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 Kliment Voroshilov

Born:   February, 4th, 1881
Deceased:   December, 2nd, 1969

Soviet statesman, party figure and military leader, Marshal of Soviet Union




Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov was born on February, 4th (January, 23rd) 1881 into the family of a worker. From the age of 15 he worked at factories, and in 1904 joined Lugansk Bolshevik Committee, where he showed himself as an active revolutionary. He headed workers’ strikes, participated in organizing fighting squads, conducted underground party work, and was repeatedly arrested.

After the February Revolution of 1917 Kliment Voroshilov became a member of the Petrograd Soviet, and a year later he was already chairman of the Extraordinary Commission for Protection of Petrograd (the name of Petersburg then). During the Civil War Kliment was engaged in formation of parts of the Red Army, was in command of a number of armies, and also participated in defense of Tsaritsyn, where he got acquainted and worked close with Joseph Stalin.

In the course of combat operations Voroshilov did not reveal any military talents, but always excelled in "purity" of party views. From 1919 he was appointed as the People's Commissar of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, where he organized retaliatory operations for liquidation of Ukrainian national squads. Together with Semyon Budyonny he was one of the founders of the 1st Cavalry. He was awarded three Orders of Wartime Red Banner and an honourable revolutionary weapon.

In the 1920s Voroshilov continued his active military career – participated in suppression of Kronstadt anti-Soviet revolt, and commanded armies of the North Caucasian military district, where he supervised over destruction of insurgents.

After Mikhail Frunze’s death Kliment Voroshilov being Stalin's supporter was appointed chairman of the USSR Military Revolutionary Council. Voroshilov became the most glorified commander of the Civil War. Songs were composed in his honor, and collective farms, factories, and ships were named after him. Soviet propagation inflated his military merits. The best riflemen received honourable badges «Voroshilovsky marksman». Heavy Soviet tank "KV" was named so in his honor.

Stalinist reprisals of the second half of the 1930s fell upon Soviet military leaders with special cruelty. It is known that Voroshilov gave sanctions for arrests and executions of military men and signed most of the proscriptive lists along with Stalin. As a result practically all generalship and middle command personnel were destroyed.

In 1935 Klim Voroshilov took the post of the USSR People's Commissar for Defense, with promotion to Marshal of Soviet Union. But for his serious miscalculations in preparation for the Soviet-Finnish war he was displaced from this post. During the Great Patriotic War Voroshilov also showed his inability to command. Marshal’s personal bravery revealed in the course of operations, couldn't compensate for his strategic incompetence.

Staff turnover in the Soviet management after Stalin's death has led to Voroshilov's appointment to be Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. But with Nikita Khrushchev’s rise to power in 1960, Voroshilov was dispensed from his duties «for health reasons», with honor and the Title of Hero of Socialist Labour.

After Khrushchev’s fall Leonid Brezhnev returned Voroshilov to politics as “a live legend» of the Soviet history. Again selected a member of the Central Committee, Voroshilov was for the second time conferred Title of Hero of the Soviet Union shortly before his death.

Marshal Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov died on December, 2nd, 1969 in Moscow and was buried in the Red Square.



Tags: Russian history Russian military leaders Kliment Voroshilov   

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