March 7 in Russian history

1573: Ivan Fyodorov (Moskvitin), known as the first Russian book printer, founds a typography in Lviv. It is assumed that he was born around 1510. Probably, it happened in Petkovichi, somewhere between Minsk and Brest in modern Byelorussia. In 1529-1532 he studied, it seems, in the Kraków university in Poland).In the end of XIV century, there was a typography in Kraków, run by Szwaipolt Feol (spelling may be wrong. Does anybody know the correct spelling?) and Ivan Fyodorov could learn printing there. Till 1550, he lived in Ukraine, where he became known as a cannon maker and he is said to be the inventor of a multibarrelled mortar. In 1550 he comes to Moscow, where he joins the retinue of the metropolitan Makarius and becomes a deacon in a church and participates in a "commission" to agree variant versions of church books. Fyodorov also works in the so called Anonymous typography, founded on order of metropolitan Makarius. This typography never produced any books, only some sample pages. In 1553, Ivan the Terrible orders to organize another typography. On the request of the tsar, the king of Denmark sent a specialist to assist and advise, but when the typography finally starts working in 1563, it is not managed by a foreigner, but by Ivan Fyodorov. On April 19, 1563, Ivan Fyodorov and Pyotr Mstislavets begin working on a book call Acts and Epistles of the Saint Apostles (or simply Apostolos). In this book, Fyodorov and Mstislavets developed the rules of Russian bookprinting, new fonts and other principles which defined the appearance of Russian books for centuries.

In 1563, Makarius died and the printers lost their patron. Clerics and, of course, scribes, start persecuting the innovators. They print other books, but in 1566, the fire destroyed the typography and Fyodorov and Mstislavets decided to leave to Lithuania. Ivan the Terrible lets them go and they come to the great hetman of Lithuania, H. Khodkevich, who welcomes them and organizes a typography in his estate in Zabludovo. In 1569 Mstislavets goes to Vilnius and Fyodorov keeps working in Zabludovo. By 1570, Khodkevich loses his influence and Fyodorov cannot continue his business and decides to go to Lviv. Here, in 1573, he organizes the first typography in Ukraine. In 1575, he meets knyaz Konstantin Ostrozhsky, the owner of a large estate Ostrog (or Ostrih). Konstantin supported the Ukrainian national movement and tried to collect the Ukrainian intellectuals. While living in Ostrog, Fyodorov prints a number of religious books, the Chronology by Andrei Rymsha, a dictionary by Timofey Annich called The Book, etc. He often visits Kraków and Lviv. In 1576 he visits Turkey. In 1582 he decides to establish a new typography in Kiev, but in 1583 Ivan Fyodorov died.

1757: The first joint stock company in Russia is organized, "Russian company trading in Constantinople". Only members of the royal family were allowed to buy shares. Public joint stock companies appeared only after 1805, when Alexander I signed the decree "On the public liability of joint stock companies". By 1829, 19 new companies were working in Russia.

1891: Diplomatic relationships are established between Russia and the Great Duchy of Luxembourg

1960: Sailors of the USS Kearsarge notice a barge in the middle of the Pacific ocean. They find four Soviet soldiers on the barge. Askhat Ziganshin, Anatoly Kryuchkovsky, Filipp Poplavsky and Ivan Fedotov were on the barge when on January 17 it was driven by a storm into the open ocean. It had happened before but they had managed to use the diesel engines to get back. This time the wind was too strong. They had a loaf of bread and a small bag with grain. They found some kilograms of potato smelling with diesel fuel. For more than a month they survived on these scarce resources. When they finished with it, they boiled and ate leather wrist watch straps. Then came the belts. Then came the boots. They boiled them a number of times, "till the water stopped to get black", cut them in small pieces and fried these cuts using the sea water instead of salt. "It was like potato chips," Ziganshin recalled later. They tried to eat toothpaste and soap, but the idea was rejected. They also drank the rain water. 5 gulps per day. Later the norm was lowered to 3 gulps per day.

During the storm, a wooden box with the name of the barge was lost and later found on the beach, so the Soviet army authorities were convinced that the four had drowned and sent the notifications to their families.

There were so many holes in the hull that every day they spent hours trying to pump away the water.

They were often asked if they had conflicts, quarrels or even why they didn't eat each other. Kryuchkovsky recalled later: "None of us had a nervous breakdown. Under those conditions, if I tried to raise my voice, I wouldn't be talking to you now." When they sailed on Queen Mary to Europe, a sailor told them that he was in a similar situation and a number of people died. Not because of starvation or thirst, but they were killed in fights.

On March 2 and 6 they saw ships passing by, but they were not noticed. On March 7 they saw helicopters. Some hours later the aircraft carrier Kearsarge appeared, but stayed on a distance. The pilots offered them to climb up, but they refused. When asked, why, Kryuchkovsky shrugs: "We hoped that they have elevators on Kearsarge to lift the barge. We wanted to save the socialist property". On the other hand, Ziganshin recalls that when asked why the ship didn't come close to the barge the Americans answered that they were a bit afraid of Russians. A journalist from Life magazine asked them if they would like to sell their story. The notion of selling a story must have been even more weird to them as it is now to me, and they refused. He asked then if they would like to ask for an asylum in the USA. "God forbid," Ziganshin answered, "we want to go home."

This adventure was incredibly popular in the USSR. There was even a song, called Ziganshin-boogy ("Ziganshin-rock, Ziganshin-boogy, Poplavsky ate a letter from his girlfriend! Ziganshin-boogy, Ziganshin-rock, Poplavsky eats his second boot!")

Kryuchkovsky lives now in Kiev. Ziganshin lives in Lomonosov, near St.Petersburg. Fedotov and Poplavsky died.

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