National Geographic : 1993 Feb
Your story is all wet about Vitus Bering. He was not the first to sail east from Asia to discover America. In 1732 Ivan Fedorov and Mikhail Gvoz dev, aboard the St. Gabriel, crossed the Bering Strait and followed the coast to Seward Peninsula, Alaska. In 1741 Bering knew about that voyage; in fact, he recruited many of the men who had made it. He did not die of scurvy but, as evidenced by his remains found by Danish archaeologists in 1991, more likely of hypothermia or gangrene. O. W. FROST Anchorage, Alaska The Bolshevik Revolution The famous photograph on page 112 was taken by my great-uncle, Capt. Tommy Turner of Gerald ton, Western Australia. During World War I he accompanied Comdr. Locker Lampson and a Brit ish armored-car detachment sent to assist Russia. The commander was summoned to Petrograd by the tsar and went off to the Winter Palace, down the road to the left of the picture. Great-uncle Tommy went into the Credit Lyonnais Bank to cash a check. When he heard the sound of shots, he leaned out the window and took the picture. The photograph was originally published as showing the "start" of the Russian Revolution. JONATHAN C. B . RAMSAY Nassau, Bahamas The credits for historicalpictures are often dis puted. The Lenin Museum believes that this photo graph was taken by Viktor Karlovich Bulla. I would draw your attention to one of the central characters of the revolution, Nikolai Bukharin, a Bolshevik theorist second only to Lenin. A great orator and extremely likable, he was elected to the Central Committee in 1917, a member of the Politburo in 1924, and president of the Communist International in 1926. He virtually co-ruled Russia with Stalin from 1925 to 1928. Stalin became impa tient with the slow rate of industrialization and forced Bukharin to resign in 1929. He had Bukha rin executed in 1938. Bukharin was a humane person whose policies were based on obtaining the loyalty and support of the peasant class. Gorbachev modeled much of glasnostpolitics after Bukharin's ideas of the 1920s and forced the rescinding of the criminal charges against Bukharin in 1988. It is interesting to pon der what the U.S.S.R. would have been like had Bukharin had his way. JEFFREY W. FOLEY Stuttgart, Germany Letters should be addressedto FORUM, National GeographicMagazine, Box 37448, Washington, D. C. 20013, andshould include sender'saddress and telephone number. Not all letters can be used. Those that are will often be edited and excerpted.