The great Marina Tsvetaeva named him “the second Schmidt in Russian history”. He began to study science even before the revolution – Schmidt's monograph Abstract Theory of Groups is recognized as a major contribution to advanced algebra. The revolution changed the country and so it did with Otto Schmidt’s life – he joined the Bolshevik Party and began to work. Simultaneously with the work in the People's Commissariat of Food Industry, a well-educated Schmidt was appointed to the People's Commissariat for Education in order to develop projects of secondary, higher and vocational education. Being a member of fifteen committees and commissions, he managed to give lectures and reports, and at the same time lead the State Publishing House. It was Otto Schmidt who posed the question of creating the Great Soviet encyclopedia to the Soviet government, and began to create it in 1924. And all this, mind you, without getting distracted from mathematics – in 1929, he founded the Department of Higher Algebra at the Moscow State university and headed it for twenty years.
Then the red academician was drawn to the Arctic. In 1930, he, together with Vladimir Yulievich Wiese, went on an expedition to icebreaking steamboat Georgy Sedov. Both Yulievichs discovered the island predicted by Wiese, together with the island which will later be called Schmidt island. Then Schmidt sailed to the Arctic on Alexander Sibiryakov ship: the icebreaker passed the Northern Sea Route in one navigation for the first time in the world. And then Schmidt wanted to repeat the achievement at the steamboat Chelyuskin, and it was this voyage that made his name a common noun.
During the Chelyuskin saga, the leader of the expedition was supporting spirit of associates, lecturing them, and a variety of the topics was astounding: On socialism, the proletarian dictatorship and state, On Scandinavian mythology, On music and composers, On understanding the truth, On the future of the socialist society. We do not know what exactly Schmidt said about the future socialist society, but he protected people from the current-day one.
“This German saved many good people from Cheka. In the year of the Great Purge “only behind his beard was it possible to hide and be sure: no “black raven” will come to you", said a fellow man about Schmidt. Have you met a lady named Oyuschminalda? Or a man by named Lagshmiwar? Those names the memory of Schmidt: “Otto Yulievich Schmidt on ice floe” or Lager Schmidta v Arktike (“Schmidt's camp in the Arctic”).