Ermolov, Aleksei Petrovich

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ermolov, Aleksei Petrovich


Born May 24 (June 4), 1777, in Moscow; died there Apr. 11 (23), 1861; buried in Orel. Russian military and political figure, general of infantry (1818) and general of artillery (1837). Son of an officer.

Ermolov studied at the Moscow University Boarding School of the Nobility. Enrolled in the Preobrazhenskii Regiment for ten years, he took up service in the regular army in 1791 with the rank of captain. He fought in the war against Poland (1794) and in the Persian campaign of 1796. In 1798 he was arrested as one of the members of the Smolensk officers’ political circle and sent into “eternal exile” at Kostroma. In 1801 he was allowed to return from exile. During the war against France of 1805–07 he displayed bravery and outstanding abilities as an artillery commander. During the Patriotic War of 1812 he was appointed chief of staff of the First Western Army on July 1 (13) and played an important role in the battles at Valutina Gora, Borodino, and Maloiaroslavets. At Borodino he personally led his troops in an attack. After the battle of Borodino he was appointed chief of staff of the united armies. During the western campaign of 1813–14 he was chief of artillery of the allied armies, commanded a division and a corps, and distinguished himself at the battle of Kulm.

In 1816, Ermolov became commander of the Separate Georgian (later, Caucasian) Corps as well as commander in chief in Georgia and ambassador plenipotentiary and extraordinary to Iran. He was the supreme military and civil authority in the Caucasus; he followed a harsh colonial policy and oversaw the conquest of the Northern Caucasus. At the same time, being a proponent of Suvorov’s methods of troop training and instruction, he found himself in opposition to Arakcheev’s regime and was famous for his commanding and independent personality. He enjoyed a reputation as a progressive public figure, and the Decembrists even included him in their prospective provisional revolutionary government. In March 1827, Nicholas I recalled him from the Caucasus because of the connection with the Decembrists, and he was retired in November 1827. In 1855, during the Crimean war, he was elected chief of the state militia in seven provinces but accepted this post only for Moscow Province.


Zapiski, parts 1–2. Moscow, 1865–68.


A. P. Ermolov: Materialy dlia ego biografii, sobrannye M. Pogodinym. Moscow, 1864.
Ermolov, A. A. P. Ermolov (1777–1861). St. Petersburg, 1912.


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