Rtishchev, Vasily Alekseevich (1705–After 1776)
Rtishchev, Vasily Alekseevich (1705–after 1776) – a Russian naval officer, captain of the third rank, and explorer of the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. In 1720, he was apprenticed to the Naval Academy. In 1730, he became a sub-navigator, and 3 years later, he was appointed to the Great Northern Expedition. In 1735 on board of the sea boat “Irkutsk,” he traveled from Yakutsk down the River of Lena to study its eastern coast. While spending the winter in a camp near the mouth of the River Kharaulakh (the bay of Buor Khaya) after the death of P. Lassenius, R. assumed command of the team and reported about the emergency to Vitus Bering. After the arrival of help due to illness, R. left for Yakutsk. In 1736, he was transferred to the detachment of M. P. Shpanberg. R. surveyed the coast near Okhotsk and was engaged in the delivery of supplies for the expedition, and taught soldiers to read. In 1738, he became a navigator, and 3 years later, R. was promoted to the rank of subofficer. In 1741–1742, on board of the double-boat “Nadezhda,” he participated in the survey of the Uda River mouth, Shantar Islands, and the eastern coast of Sakhalin Island, surveying the strait later named (1787) after La Perouse. After the dissolution of the Second Kamchatka Expedition, he stayed in Okhotsk and then served in Irkutsk. In 1751, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, 3 years after to lieutenant commander. In 1757, he was appointed head of the Naval Department of Okhotsk, but came into office only in 1760. In 1758, he was made a commander. Within 5 years, he governed the extensive Okhotsk–Kamchatka Region and organized the expedition of Krenitsyn–Levashov to the Aleutian Islands. In 1764, he handed over his post of the head of the port of Okhotsk, but stayed in the Far East until 1772. In 1776, he arrived in St. Petersburg and handed in his resignation.
A river on the island of Sakhalin (Sea of Okhotsk) bears his name.