A side effect of the emphasis on the history of the Northern Sea Route in legal theory was its influence on historiography. Suddenly much more attention was paid to the Soviet interpretation of the exploration of the Northern Sea Route. Whereas Lakhtin had merely asserted that most islands off the Siberian coast had been discovered by Russians, it was now stated that the role of foreigners in the exploration of the route had been grossly exaggerated, for which D'yakonov and Vize were to blame (Lakhtin 1928: 23; Belov 1956b: 397). The idea of a Northeast Passage had been Russian from the beginning. It had arisen at the end of the sixteenth century. After that the Route had evolved during centuries of exploration by the Russian people. The true discoverers of this Route were the Pomory, the Russians who lived on the coasts of the White Sea. The Route's history was inseparable from Russian history (ibid.: 396). An example of this was the voyage made by Semen Dezhnev, a Russian cossack who had sailed the straits between America and Asia in 1648, long before Bering in 1728.