Historama, August 17

The start of Russia’s worst-ever economic recession and the Soviet ship that became the first atomic icebreaker to reach the North Pole made this day in Russian history.

­Start of Russia’s 1998 default

This day in 1998 marked the start of Russia’s financial crisis.

The default was triggered by a decline in world commodity prices. This meant that countries dependent on raw material exports faced a severe economic dip.

Raw materials accounted for 80 percent of Russia’s exports, and as a result the country was among the hardest hit.

The Russian Federation bounced back from the crisis fast, however, as world oil prices rose rapidly the following year.

­First atomic icebreaker reaches North Pole

Today in 1977, the Soviet ship “Arctica” became the first atomic icebreaker to reach the North Pole.

The icebreaker had a crew of over 200 and covered more than 2,500 miles in seven days.

The crew celebrated its arrival by planting a 10-meter-high Soviet flag into the ice.

The ship continued to be used for over 30 years until being taken out of service in 2008.

Read more on this event in Russian history

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