Polar explorer Artur Chilingarov (left) at his last visit to Tromsø. Here in conversation with Vyacheslav Pavlovsky, Moscow's former Ambassador to Oslo. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Artur Chilingarov has passed away at 84

The northern explorer-turned-sanctioned-lawmaker is likely most famous for his 2007 North Pole dive to 4,200 meters below the Arctic Ocean where he planted the Russian flag.
June 02, 2024


Chilingarov became a legend far beyond the borders of Russia. In Soviet days, he led multiple polar expeditions, both in the Arctic and to Antarctica.

His first tour to the North Pole was onboard the Murmansk-based nuclear-powered icebreaker Sibir in 1987.

Twenty years later, in 2007, Chilingarov together with two others crewed the Mir I mini-submarine to 4,261 meters depth at the North Pole. The Mir-2 took part in the same dives, and the group became the first in history to reach the seafloor on the top of the planet. 

Down deep, they planted the Russian flag in a similar symbolic act as Roald Amundsen placed the Norwegian flag on the South Pole in 1911. 


In 2007, Artur Chilingarov took part on board as two mini submarines dived to the seafloor at the North Pole and planted the Russian flag.


Chilingarov was closely linked with Russia’s secret services. He flew to the South Pole together with FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev in 2007, becoming part of the first team to land helicopters at 90 degrees South. 


Patrushev and Chilingarov traveled to several Arctic events together, including the 2017 meeting in Sabetta where they dressed up in indigenous-looks and discussed development of Arctic oil and gas resources. 

Chilingarov entered politics after the breakup of the Soviet Union was elected to the State Duma (Russian Parliament) in several periods from 1994 to 2014, representing the Nenets Autonomous Okrug and later as a Senator form the Tula Oblast.

He became a member of Putin’s United Russia party in 2002. He again became member of parliament in 2016 and had a seat until his death on June 1, 2024. 

In recent years, Chilingarov was Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for International Cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic. He also served as a member of the board in Rosneft.

As a lawmaker, Artur Chilingarov was sanctioned by the United States for his role as a warmonger, voting in favor of the illegal annexation of eastern regions of Ukraine.  






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