get where persuasion and promises to return a hundredfold, and where and under enslaving receipts. With this money Atlas bought gunpowder, lead and some of the equipment, a detachment of 13 people gathered and went to the Anadyr burg, where 1696 arrived in April.

In the same year, 16 Cossacks returned to the fortress under the command of Luke Morozko, who visited Kamchatka, reached the Tigil River in the middle part of the peninsula (approximately on the 58-th parallel). Morozko has collected a lot of interesting information about the new land and that there is a whole range of inhabited islands (Kuril Islands) to the south of Kamchatka.

This information finally convinced Atlasov of the need to immediately go to Kamchatka. He recruited a detachment, taking 60 Cossacks and 60 Yukagirs into it. Yukagir is one of the local peoples who was involved in breeding sled deer. These people were accustomed to long hikes and provided a detachment of deer. December 14 1696, the Atlas, set off with the goal of finally joining Kamchatka to Russia.

Reaching the Tigil River, Atlasov divided its squad into two parts. Luka Morozko with 30 Cossacks and Yukagirs went south along the eastern coast of Kamchatka, the Atlas with the other half returned to the Sea of ​​Okhotsk and moved along the western coast of the peninsula. At first everything went well, calmly and peacefully. But when the Koryaks saw that there were half as many Cossacks, they refused to pay yasak and stepped in from different sides, threatening weapons. Part of the Yukagirs, feeling the danger, went over to the Koryak side. In a fierce clash, three Cossacks were killed, many, including the Atlas himself, were injured.

The detachment chose a convenient place and took up defense. Atlas sent a faithful Yukagir to notify Morozko of what had happened. Upon learning of the Koryak riot, Morozko immediately went to the scene of events and rescued his comrades from the siege. The combined detachment went up the Tigil River to the Sredinny Range, crossed it and penetrated into the headwaters of the densely populated Kamchatka River in the Klyuchevskaya Sopka area. There, at the mouth of the Kanuch River (now called Krestovka), the squad set up a wooden cross.

Detective case of the Cossack Vladimir Atlasov

In the 7205 year of July, 18 of the day put this cross Pentecostal Volodymer Atlasov with the goods 65 people.

This cross through 40 years saw the researcher of Kamchatka Stepan Krasheninnikov. He also wrote down the inscription on the cross: “7205 year (in 1697 year according to the new calculation), July 18 of the day put this cross Pentecostal Volodymer Atlas with the merchandise 65 people.” In the same region, the Upper Kamchatka burg was founded (in 15 km from the present village of Milkovo).

Gathering information about the inhabitants and the natural conditions along the Kamchatka River, the Atlas turned to the west and again went to the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, then turned to the south and walked along the western coast of Kamchatka. He reached the Ichi River, built an island there and winterized it. From the Kamchadals, Atlasov found out that there was a prisoner in one of the villages nearby, and ordered him to be brought to him. It was a Japanese man named Denbey, who ended up in Kamchatka as a result of a shipwreck.

In the spring of 1698, taking Denbey with him, Atlasov moved south and met the first inhabitants of the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin - the Ainu. There is no exact data on the southernmost point of his expedition, but it is known that Atlasov managed to visit near Cape Lopatka, from where the first island of the Kuril Ridge, Shumshu, with the highest of all Kuril volcanoes, is clearly visible. Next was the vast ocean.

In wintering on Icha, they returned in the late fall. Fearing hunger, Atlas sent 28 Cossacks to the Kamchatka River, to the Itelmen, hoping that they would not let them die of hunger. With the onset of warm weather, he himself moved north - back to Anadyr. In the Upper Kamchatka prison, he left a Cossack detachment led by Potap Seryukov, who had been peacefully trading with Kamchadals for three years. Atlas himself set off on his way back and arrived at the Anadyr jail 2 on July 1699. Along with him, the entire 15 Cossacks, 4 Yukagir and the captured Japanese Denbey returned.


In February, 1700, the Atlas again went to Yakutsk. It was necessary to take the next batch of yasak and report on the results of the march to Kamchatka. The new voivode of Yakutsk, Dorofey Traurnicht, immediately realized the importance of the information received and sent Atlasov to personally report to the leadership of the Siberian Order on open land and on the prospects for its development. On the way to Moscow, in Tobolsk, he met with the geographer and cartographer Semyon Remezov, who with the help of Atlasov made a map of the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Prior to 1710, the Siberian order was the central government institution in Russia. It was located in Moscow and was in charge of all the affairs of the Siberian province. Atlasov was treated very carefully there, asked for a long time and wrote down everything he said.

Vladimir Vladimirovich not only reported on bringing the new land of Kamchatka “under the high sovereign's hand”, but also spoke in detail about the topography and climate of the peninsula, its flora and fauna, the seas washing the peninsula, and their ice regime. No less important and interesting were the detailed ethnographic information about the inhabitants of the peninsula - Kamchadalah and Ainakh. All this information was issued by the order clerks in several “shooters”, which were signed by Atlasov and later published.

In the Atlas Skittles, he reported some data on the Kuril Islands, rather detailed news on Japan, and brief information on the “Big Earth” (North-West America). Academician Lev Berg wrote about Atlasov: “A man of little education, he ... possessed a remarkable mind and great observation, his testimony ... contain a lot of valuable ethnographic and geographical data. None of the Siberian explorers of the 17th and early 18th centuries ... gives such meaningful reports. ”

Later, the skips fell into the hands of the king. Peter I highly appreciated the information received: new lands and the seas adjacent to them opened up broad prospects for long-distance voyages to eastern countries and to America. He was interested in the story about Denbey. By order of Peter I, the Japanese were urgently brought to the capital. Here, after detailed inquiries, he was introduced to the tsar, who commissioned him to teach the Russian language to Russian youths.

Atlas received the rank of Cossack head and was appointed head of the new expedition to Kamchatka with the authority of the entire Kamchatka land of the clerk. He recruited a Cossack detachment numbering about 100 people, received four copper 4-pound cannons with nuclei and gunpowder, took a pood of beads and 100 knives to gift Kamchadals and set off. The local Siberian governors should finance the expedition, provide it with food, horses and carts, and also replenish its composition with people. This is exactly what killed the expedition so well conceived, having crossed out all plans and hopes of Atlasov.


The path of Atlasov to Kamchatka ran through Tobolsk, Yeniseisk, Yakutsk and Anadyr. Promotion of a relatively large detachment with guns, ammunition and equipment was expensive. It required a lot of provisions, horses, carts, sleds or boats. By order of the Siberian Order, all this was to be provided by the local authorities, and in the field everything depended on the governor’s attitude.

In Tobolsk, voivode Mikhail Cherkassky helped quickly recruit Cossacks to the 50 squad, provided food and transportation, making the squad reach Yeniseisk relatively easily. The local governor, Bogdan Glebov, had a big grudge against the Siberian order and decided to take it out to Atlasov. He strongly inhibited the recruitment of people, did not give the planks (large boats for transporting people and goods), used any excuse to detain Atlasov in Yeniseisk.

Glebov knew perfectly well that nothing disintegrates people more than forced idleness. During this time, Atlasov's detachment was significantly updated and replenished with half-criminal, descending people. When it became clear that in the remaining days of the summer period, the Atlases would not have time to reach Yakutsk, there were tables, though very old and dilapidated.

Ahead was the most difficult part - up along the Yenisei to the Angara, then again against the current to go through the whole Angara to Ilimsk. From there to Lena and to Yakutsk. Soon after leaving Yeniseisk, it became clear that one of the planks was very bad and could not stand the long way down the river. Seeing the hopelessness of the situation, Atlasov decided to exchange the boards with any caravan that was going down the Yenisei. Exchange platelets at that time was not something unusual. Sometimes it was done for a fee, and sometimes with the use of force. Even the Bering expedition on the most difficult part of the land route from Yakutsk to Okhotsk, by force gathered men with horses and carts or boats for the carriage of goods. Everyone understood that, having spent a significant part of the summer with the expedition, the men would not have time to prepare for winter and their families were doomed to hunger and suffering. But the members of the expedition were also faced with the hardest work, deprivation, and perhaps even death. Such was the price of great geographical discoveries.

The route of the detachment of Vladimir Atlasov.

At the mouth of the Angara, a detachment of Atlasov met a caravan, which included a table of distinguished guest Login Dobrynin. Guests then called the highest representatives of the merchants. They had direct access to the king and all government offices. The merchant Belozerov, the clerk of the merchant, ruled the platform. He was carrying Chinese goods to Moscow. While Atlas was negotiating with Belozerov, trying to resolve the matter with the world, his Cossacks began to rob goods. It ended with the fact that the Cossacks continued on their way to Ilimsk, and Belozerov, on an empty and old wooden platform, went to Yeniseisk.

Atlas managed to take away half of the goods from the Cossacks, leaving them for general needs, and took goods only for 100 rubles, which they promised him in the Siberian order. Atlasov's fatal mistake was that he encroached on the property of not ordinary people, but of an influential Moscow guest. Dobrynin himself had died by that time, but his heirs showed great activity, and the matter took a serious turn.


Arriving in Yeniseisk, Belozerov immediately filed a petition for a robbery. Voevoda Glebov did not miss this opportunity to harm Atlasov again, and at the same time defame the Siberian order. He immediately sent a letter to Moscow with an account of what had happened, as well as to Yakutsk and Ilimsk with a request to arrest robber Atlasov.

In December, 1701, Belozerov arrived in Moscow and filed a complaint about a robbery to the Siberian Order. Dobrynin's relatives also began to speak very actively. An investigation has begun. The merchants who went in the same caravan with Belozerov, confirmed the fact of the robbery. The Siberian order in January 1702 ordered the Yakut voevode: arrest the robbers, find and return the goods to the owner, and act with the robbers according to the law.

Meanwhile, Atlasov's detachment arrived in Ilimsk. The local governor, Fyodor Kachanov, found himself in a difficult situation. Atlas presented him with documents that he was a Cossack head and clerk of Kamchatka, and at the same time Kachanov already had a letter from the Yenisei governor asking him to arrest Atlasov as a robber. Kachanov decided to wait and see how events will develop. In every way he braked the detachment's equipment on a further path, placed the Cossacks to wait, but he did not give any salary or food.

Atlas sent two Cossacks to Yakutsk to report to the Yakut voivode on the reasons for the delay, and reported on the capture of the plateau. Since they already received instructions from the Siberian order to arrest the robbers, the Cossacks were immediately interrogated with passion. Under torture, they stated that they robbed a plaque on the orders of Atlasov. At the same time, they said that on the way the detachment of the Atlas group was paying in Chinese goods for food, carts and horses. The search of goods for the places indicated by the Cossacks began

Atlas arrived in Yakutsk at the end of May 1702 of the year. Almost simultaneously with him, Dobrynin’s nephew Semen Borodulin arrived in Yakutsk, who insisted on arrest and interrogation of Atlas. In this regard, Atlasov and 10 his Cossacks were put in Yakut prison until further notice. Another clerk was sent to Kamchatka. However, he was treated with respect, given his title of Cossack head.

And in Moscow, the Dobrynin's heirs continued their work, and soon a new order came to Yakutsk: repair the interrogation of Atlas "without any indiscriminate motions" (without any concession). About the fulfillment of this decree of the voivode it was reported: “And Volodymer Olasov was questioned with great passion, and he was put in a belt and lifted, and he was at the temple for a long time, but in questioning he said:“ he did not order “to rob” Belozerov, but the Cossacks robbed him of “their self-righteousness,” but when he divided the spoils he took his share of the “robbed bellies. Cossacks insisted that they were robbed by the order of Atlasov.

After the interrogations, Atlasov was put under guard (taken under surveillance), and the plaintive thieves — the 9 Cossacks — were imprisoned. Found a small portion of Chinese goods returned to Borodulin.

On this documents in the case of Atlasov ended. According to other data, it is known that Atlasov spent more than four years in prison. He was constantly busy reviewing the case and was released in 1707. He was left the rank of a Cossack head and again sent to Kamchatka with the authority to do justice and reprisal, to have full power over the service people there. And to redeem the former guilt and robbery by mining new lands and good service. Unfortunately, he failed to fulfill this order. In 1711, he was killed by local Cossacks, who were accustomed to free life and rebelled against the orders of the new salesman.


The campaign to Kamchatka was not accidental for Atlasov, but was a natural continuation of his entire previous service. The hike was the dictates of the times, although it was organized by the pioneer on personal initiative and at your own risk. Going on such a long and dangerous campaign, Vladimir Vladimirovich was guided by official duty and cognitive interests, and not by a desire for enrichment.

Atlas was the first to go through the whole of Kamchatka from north to south, gave a detailed description of one of the largest peninsulas of Eurasia, and died during its development. For this, Vladimir Vladimirovich was called Pushkin "Kamchatka Yermak".

A cross on the Kanuch River was put by Atlasov as a symbol of the assertion of the right of his fatherland to the newly discovered lands and the exits of Russia to the Pacific Ocean. This was an important step towards the development of our country as a great maritime power. With the accession of Kamchatka, the development of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk began. By order of Peter I began to look for a sea route from Okhotsk to Kamchatka. For this, the shipmaster Kirill Plotnitsky built in May 1716 of the year the first large bureaucratic vessel in the Pacific Ocean — a boat of 8,5 length and sailing (18,1 m). It is important that the famous maritime historian Theodosius Veselago included this boat in the “List of Russian Sea Vessels from 1668 to 1860 Year”, therefore, it can be considered the first ship of the Pacific Fleet of Russia.

The story reveals some of the negative circumstances of the life and activities of the famous explorer Vladimir Atlasov. That was, that was. However, this does not in any way detract from his merits and should not cast a shadow in our view of him on the truly enormous contribution of Atlasov to the study of Kamchatka and the discovery of the Kuril Islands. It can be said that even his death benefited the state. Some of the Cossacks participating in the riot decided to “redeem their guilt” by discovering new islands. In 1711, they organized their first canoe trip to the islands of Shumshu and Paramushir. But their third trip in 1713 was especially successful, as a result of which Ivan Kozyrevsky made the very first detailed description and drawing of the Kuril ridge in the world.
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  1. +4
    March 8 2014
    Somewhere there are "irreconcilable" people, but here they are restless, determined, courageous, inquisitive, persistent and patient.
    Honor and glory to the Cossacks!
  2. parus2nik
    March 8 2014
    History reveals some negative circumstances of the life and work of the famous explorer Vladimir Atlasov. What was it was
    But at least they differ from the actions of the European "pioneers" who were interested exclusively in profit and for the sake of it they cut out everyone who stood in the way .. And they made geographical discoveries, along the way ..
  3. +1
    March 8 2014
    Thank you for the article! When we learn another story. No less interesting.
  4. Dovmont
    March 11 2014
    Who will name even one soft and kind pioneer, even in Russia, even in Western Europe?
  5. 0
    March 13 2014
    Probably the thirst for travel is in the Russian blood. When will I stop ...

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