Generalissimus of the Soviet Union

Generalissimus of the Soviet Union (Russian: Генералиссимус Советского Союза, romanizedGeneralissimus Sovyétskogo Soyuza) was a military rank proposed for Joseph Stalin following World War II. It was styled after a similar Imperial Russian Army rank held by Aleksei Shein, Prince Alexander Danilovich Menshikov, (reportedly) Duke Anthony Ulrich of Brunswick, and Count Alexander Suvorov.[1] However, Stalin eventually rejected the rank, deeming it too ostentatious. It would have been the highest military rank in the Soviet Union.

Generalissimus of the Soviet Union
Генералиссимус Советского Союза
Rank insignia of генералиссимус Советского Союза.svg
Proposed uniform epaulette
Country Soviet Union
Service branchRed star with hammer and sickle.svg Soviet Armed Forces
RankGeneral officer
Next higher rankNone
Next lower rank


The rank was first proposed on 26 June 1945.[2] According to Stalin biographer Robert Service, Stalin regretted allowing himself the ostentatious military title and asked Winston Churchill to continue to refer to him as a marshal instead.[3] Stalin rejected any kind of distinctions between his military rank and the other Soviet marshals and kept using the original Marshal of the Soviet Union insignia and uniform.[4]

The possibility of the Generalissimus of the Soviet Union rank was mentioned again in 1947 when a draft of a decree about Soviet military ranks was presented to Stalin. General Andrey Khrulyov, director of the General Department of Logistics, was tasked with designing a Soviet Generalissimus uniform for Stalin to use in the victory parade on May 9, 1947. The uniform was finished and presented to Stalin one week before the parade. After examining it, Stalin again expressed dissatisfaction. He declared: "I will never sign this decree. The Soviet Red Army only has Marshal as its highest rank." The subject of new rank was not raised again.[4] Fabricated samples were rejected by Stalin, who considered them to be too luxurious and old-fashioned. Currently they are stored in the Museum of the Great Patriotic War located in Moscow at Poklonnaya Gora.

Stalin taking this rank might have invited a comparison between him and the Spanish fascist dictator Francisco Franco, who did hold the rank of Generalissimo and was widely known as such.

Proposed shoulder insigniaEdit

Below are proposed designs of the shoulder insignia of Generalissimus of the Soviet Union.

Sequence of ranks
Lower rank:
Marshal of the Soviet Union
(Маршал Советского Союза)
Generalissimus of the Soviet Union
(Генералиссимус Советского Союза)
Higher rank:
Admiral of the fleet of the Soviet Union
(Адмирал Флота Советского Союза)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Scott, Harriet Fast; Scott, William F. (11 July 2019). The Soviet Art Of War: Doctrine, Strategy, And Tactics. Routledge. p. Appendix. ISBN 978-1-000-30563-0. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  2. ^ "об установлении высшего воинского звания — генералиссимус советского союза" [On the Establishment of the Highest Military Rank - Generalissimo of the Soviet Union]. wikisource (in Russian). Vedomosti of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. 1955. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  3. ^ Service, Robert (2005). Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. p. 548. ISBN 978-0-674-01697-2.
  4. ^ a b Shtemenko 1985, pp. 587–588.


External linksEdit