Bliukher, Vasilii Konstantinovich
Born Nov. 19 (Dec. 1), 1890; died Nov. 9, 1938. Soviet military and Party figure. Marshal of the Soviet Union (1935). Member of the CPSU from 1916. Born in the village of Barshchinka, Yaroslavl Province, to a peasant family.
Bliukher worked as a metal craftsman in Petrograd and the Moscow vicinity. He spent 1910–13 in prison for calling for a strike. He took part in World War I, first as a private and later as a junior noncommissioned officer. He was awarded two St. George’s Crosses and a medal. He was seriously wounded in January 1915 and discharged from the army. He worked as a metal craftsman in Sormovo and Kazan. After the February Revolution of 1917, Bliukher entered the 102nd Reserve Regiment in Samara as a volunteer, on the basis of a decision of the Samara Party organization, in order to conduct revolutionary work among the soldiers. He was elected assistant chairman of the regimental committee and member of the Samara soviet of soldiers’ deputies. He was a member of the Samara military revolutionary committee in November 1917 and participated in the establishment of Soviet power. At the end of November he was sent to Cheliabinsk as commissar of a Red Guard detachment. There he was elected chairman of the revolutionary committee and, in March 1918, chairman of the soviet. He participated in the struggle against the Dutov movement. After the mutiny of the Czechoslovak corps, he headed the Soviet troops that were surrounded in the Orenburg region. With his troops, he made a heroic raid of 1,500 kilometers through the Urals, coming out to unite with the Third Red Army in September 1918. On Sept. 28, 1918, he was the first to be awarded the Order of the Red Banner. (In all, Bliukher was awarded two Orders of Lenin, five Orders of the Red Banner, and the first Order of the Red Star.) In posts as commanding officer of the 30th and 51st Infantry Divisions and assistant commander of the Third Army, he participated in battles against Kolchak’s troops until Kolchak was crushed. Commanding the 51st Infantry Division during August through November 1920, he took part in the heroic defense of the Kakhovka bridgehead and the storming of Perekop. During 1921–22 he was minister of war, commander in chief, and a member of the Military Council of the Popular Revolutionary Army of the Far East People’s Republic; he directed the reorganization of the army and led the rout of the White Guards near Volochaevka. During 1924–27 he was the main military adviser attached to the Chinese revolutionary government in Kuangchou (Canton), participating in the execution of the Great Northern Campaign. Between 1929 and 1938 he commanded the Special Red Banner Army of the Far East; he directed the rout of the Chinese militarists’ troops during the Soviet-Chinese conflict of 1929; and he directed the establishment of a powerful defense in the Far East. He participated actively in the public life and economic development of the territory.
Bliukher was a talented and strong-willed military leader, endowed with extraordinary industry and personal charm. At the Seventeenth Party Congress (1934) he was elected candidate member to the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik). He was a member of the All-Union Central Executive Committee during 1921–24 and a member of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR from 1930 to 1938. He was a deputy to the first convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.