Iakhontov, Viktor

Iakhontov, Viktor Aleksandrovich


Born May 30 (June 11), 1881, in Warsaw; died Oct. 11, 1978, in Moscow. Russian political figure.

The son of a general, Iakhontov graduated from the Pavel Military School in 1901 and from the Academy of the General Staff in 1907. He fought in World War I, and in 1916 he was appointed a military attaché in Japan. In 1917 he became a major general and deputy minister of war of the Provisional Government. In late 1917 he returned to Japan. In April 1919, Iakhontov moved to the USA, where he gave lectures throughout the country opposing foreign intervention in the affairs of Soviet Russia and encouraging the establishment of diplomatic relations between the USSR and the USA.

After fascist Germany attacked the USSR, Iakhontov helped organize a large antifascist campaign. On his initiative the Russian-American Committee for Medical Aid to the Soviet Union was formed in 1941; in the very first months of the war alone, its members collected hundreds of thousands of dollars. Between the beginning and the end of World War II, Iakhontov gave hundreds of lectures to Americans on the USSR and the situation at the fronts, and he promoted better understanding between the Soviet and American peoples. Iakhontov joined the staff of the UN Secretariat in 1947, but he was discharged from his position in 1953, during the period of McCarthyism, because of his pro-Soviet views.

In the 1930’s, Iakhontov began writing for the progressive Russian press; his most noteworthy contributions were to the newspaper Russkii Gobs (from 1959). During the 1930’s and 1940’s he published in the USA a series of works on Russian and Soviet policy in the Far East. After World War II he traveled to the Soviet Union more than 20 times and organized trips to the USSR for American tourists.

A citizen of the USA from 1934, Iakhontov requested Soviet citizenship. In 1975 the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR granted his request and allowed him to take up residence in his native land. Iakhontov was a member of the council of the Soviet Society for Cultural Ties With Compatriots Abroad (the Rodina Society). He also served on the editorial boards of the newspaper Golos Rodiny and the magazine Otchizna. He became a personal pensioner.

Iakhontov was awarded the Order of Friendship of Peoples.