Alexander Yegorov (soldier)

Alexander Ilyich Yegorov or Egorov (Russian: Алекса́ндр Ильи́ч Его́ров, Alexandr Iljič Jegorov) (October 25 [O.S. October 13] 1883 – February 23, 1939), was a Soviet military leader during the Russian Civil War, when he commanded the Red Army's Southern Front and played an important part in defeating the White forces in Ukraine. In 1920 Yegorov was one of the Red Army commanders during the Polish-Soviet War. In this campaign he was a close colleague of Stalin and of Semyon Budyonny. The Soviet authorities accused him of treason and had him shot during the military purges of 1937–1938, but rehabilitated his reputation in the late 1950s.

Alexander Yegorov
Александр Егоров.jpg
Alexander Yegorov, here shown wearing the insignia of Komandarm second class (2 ranks below Marshal)
Native name
Алекса́ндр Ильи́ч Его́ров
Birth nameAlexander Ilyich Yegorov
Born(1883-10-13)October 13, 1883
Buzuluk, Samara Governorate, Russian Empire
DiedFebruary 23, 1939(1939-02-23) (aged 55)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Years of service1902–1938
Commands heldChief of the General Staff
Southwestern Front


Yegorov (far left) with Trotsky in Kharkiv, 1919

Yegorov was born near Samara in central Russia. He joined the army of the Russian Empire in 1902 and qualified as an officer in 1905. As an army officer, he helped quell the Revolution of 1905. During World War I he rose to the rank of Lieutenenant-Colonel and was wounded five times. In 1904 he had joined the Socialist Revolutionary Party, but after the Bolsheviks took power in the October Revolution (1917) he accepted the new régime and became a commander in the Red Army. Yegorov commanded the Southwestern Front during the Polish-Soviet War.

After the Polish-Soviet War, Yegorov was sent as a military adviser to China (1925-1926). In 1927 he became commander of the Belarussian Military District. In 1931 Yegorov was appointed Deputy People's Commissar for Defence and Chief of the General Staff of the Red Army. In 1934 he became a candidate member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In 1935 he became one of the first five Marshals of the Soviet Union when this rank was created.

Yegorov (2nd row, 2nd from left), with Kliment Voroshilov and Stalin, 1930

Because of his old connections to Stalin and Budyonny, Yegorov seemed to be safe from the wave of arrests that swept through the Red Army in 1937 as the Great Purge gathered pace.

He was officially listed as one of the judges at Tukhachevsky's trial in June 1937. But at the end of 1937 he was demoted to commander of the Transcaucasian Military District, and was arrested in February 1938 and his military writings were banned.[1] His downfall seems to have begun with a letter in the spring of 1937 from Combrig Fedor Sudakov of the Frunze Military Academy to Stalin questioning Yegorov's performance; a similar letter was sent by Combrig Yan Zhigur to Voroshilov on July 20, and Yegorov was further damaged by confessions extracted from officers arrested during the purge of the army.[2] Yegorov was shot on February 23, 1939.[1][3] After Stalin's death in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev rehabilitated the disgraced marshal.



  1. ^ a b Roy Medvedev, Let History Judge, 1971.
  2. ^ Michael Parrish, Sacrifice of the Generals: Soviet Senior Officer Losses, 1939-1953 (Scarecrow Press, 2004: ISBN 0-8108-5009-5), p. 88.
  3. ^ Conquest 2008, p. 435.


Military offices
Preceded by
Vladimir Triandafillov
Chief of the Staff of the Red Army
July 1931 – 10 May 1937
Succeeded by
Boris Shaposhnikov