Aleksandr Kolchak

(redirected from Alexander Vasilyevich Kolchak)
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kolchak, Aleksandr Vasil’evich


Born Nov. 4 (16), 1874, in St. Petersburg; died Feb. 7, 1920, in Irkutsk. One of the leaders of the Russian counterrevolution; admiral (1917). Son of a naval artillery officer.

Kolchak graduated from the Naval College (1894). During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05 he commanded a destroyer and a battery in Port Arthur. He participated in polar expeditions in 1900–03 and 1908–11 (as a hydrologist). In 1906–09 and 1911–14 he served on the Naval General Staff. He took part in World War I (1914–18) as chief of the operations department of the Baltic Fleet, commander of a mine division, and, from July 1916, commander of the Black Sea Fleet. After the February Revolution of 1917 he took a sharply counterrevolutionary position and, under pressure from the masses of seamen, he was recalled to Petrograd by the Provisional Government. He was sent on an assignment to Great Britain and the USA.

In October 1918, with General A. Knox of Britain, he arrived in Omsk and on November 4 was appointed minister of war and of the navy of the “Siberian Government.” On Nov. 18, 1918, with the support of Cadets, White Guard officers, and interventionists, he staged a coup and established a military dictatorship, taking the title of “supreme ruler of the Russian state” and the rank of supreme commander in chief (until Jan. 4, 1920). After the defeat of the White Guard troops he fled from Omsk to Irkutsk, where on Dec. 27, 1919, he was taken into custody by Czechoslovak troops. On Jan. 15, 1920, at the demand of insurgent workers, he was surrendered to the Socialist Revolutionary-Menshevik Political Center and then turned over to the Bolshevik Revolutionary Committee. After an investigation and a trial he was shot by sentence of the revolutionary committee.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.