Vladimir Vasilyevich Smirnov

Vladimir Vasilyevich Smirnov (4 July 1849 – 1 November 1918) was an Imperial Russian Army general of the infantry who was a division, corps and field army commander. He fought in the Russian-Turkish War of 1877–1878 and in World War I.

Vladimir Vasilyevich Smirnov
Born(1849-07-04)4 July 1849
Russian Empire
Died1 November 1918(1918-11-01) (aged 69)
Pyatigorsk, Russian SFSR
AllegianceRussian Empire
Service/branchImperial Russian Army
RankGeneral of the Infantry
Commands held131st Infantry Regiment
18th Infantry Division
2nd Siberian Army Corps
20th Army Corps
2nd Army
Western Front


Born on 4 July 1849, Smirnov began his education in the Polotsk Cadet Corps, then transferred to the Pavlovsk Military School on 23 August 1865. On 17 June 1867 he graduated as a second lieutenant and was assigned to the 28th Polotsk Infantry Regiment. On 17 July 1867, he received a promotion to ensign and transferred to the Life Guards of the Moscow Regiment, in which was promoted successively to second lieutenant on 17 April 1870), lieutenant on 30 August 1872), and staff captain on 30 August 1872.

In 1874, Smirnov graduated second in his class from the course of sciences at the Nikolayev Academy of the General Staff and was assigned to the headquarters of the Kharkov Military District. On 5 March 1875 he was appointed senior adjutant to the headquarters of the 36th Infantry Division and while there received a promotion to captain on 13 April 1875. On 1 December 1875 he became an assistant to the senior adjutant of the headquarters of the Kharkov Military District.

On 4 November 1876, Smirnov took up the post of senior adjutant of the headquarters of the 7th Army Corps, in whose ranks he took part in the Russian-Turkish War of 1877–1878, serving from 11 November 1877 at the headquarters of the Odessa Military District. For distinctive service in that conflict he was awarded the Order of Saint Anna 3rd class.

Smironov was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 16 April 1878 and to colonel on 12 April 12, 1881. From 1 August to 15 September 1881 he commanded a battalion of the 57th Modlinsky Infantry Regiment. Appointed chief of staff of the 5th Infantry Division on 20 July 1884, Smirnov spent almost seven years in that position. On 1 April 1891, he took command of the 131st Infantry Regiment at Tiraspol.

On 26 February 1894, Smirnov was promoted to major general for his distinguished service and was appointed chief of staff of the 9th Army Corps. On 4 July 1901 he was appointed commanding officer of the 18th Infantry Division, and on 6 December 1901 he was promoted to lieutenant general. On 9 July 1906, Smirnov became commanding officer of the 2nd Siberian Army Corps.

On 13 April 1908, Smirnov was promoted to general of the infantry, and on 28 July 1908 he took command of the 20th Army Corps.

World War IEdit

When the Russian Empire entered World War I on 1 August 1914, Smirnov was still in command of the 20th Army Corps. For distinguished service at the front, he was awarded the Order of St. George Fourth Class on 25 October 1914. On 20 November 1914, Smirnov took command of the 2nd Army, the official order confirming him in this post following on 5 December 1914.

In March 1916, Smirnov was forced to leave the front due to a serious illness, and the 2nd Army, which dealt the main blow against Imperial German Army forces during the Lake Naroch Offensive, was transferred to the command of General Alexander Ragoza.

In March 1917, Smirnov relieved General Aleksei Evertas commander of the Western Front. A subordinate, V. Dzhunkovsky, lamented the end of Smirnov's long tour ascommander of the 2nd Army, recalling: “The departure of the commander of the 2nd Army, General Smirnov: On the same day I published a farewell order of the commander of the army, the worthy General Smirnov, who received a different appointment. I was very sorry to leave the command of this honest, noble general.”

Smirnov's command of the Western Front was short-lived. On 8 April 1917, he was reassigned to the Ministry of War, and on 22 April 1917 he became a member of the Ministry of War′s Military Council.

Russian Civil WarEdit

After the October Revolution, Smirnov moved from Petrograd to the Mineralnye Vody area. In September 1918, during the Russian Civil War, he was taken hostage by the Red Army and on 1 November 1918, together with generals Nikolai Ruzsky, Radko Dimitriev, and others, was shot at Pyatigorsk. According to other sources, he was shot by the Bolsheviks in Kiev in sometime between February and April 1919.


Military offices
Preceded by
Chief of Staff of the 5th Infantry Division
Succeeded by
Alexander Iosafovich Ievreinov
Preceded by
Commander of the 131st Infantry Regiment
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Commander of the 18th Infantry Division
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Mikhail Zasulich
Commander of the 2nd Siberian Army Corps
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Vladimir Alexandrovich Bekman
Commander of the 20th Army Corps
Succeeded by
Pavel Bulgakov
Preceded by
Sergei Scheidemann
Commander of the 2nd Army
December 1914 – April 1917
Succeeded by
Anthony Andreyvich Veselovsky
Preceded by
Alexei Evert
Commander of the Western Front
March 11–31, 1917
Succeeded by
Vasily Gurko


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