While searching for information about another post, I came across the Russian livejournal of dave_aka_doc, a psychiatrist who has spent an extended period at Mirny Station in Antarctica. He wrote this long post about the psychological effects of life on a closed station for months at a time, from his experience in a specifically Russian context, which I found very interesting. (The link is to a Google Translate version of the page; it's quite readable, but there are lapses.)
And here, another holy polar tradition of the
mechanics of thetechnical personnel of the Antarctic stations comes to the forefront: slowly get a person crazy and watch him freak out. Slowly - because if you immediately and strongly offend, then you can get into an otvetka. And so, you can always otmazatsya phrases in the style of "What am I, I'm nothing, I'm just." Because every single episode is a harmless trifle.
I wouldn't be surprised if similar patterns arose in research stations of other nations, given that I've seen this sort of behaviour away from the ice myself. The low numbers of potential staff members and reverence for seniority ('polar brothers') that dave_aka_doc describes would certainly entrench it, though.
Here's—hopefully—the end of the story. Savitsky was supposed to be tried for attempted murder in St Petersburg on February 8 this year. The case was dismissed by the court, however, on the request of Beloguzov, who had reconciled with his attacker. From this article by RAPSI, the Russian legal information agency (Google Translate):
Savitsky pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the heat of passion of another polar explorer Oleg Beloguzov. In anticipation of the beginning of the process, both sat on the same bench and talked peacefully on abstract topics.
When the meeting began, both informed the court that they continued to work at the Institute of the Arctic and Antarctic in their posts. Then the victim filed a motion to terminate the criminal case against Savitsky in connection with the fact that he reconciled with the accused.
This ending is in contrast with the career prospects Savitsky saw for himself on his arrival at St Petersburg from Bellingshausen, as reported in this gossipy article from 47news (Google Translate):
Who needs a man brandishing a knife in Antarctica? So would you begin to keep such a person in your editorial office?