Mikhail Diterikhs

Mikhail Konstantinovich Diterikhs (Russian: Михаи́л Константи́нович Ди́терихс; May 17, 1874, Saint Petersburg – 9 September 1937) was a general in the Imperial Russian Army and subsequently a key figure in the monarchist White movement in Siberia during the Russian Civil War.

Mikhail Konstantinovich Diterikhs
Ditrichs 1918 640.jpg
Born(1874-05-17)May 17, 1874
Saint Petersburg, Sankt-Peterburgsky Uyezd, Saint Petersburg Governorate, Russian Empire
DiedSeptember 9, 1937(1937-09-09) (aged 63)
Shanghai, Republic of China
Allegiance Russian Empire
 Russian Republic
Service/branchRussian Empire Imperial Russian Army
Russian Republic White Army
Commands heldRussian Salonika Force
Siberian Army
Zemskaya Rat
Battles/warsRusso-Japanese War
World War I
Russian Civil War

Diterikhs was said to be "a deeply religious man, the walls of whose private railway coach were plastered with icons" and believed that he "was waging a holy war against the Bolshevik heathens."[1]


Diterikhs was born to Konstantin Alexandrovich Diterikhs, who served as a general of the Russian Imperial Army in the Caucasus, and Olga Iosidovna Musintskaya, a Russian noblewoman. His family was of German Bohemian descent, his great-grandfather Johann Gottfried Dieterichs moved from Wolfenbüttel to Waiwara (now Vaivara) in Estonia during the 18th-Century. In 1900, Diterikhs graduated from the Page Corps and was assigned a post in the Life Guards 2nd Artillery Brigade. In 1900, he graduated from the Nikolaevsky Military Academy in St. Petersburg. From 1900 to 1903 he served in various staff positions in the Moscow Military District. In 1903 he was appointed commander of the squadron in the 3rd Dragoon Regiment.

With the start of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, Diterikhs became chief officer for special duties at the 17th Army Corps headquarters. He arrived at the front in Manchuria in August 1904, and participated in the Battles of Liaoyang, Shaho and Mukden. By the end of the war, he was a lieutenant. After the end of the war he returned to Moscow, and in 1906 was chief officer for special duties at the 7th Army Corps headquarters. The following year, he had the same position at the Kiev Military District headquarters. He was promoted to colonel in 1909. In 1910, he served as a senior aide at the Kiev Military District headquarters. From 1913, Diterikhs was head of the Mobilization Department of the Main Directorate of the General Staff.[2]

With the start of World War I, Diterikhs was assigned as Chief of Staff for the Russian Third Army on the Southwestern Front under the command of General Aleksei Brusilov, with whom he assisted in planning the Brusilov Offensive in August 1916.[3] In September of the same year, he commanded a Russian expeditionary force in Thessaloniki on the Macedonian front in support of the Serbian Army.

After the February Revolution, Diterikhs was recalled to Russia. In August 1917 the Russian Provisional Government offered Diterikhs the position of Minister of War, which he refused. By November 3, 1917, Diterikhs was promoted to the chief of staff of the Russian army's headquarters, but managed to escape arrest during the Bolshevik revolution. Diterikhs escaped to Kiev, then made his way to Siberia where the Czechoslovak Legions asked him to become their chief of staff and the commander of the fives T. G. Masaryk's rifle regiment too. [4] He helped the Czech Legion to organize their first resistance in May 1918, and commanded their Irkutsk-Chita-Vladivostok armed group.

Diterikhs was ordered by Admiral Kolchak to arrest the Ufa directory but delayed his move. After a few days on November 26, 1918 he finally agreed to obey to Kolchak's order and simultaneously resigned from the Czech Legion after a period of tense relations.

From January to July 1919 Diterikhs personally supervised the Sokolov investigation of the murder of Tsar Nicholas II. Later he published a book on this subject, when he already lived abroad.[a] Based on his anti-Semitic views, he tried to present the execution as a ritual murder organized by Jews.[5]

In July 1919 Diterikhs took command of the Siberian Army of Admiral Kolchak. He assisted in creation of various paramilitary militias in support of the White movement and the Russian Orthodox Church against the Bolsheviks. In September 1919 he commanded Admiral Kolchak's last successful offensive against the Red Army, the Tobolsk Operation. However, in December 1919 he resigned after a bitter quarrel with Kolchak and emigrated to Harbin in Manchuria.

Periodically Diterikhs figured in the negotiations between the Provisional Priamurye Government and other White forces. On June 8, 1922, Diterikhs returned to take over the Army of Verzhbitski as well as the civil administration. Based in the Amur Krai, Diterikhs proceeded to reorganize the army and civil government, much in the way General Pyotr Wrangel had done in the Crimea two years earlier. Taking a hands-on approach, Diterikhs made efforts to enlist the support of the local population for his cause, calling his battle a religious crusade against Bolshevism. He had also tried, in vain, to convince the Japanese not to withdraw their military support.

Diterikhs founded the last Zemsky Sobor on Russian soil on July 23, 1922. On August 8, 1922, the sobor declared that the throne of Russia belonged to the House of Romanov in the person of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich Romanov. It also named Diterikhs as the ruler of the Provisional Priamur Government and its armed forces, called in archaic terms the Zemskaya Rat. On October 25, 1922, the Bolsheviks defeated Diterikhs's army, forcing an evacuation from Vladivostok to China and Korea via Japanese ships.

After May 1923 Diterikhs moved from a military refugee camp to Harbin where many White emigres settled. He became the head of the Far East chapter of the Russian All-Military Union organization. Diterikhs died in Shanghai in 1937, where he was buried.[6]



  1. ^ The Murder of the Royal Family and members of the House of Romanoffs in the Urals (Убийство Царской семьи и членов Дома Романовых на Урале)


  1. ^ Jamie, Bisher (2005). White Terror: Cossack warlords of the Trans-Siberian. Abingdon, Oxon, England: Routledge. p. 343. ISBN 0-203-34186-4.
  2. ^ Биография Дитерихса на сайте Хроноса
  3. ^ Белая гвардия
  4. ^ Preclík, Vratislav. Masaryk a legie (Masaryk and legions), váz. kniha, 219 pages, first issue vydalo nakladatelství Paris Karviná, Žižkova 2379 (734 01 Karvina, Czech Republic) ve spolupráci s Masarykovým demokratickým hnutím (Masaryk Democratic Movement, Prague), 2019, ISBN 978-80-87173-47-3, pages 36 - 39, 41 - 42, 111-112, 124–125, 128, 129, 132, 140–148, 184–199.
  5. ^ Семен, Резник. Кто распространял слухи о «ритуальном убийстве» царской семьи. www.chayka.org (in Russian).
  6. ^ Умер в Шанхае белый генерал Михаил Константинович Дитерихс, последний вождь Белой армии, правитель Приамурского края
  7. ^ Czech order database