Iakov Zhilinskii

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Zhilinskii, Iakov Grigor’evich


Born Mar. 15 (27), 1853, in Mikhailov, in what is now Riazan’ Oblast; died in 1918. Russian cavalry general (1910).

Zhilinskii joined the army in 1873. He graduated from Nikolai Cavalry School in 1876 and from the Academy of the General Staff in 1883. During the Russo-Japanese War, Zhilinskii was chief of the field staff of Admiral E. I. Alekseev, commander in chief of the armed forces in the Far East, until October 1904. Thanks to his court connections, Zhilinskii was appointed chief of the General Staff in 1911, despite his lack of political and strategic acumen. During negotiations in 1912–13 with the chief of the French General Staff, General J. Joffre, Zhilinskii irresponsibly promised to place an 800,000-man army against Germany immediately after the 15th day of mobilization. He became governor-general of Warsaw and commander of the troops of the Warsaw Military District in March 1914. At the start of World War I, Zhilinskii became commander in chief of the North-western Front. He was removed on Sept. 3 (16), 1914, because of the defeat in the East Prussian Operation of 1914. In 1915–16 he was the representative of the Russian high command to the Allied Council in Paris. He was recalled to Russia in November 1916 and placed on the retired list in September 1917. After the October Revolution, Zhilinskii fled to the White Guards and died in the south of Russia.

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