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Konev, Ivan Stepanovich
Born Dec. 16 (28), 1897, in the village of Lodeino, now in Podosinovets Raion, Kirov Oblast; died May 21, 1973, in Moscow. Soviet military commander; marshal of the Soviet Union (Feb. 20, 1944); twice Hero of the Soviet Union (July 29, 1944, and June 1, 1945); Hero of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (1970); and Hero of the Mongolian People’s Republic (1971). Member of the CPSU from 1918.
Konev was drafted into the tsarist army in 1916. In 1918 he was a member of the Nikol’sk district executive committee in Vologda Province and district military commissar. He was in the Red Army from 1918. Konev fought in the Civil War of 1918–20 in battles against Kolchak’s troops, Semenov’s gangs, and the Japanese interventionists, serving as military commissar of an armored train, a brigade, an infantry division, the staff of the People’s Revolutionary Army of the Far Eastern Republic, and a rifle corps. In 1921, as a delegate to the Tenth Congress of the RCP (Bolshevik), Konev participated in the suppression of the Kronstadt mutiny. He graduated from the higher commanders’ courses of the Military Academy in 1926. Konev commanded a regiment until 1930 and a division until 1932. He graduated from the M. V. Frunze Military Academy in 1934. In 1934–40 he was commander of a rifle division, a corps, and the Second Detached Red Banner Far Eastern Army. Konev commanded the troops of the Transbaikal and Northern Caucasus military districts in 1940–41.
In the beginning of the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), Konev commanded the Nineteenth Army and was subsequently commander of the troops of the Western Front (from September 1941 to October 10 and from August 1942 to February 1943), the Kalinin Front (from Oct. 17, 1941), the Northwestern Front (from March 1943), the Steppe Front (from July 1943), the Second Ukrainian Front (from October 1943), and the First Ukrainian Front (from May 1944 to May 1945). The troops under Konev’s command participated in the battles of Moscow and Kursk, in the liberation of the Right-bank and Western Ukraine, and in the East Carpathian, Vistula-Oder, Berlin, and Prague operations.
Konev was commander in chief of the Central Group of Forces and supreme commissar for Austria in 1945–46. He served as commander in chief of the ground forces and deputy minister of the armed forces of the USSR from 1946 to 1950. In 1950–51, Konev was chief inspector of the Soviet Army, in 1951–55 he was commander of the troops of the Carpathian Military District, in 1955–56 he was first deputy minister of defense and simultaneously commander in chief of the ground forces, and in 1956–60 he was first deputy minister of defense. From May 1955 to June 1960 he was also simultaneously commander in chief of the joint armed forces of the member-states of the Warsaw Treaty. In 1960–61 he was inspector-general of the group of inspectors-general of the Ministry of Defense. Konev was commander in chief of the Soviet Group of Forces in Germany in 1961–62 and inspector-general of the group of inspectors-general of the Ministry of Defense from April 1962.
Konev was a Member of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee from 1931 to 1934. He was deputy to the first through eighth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He was a candidate member of the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik) from 1939 to 1952 and a member of the Central Committee of the CPSU from 1952. Konev was awarded six Orders of Lenin, the Order of the October Revolution, the Order of Victory, three Orders of the Red Banner, two Orders of Suvorov First Class, two Orders of Kutuzov First Class, the Order of the Red Star, 13 foreign orders, and various medals. Konev is buried in Red Square at the Kremlin wall.
WORKSSorok piatyi, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1970.
Zapiski koman duiushchego frontom, 1943–1944. Moscow, 1972.