Moving mountains for you
Switch currency

Current Live Auctions

Current Live Fixed Price Sales

Николай Горбунов (Nikolay Gorbunov)

Once again whilst researching and updating a new mineral I came across another interesting figure behind the mineral name.

This time the mineral was gorbunovite - the citation from the IMA proposal is in the box below. 


The mineral is named after the Russian chemist and science organizer, Academician Nikolay Petrovich Gorbunov  (1892-1938), a leader of the Tajik-Pamir Expedition founded for the complex exploration of Middle Asia in 1932-1935.

Geological studies of many remote areas of the Central Asia, including the Darai-Pioz area, were first carried out in the frame of this expedition 

Gorbunovite is a new mineral (2017-40) approved pending publication and a member of the mica group. It has the formula,CsLi2(Ti,Fe)Si4O10(F,OH,O)2

Gorbuvoite Section: Gor-Gorbuvite, Aeg-Aegirine, Pec - Pectolite, Q-Quartz. 


The type and only locality is the Dara-i-Pioz Glacier, Tien Shan Mountains in Tajikistan, and it is here where the story of Nikolay Gorbunov nearly ended.

Nikolay Petrovich Gorbunov was born near St Petersberg son of an engineer, Pyotr Mikhailovich Gorbunov, managing director of the paper mill, K.P. Pechatkin, his mother Sofia Vasilievna descended from the Pechatkin family and was a joint owner of the factory. Gorbunov's parents were wealthy liberals, Pyotr Mikhailovich was a hereditary honoured citizen.

Nikolay was one of 8 surviving children from 10, and his brother was Grigoriy Petrovich Gorbunov was a respected Ornithologist/Naturalist and Arctic Explorer (The Gorbunov Isles are named after him). 

During his education Nikolay Gorbunov showed himself to be a very capable pupil with a propensity for natural sciences from there he continued his education at the Saint Petersburg State Institute of Technology.

During his student years, he was attracted into the ideas of Marxism and, took an active part in the 1917 February Revolution, before graduating as a chemist-technologist . 

In July 1917 Gorbunov was appointed head of the information department of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, and four days after the October Revolution his outstanding organizational skills were further recognised by being appointed as personal secretary to Lenin.

His career continued apace as Gorbunov successfully carried out numerous and varied assignments, including becoming one of the organizers of Soviet science. In the years 1919-1920 participated in the Civil War as a member of the Revolutionary Military Council, as well as the Second Cavalry Army, for which he was one of the first to be awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Battle.

Gorbunov in uniform Order of the Red Banner


In December 1920, on Lenin’s word, Gorbunov was enrolled as Business Manager of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR, and in 1922 he became Business Manager for the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR and of the Council on Labour & Defence.

He also carried out several tasks for Lenin in scientific, technical, and cultural areas, therefore combining government work with an active role in academic affairs throughout the 1920s and 30s. 

From 1932 to 1935 he headed the combined Tadzhik-Pamir Expedition and nearly lost his life during the ascent of Tajikistan's (then Russia's) highest mountain - Ismoil Somoni Peak.

Ismoil Somoni Peak

Ismoil Somoni Peak - 7495m. First conquered by Yevgeniy Abalakov on 3rd September 1933. Nikolay Gorbunov was with him, but was overcome and stopped just below the summit, nearly dying from a combination of exposure and altitude sickness; he was saved by the heroic efforts of Abalakov who carried him back down to safety.

After his recovery Gorbunov named the mountain Stalin Peak (1933).

In 1962 the name was changed to Communism Peak and again (in 1998) to Ismoil Somoni after the ancestor of the Samanid dynasty.


After his return from the expedition Gorbunov became permanent secretary of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1935, however in 1937 during the Stalinist purges he was arrested on suspicion of espionage. At the following trial he was found guilty and in September 1938 was executed by firing squad.

Almost exaclty 5 years after escaping death on "Stalin Peak", and honouring Stalin by naming the mountain after him, Stalin's regime became responsible for his death. Gorbunov was rehabilitated in 1954.


Mineral references: 
Content tags: