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Anatol Leonid Fürst[1] von Lieven, (1872 – 1937) was a Baltic German prince of the Lieven family who commanded a counter-revolutionary White movement during the Russian Civil War in Latvia known after him as the Liventsy (Latvian: Līvenieši).

Anatol Leonid Fürst von Lieven
Anatoly-Leonid Lieven.jpeg
Born(1872-11-16)16 November 1872
St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
Died3 April 1937(1937-04-03) (aged 64)
Ķemeri, Latvia
Now (Jūrmala, Latvia)
AllegianceRussian Empire
Years of service1896 - 1908
Battles/warsWorld War I
Latvian War of Independence
Russian Civil War


Anatol von Lieven was born in November 16, 1872 in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has studied law in the University of St. Petersburg but later was admitted into Nicholas cavalry school which he graduated with the rank of podporuchik. From 1896 until 1908 he served as an officer in Cavalry Guards regiment. In 1908 he left the army and traveled to Courland where his family owned several manors. Until the First World war he owned and lived in the Mežotne Palace near Bauska. When the war started he returned into active service in his cavalry regiment and in 1917 was granted rank of the rotmistr (cavalry captain).

After the October Revolution, he returned to Latvia and in December 1918, arrived in Liepāja. In January 1919, he started formation of Liepāja volunteer rifleman unit. Core of the newly established unit was 60 officers of Russian Imperial army. Soon, this unit was complemented with one company of Baltische Landeswehr and one company under command of captain Didorov. The unit became known as Līvenieši and it participated in Latvian War of Independence fighting against Bolsheviks.

During pro-German coup in April 1919, Lieven refused to collaborate with pro-German government. Later, his unit was incorporated into Baltische Landeswehr and participated in battles around Ventspils, Jelgava and also liberation of Riga. On 24 May 1919, Lieven was seriously wounded near Ropaži, and injury left him slightly lame for the rest of his life. On June 6 1919, Lieven's unit was transformed to Russian volunteer corps with around 4000 man. Lieven forbade his men to fight the Estonian Army and Northern Latvia brigade in Vidzeme, unlike the rest of the Baltische Landeswehr. His detachment only performed rear security duties for the Landeswehr during the campaign.[2]

When the Strazdumuiža ceasefire was signed between Baltische Landeswehr and Estonian army, Lieven transformed his corps into West Russian Volunteer Army. Another two Russian units joined his army. Those were partisan unit Cavalry General count Keller under command of Pavel Bermondt Avalov and infantry brigade under command of colonel Virgolitz. On 9 July, his army received an order from Nikolai Yudenich to move to Narva and join his northwest army's offensive to Petrograd. Pavel Bermondt Avalov and colonel Virgolitz refused to leave Latvia and stayed in Jelgava. Bermondt took over command of the army and during October-November 1919, was defeated by Latvian army. Lieven went to Estonia and until December 1919, fought with Yudenich army around Petrograd. He also traveled to London and Paris and tried to negotiate further military support to Yudenich, however unsuccessfully.[3]

After the civil war, Lieven became a Latvian citizen and a manufacturer of bricks. Early in 1920, he returned to his Mežotne palace but soon traveled to France. He returned to Latvia in 1924; but meanwhile, Latvian agrarian reforms were launched and his Mežotne palace was nationalized and lands divided. However, he was granted small manor nearby Mazmežotne manor, and he lived there and also in Riga for the rest of his life. Later, he established Mazmežotne brick factory. He was also active in the anticommunist movement and led a local detachment of the Brotherhood of Russian Truth.

Anatoly von Lieven died in April 3, 1937 in Ķemeri, Latvia. He was buried in the yard of the Mežotne lutheran church.


  1. ^ Regarding personal names: Fürst is a title, translated as 'Prince', not a first or middle name. The feminine form is Fürstin.
  2. ^ Nikolai Reek. Lemsalu — Roopa — Võnnu — Ronneburgi lahing 19. — 23. VI. 1919. a. (Lemsalu — Roopa — Võnnu — Ronneburg battle 19. — 23. VI. 1919 (in Estonian). Estonian National Defence College museum. Archived from the original on 2010-08-22.
  3. ^ "Ливен Анатолий Павлович". Retrieved 2019-02-02.