Alexander Vasilyevich Belyakov

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Alexander Vasilyevich Belyakov
Alexander Vasilevich Belyakov.jpg
Born(1897-12-21)21 December 1897
Bezzubovo, Moscow Governorate
Russian Empire
Died28 October 1982(1982-10-28) (aged 85)
Moscow, Russian SFSR
Soviet Union
Allegiance Flag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg Russian Empire
Flag RSFSR 1918.svg Soviet Russia
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union
Service/branch Flag of Russia.svg Imperial Russian Army
Red Army flag.svg Red Army
Flag of the Soviet Air Force.gif Soviet Air Force
Rank Lieutenant-general
Battles/wars Russian Civil War
World War II
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union
Order of Lenin (2)
Order of the Red Banner (3)
Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class

Order of the Red Banner of Labour
Order of the Red Star (3)
Other workDeputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union (1937-1946) Professor, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Alexander Vasilyevich Belyakov (Russian : Алекса́ндр Васи́льевич Беляко́в; 21 December 1897 [ O.S. 9 December] – 28 November 1982) was a Soviet flight navigator who, together with command pilot Valery Chkalov and co-pilot Georgy Baydukov, set a record for the longest uninterrupted flight in 1936 and made the first non-stop flight across the North Pole, flying from Moscow to Vancouver, Washington.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

Old Style and New Style dates changes in calendar conventions from Julian to Gregorian

Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are terms sometimes used with dates to indicate that the calendar convention used at the time described is different from that in use at the time the document was being written. There were two calendar changes in Great Britain and its colonies, which may sometimes complicate matters: the first was to change the start of the year from Lady Day to 1 January; the second was to discard the Julian calendar in favour of the Gregorian calendar. Closely related is the custom of dual dating, where writers gave two consecutive years to reflect differences in the starting date of the year, or to include both the Julian and Gregorian dates.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a federal sovereign state in northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centers were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometers (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometers (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.


He was elected to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and served as a lieutenant-general of the Soviet Air Force.


Early life and training

Alexander Belyakov was born in 1897 in the village of Bezzubovo, Moscow Governorate (now Orekhovo-Zuyevsky District, Moscow Oblast) and grew up in Ryazan. He studied forestry in 1915-1916 after finishing his gymnasium studies and began serving in the infantry of the Imperial Russian Army in 1916.

Orekhovo-Zuyevsky District District in Moscow Oblast, Russia

Orekhovo-Zuyevsky District is an administrative and municipal district (raion), one of the thirty-six in Moscow Oblast, Russia. It is located in the east of the oblast. The area of the district is 1,821.28 square kilometers (703.20 sq mi). Its administrative center is the city of Orekhovo-Zuyevo. Population: 121,916 ; 119,803 (2002 Census); 132,446 (1989 Census).

Moscow Governorate governorate of the Russian Empire

Moscow Governorate, or the Government of Moscow, was an administrative division of the Tsardom of Russia, the Russian Empire, and the Russian SFSR, which existed in 1708–1929.

Moscow Oblast First-level administrative division of Russia

Moscow Oblast, or Podmoskovye, is a federal subject of Russia. With a population of 7,095,120 living in an area of 44,300 square kilometers (17,100 sq mi), it is one of the most densely populated regions in the country and is the second most populous federal subject. The oblast has no official administrative center; its public authorities are located in Moscow and across other locations in the oblast.

He fought in the Soviet Russian Red Army's 25th Rifle Division during the Russian Civil War. He graduated from the Moscow Aerophotogrammetry School of the Red Air Fleet in 1921 and subsequently taught there and at the A.E.Zhukovsky Air Force Academy until 1935.

Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Republic in the USSR (1922–1991) and sovereign state (1917–1922 and 1990–1991)

The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, previously known as the Russian Soviet Republic and the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, as well as being unofficially known as the Russian Federation, Soviet Russia, or simply Russia, was an independent state from 1917 to 1922, and afterwards the largest, most populous and most economically developed of the 15 Soviet socialist republics of the Soviet Union (USSR) from 1922 to 1990, then a sovereign part of the Soviet Union with priority of Russian laws over Union-level legislation in 1990 and 1991, during the last two years of the existence of the USSR. The Russian Republic comprised sixteen smaller constituent units of autonomous republics, five autonomous oblasts, ten autonomous okrugs, six krais and forty oblasts. Russians formed the largest ethnic group. The capital of the Russian SFSR was Moscow and the other major urban centers included Leningrad, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Samara.

Red Army Soviet army and air force from 1917–1946

The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army, was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991. The former official name Red Army continued to be used as a nickname by both sides throughout the Cold War.

The 25th Rifle Division was a rifle division of the Soviet Union's Red Army during the Second World War, formed twice.

He graduated from the Kachinskoye Military Aviation School for Pilots and joined the Communist Party in 1936.

Communist Party of the Soviet Union Ruling political party of the Soviet Union

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) was the founding and ruling political party of the Soviet Union. The CPSU was the sole governing party of the Soviet Union until 1990, when the Congress of People's Deputies modified Article 6 of the most recent 1977 Soviet constitution, which had granted the CPSU a monopoly over the political system.

1930s records

Flight to Udd Island

Belyakov joined commanding pilot Valery Chkalov and co-pilot Georgy Baydukov to navigate a Tupolev ANT-25 plane on a non-stop flight from Moscow to Udd Island (now Chkalov Island) off the coast of Kamchatka in a 56-hour flight on 20–22 July 1936. Their flight, covering more than 9,374 kilometers across nearly the entire width of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, set a record for the longest non-stop flight, preparing the way for a flight across the North Pole. [1]

Valery Chkalov Soviet aviator and Hero of the Soviet Union

Valery Pavlovich Chkalov was a Soviet and Russian test pilot and a Hero of the Soviet Union (1936).

Georgy Baydukov Soviet aircraft test pilot and writer

Georgy Filippovich Baydukov was a Soviet aircraft test pilot, a Hero of the Soviet Union (1936) and a writer.

Tupolev ANT-25

The Tupolev ANT-25 was a Soviet long-range experimental aircraft which was also tried as a bomber. First constructed in 1933, it was used by the Soviet Union for a number of record-breaking flights.

The three aviation heroes were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union and decorated with the Order of Lenin for the record-breaking flight.

Across the North Pole to America

Flying the same ANT-25 plane, Chkalov, Baydukov, and Belyakov completed an 8,504-kilometer flight from Moscow to the United States, crossing the North Pole and landing in Vancouver, Washington.

The fliers set another record by performing the first non-stop polar flight and establishing a new route from the Soviet Union to the United States. [1]

Later career

Valery Chkalov (center) with Georgy Baydukov right and Alexander Belyakov (left) on a Soviet postage stamp issued to commemorate their non-stop flight to the United States in 1937. 1938 CPA 595.jpg
Valery Chkalov (center) with Georgy Baydukov right and Alexander Belyakov (left) on a Soviet postage stamp issued to commemorate their non-stop flight to the United States in 1937.

The domestic and international press coverage of the Trans-Polar flight immediately catapulted to worldwide fame and ultimate acclaim for the three aviators, who had already been regarded as Soviet heroes after their successful flight to Udd Island in 1936. The aviators' portraits were featured on a postage stamp issued to commemorate the flight. The three were elected to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union in 1937.

Alexander Belyakov was appointed head of the Ryazan Supreme School of Navigators of the Soviet Air Force in the 1940s and took part in the fighting against Nazi Germany as the 16th Air Army's chief navigator during the Battle of Berlin. Promoted to lieutenant-general during the war, he continued to serve in the Air Force and became a professor at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology upon his retirement from the service in 1960.

He joined Georgy Baydukov to attend the unveiling of a Vancouver monument commemorating their transpolar flight in 1975. [2]

Belyakov died in Moscow on 28 November 1982 and was interred at Moscow's Novodevichy Cemetery.

Honors and legacy

Aside from the Order of Lenin awarded together with the title Hero of the Soviet Union on 24 July 1936 (subsequently Gold Star № 9 was also added), Belyakov was awarded another Lenin Order and was a recipient of three Orders of the Red Banner, an Order of the Patriotic War 1st class, Order of the Red Banner of Labour twice, three Orders of the Red Star, and additional medals.

He was awarded the title of Doctor of Geography in 1938.

An island off Kamchatka in the Sea of Okhotsk was given the name Belyakov Island (Ostrov Belyakova) in honor of Alexander Belyakov.

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  1. 1 2 McCannon, John (1998). Red Arctic: Polar Exploration and the Myth of the North in the Soviet Union, 1932-1939. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 70. ISBN   978-0-19-511436-2.
  2. Alley, Bill (2006). Pearson Field: Pioneering Aviation in Vancouver And Portland. San Francisco: Arcadia. p. 125. ISBN   978-0-7385-3129-8.