Berzin, Reingol’d Iosifovich
Born July 4 (16), 1888; died Nov. 11, 1939. Soviet military and political figure. Member of the Communist Party from 1905. Born into the family of a Latvian farm laborer in Valmiera District, Lifland Province.
Berzin was a worker; he became a teacher in 1909. In 1911 and 1912 he was in prison for disseminating Bolshevik literature. He graduated from Venden Agricultural College in 1912. Berzin was in the army from 1914; he graduated from ensign school in 1916 and fought in World War I as a senior lieutenant. In 1917 he was chairman of the executive committee of a corps, assistant chairman of the Second Army committee, and a member of the military revolutionary committee of the Western Front. From late 1917 to early 1918 he commanded revolutionary troops that participated in the destruction of the counterrevolutionary general headquarters, in the struggle against the troops of the Ukrainian Central Rada, and in the rout of the mutiny of the Polish corps of Dowbor-Muśnicki. From January to April 1918, Berzin was commander in chief of the Western Front in the struggle against counterrevolution and then worked at the Higher Military Inspectorate. From June 1918 he was commander of the Northern Urals-Siberian Front, which later became the basis for the Third Army. From December 1918 he was inspector of the Latvian Red Army; then he was a member of the revolutionary military councils of the Western Front (August to December 1919), the Southern Front (December 1919 to January 1920), the Southwestern Front (January to September 1920), and the Turkestan Front (September 1920 to November 1921 and December 1923 to September 1924). Berzin subsequently worked in war production and agriculture and was the director of the office of agrotechnical knowledge of the RSFSR People’s Commissariat of Agriculture. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner and the Orders of the Red Banner of the Bukhara and Khorezm People’s Republics.