Vitaly Primakov

Vitaliy Markovich Primakov (Russian: Виталий Маркович Примаков; Ukrainian: Віталій Маркович Примаков) (3 December 1897 – 12 June 1937) was a Soviet military leader and revolutionary, commander of the Red Cossacks corps, and part of the Red Army. He was a close friend of Kotsiubynsky family and a son-in-law of Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky.

Vitaly Markovich Primakov
Віталій Маркович Примаков
Примаков Віталій Маркович 2.jpg
Born(1897-12-03)3 December 1897
Semenivka, Novozybkovsky Uyezd, Chernigov Governorate, Russian Empire
Died12 June 1937(1937-06-12) (aged 39)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Allegiance Russian SFSR (1918–1922)
 Soviet Union (1922–1937)
Years of service1918–1937
Commands heldLeningrad military district
Battles/warsRussian Civil War
AwardsOrder of the Red Banner (three times)

Early lifeEdit

Vitaly Primakov was born in 1897 in Semenivka, Novozybkovsky Uyezd, Chernigov Governorate in a family of a teacher with Russian background.[1] In 1914 he joined the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party and was exiled to Siberia for political reasons in 1915.[citation needed]


Primakov was released from exile during February Revolution in 1917. He became a member of Kiev's Bolshevik committee. In August 1917 he was conscripted into the Russian Army. While being a delegate of Second Congress of Soviets in Petrograd he was assigned commander of one of the squadrons participating in the assault on the Winter Palace. Then he led Red Army squadrons during fights with troops of General Krasnov near Gatchina.

Civil WarEdit

In February 1918, using cossack troops that crossed over to the communists, he formed regiment of Red Cossacks. In August 1919, Primakov became commander of the brigade. In October 1919, he was appointed commander of Eighth Cavalry Division. In October 1920, Primakov became the commander of First Corps of Red Cossacks.

For a successful breach of White Army defense line near Fatezh in November 1919, he was awarded first Order of the Red Banner. Second Order of the Red Banner was awarded to Primakov for combat near Proskurov. Primakov received the third Order of the Red Banner for fighting Basmachi Revolt in Central Asia.

Service after Civil WarEdit

In 1923 Primakov graduated Higher Academic Military Courses at RKKA. In 1924–25, he was the head of the Highest Cavalry school in Leningrad.

In 1925, he was sent to China to be military advisor of the Chinese First National Army. In 1927, he was appointed as the military attaché in Afghanistan. In 1929 – under the disguise of Turkish officer Ragib-bey – he led the Red Army intervention in Afghanistan. This was a military operation of Soviet troops to reinstate Amanullah Khan as ruler of Afghanistan. In 1930, Primakov was sent to Japan as military attaché there.

In 1931–33, Primakov was commander of the Thirteenth Infantry Corps. In February 1933 he became deputy of commander of North-Caucasian military district. In December 1934, he was appointed inspector of higher education institutions of Red Army. In January 1935, he became deputy of commander of Leningrad Military District.

Arrest and TrialEdit

Primakov was arrested on 14 August 1936. He was subjected to torture and pleaded guilty of being part of Trotskyist Anti-Soviet Military Organization and testified against many Soviet military commanders.[citation needed]

He was found guilty and sentenced to death on 11 June 1937.

Primakov was rehabilitated posthumously in 1957.

Personal lifeEdit

Primakov was married three times.

Once he was married to Oksana Kotsyubynska, the daughter of Mykhailo Kotsyubynsky.

Last time in 1930 he married Lilya Brik, longtime love of Vladimir Mayakovsky.


External linksEdit