June 20 in Russian history

1774: A 14,000 army of Alexander Suvorov defeated 40,000 Turks led by Abdul Rezak near Kozludja village in Bulgaria. Another detachment led by M.Kamensky overcame 15,000 Turks on the right flank, near Turtukay. After the victory, Suvorov and Kamensky blockaded Shumla and cut communications between Shumla and Constantinople. Turks offered a truce which was rejected by Russians and then they agreed to discuss the terms of a peace treaty which was signed on July 21 in Küçük Kaynarca (Kuchuk Kainarji). This was the end of the first Russo-Turkish war. Twelve more were to follow…

1803: The first flight of a hot air balloon in Russia. Emperor Alexander I granted a flight permission to a French aeronaut, the inventor of the parachute, André-Jacques Garnerin, who arrived to Russia with a commendation from Talleyrand-Périgord. Inhabitants of St.Petersburg, who could afford the two silver rubles fee, entered the garden of the Cadets Corps and gathered around the balloon. At noon the balloon successfully took off and

1881: The first telephone line in Russia is put into service. Strange, but it did not happen in Moscow. It was in Nizhny Novgorod.

1924: A group of enthusiasts (about 200 people) gathered in the hall of the observatory of the Moscow department of education and decided to found the Society for the Study of Interplanetary Communication. The Civil War was over. The New Economic Policy led to the reconstruction of industry. End of prodrazvyorstka (governmental food expropriation) led to a better life in rural areas (even compared to the pre-revolution period). The Soviet society was bubbling with enthusiasm. Brave new future was coming.

1924 was the year of the Great Opposition of Mars, when the distance between Earth and Mars was minimal. In 1924 the movie Aelita: Queen of Mars based on the science fiction story by Alexey Tolstoy was released. The novel itself was published in 1923 and told about the travel of a Soviet engineer to Mars where he helped the Martians to dethrone their king. Soviet newspapers published articles about the plans of Robert Goddard to send a rocket to the Moon. Soviet scientists Tikhomirov and Artemyev experiment with powder rocket engines. On May 30, a prominent engineer Mikhail Lapirov-Skoblo read in the Polytechnical Museum a lecture titled "Interplanetary travels". The success was overwhelming — the tickets were sold long before the lecture, the books were also all sold out, the administration of the Museum had to ask militia for assistance, so large was the crowd. After the lecture it was announced that all attendees may join the Society for the Study of Interplanetary Communication and visit the organizational meeting of the society which was to take place soon. At last, on June 20, the meeting begins.

The Society elects three honorary members: Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a legendary figure of the Russian and Soviet science, the author of the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation; Yakov Perelman, the author of famous popular science books (some were translated into English); and the infamous Felix Dzerzhinsky, the head of Cheka…

The goals of the Society were scientific and engineering research, popularization of the space exploration, collection of information about such explorations in the USSR and abroad, joining the efforts of all scientists working in this area, preparation of specialized lectures, exhibitions and libraries, book publishing. The executive committee of the Society included seven people, among whom were Friedrich Zander (author of many projects of spaceships), Valentin Chernov (outstanding celloist and astronomer) and Grigory Kramarov (the chariman of the executive committee). There were three sections in the Society: the jet propulsion section, the popular science section and the literature section. The tasks of the first and the second ones are more or less clear. As for the last one, they had to publish the Society's journal and prepare a movie script about the interplanetary travels.

There was yet another interesting person linked with the Society, Yuri Kondratyuk. Tomorrow will be his 110th birthday and I will write more about him then.


Vojislav said...

Thank you for your work, these posts are full of life and warmth, it is a pleasure to glance at history with your aid.

Dmitri Minaev said...