Iona Emmanuilovich Iakir

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Iakir, Iona Emmanuilovich


Born Aug. 3 (15), 1896, in Kishinev; died June 11, 1937. Soviet military figure. Army commander first rank (1935). Member of the CPSU from 1917.

The son of a pharmacist, Iakir studied at the University of Basel and, in 1915, at the Kharkov Technological Institute. He obtained a position as a turner in an Odessa military plant in 1915. After the February Revolution of 1917 he engaged in antiwar propaganda in Kishinev. In December 1917, Iakir was elected a member of the Bessarabian soviet and a member of the provincial party committee and revolutionary committee.

Iakir led a Red Guard unit against the Rumanian occupying forces in January 1918. During the spring and summer of that year he commanded a battalion of Chinese volunteers in battles against the Austro-German occupying forces. Iakir became the head of the political administration of the Southern Sector of screen detachments in September 1918. In October 1918 he was named a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Eighth Army and commander of a group of forces in the region of Liski.

In July 1919, Iakir assumed command of the 45th Rifle Division. In August and September of that year he commanded the Southern Group of the Twelfth Army in its retreat from the region of Birzula and Golta (now Kotovsk and Pervomaisk), where it had been encircled by the enemy, toward Zhitomir and Kiev. From November 1919 through February 1920, Iakir again commanded the 45th Rifle Division. From March to September 1920 he commanded the Fastov, Zlochev, and L’vov groups of the Southwestern Front.

From 1921 to 1924, Iakir was commander of the Crimean and Kiev military regions and the Kiev Military District. He headed the Main Directorate of Military Educational Institutions of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army in 1924 and 1925. From November 1925 through May 1937, Iakir was commander of the Ukrainian (Kiev) Military District. He studied at the Higher Military Academy of the German General Staff in 1927 and 1928. Iakir was a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR from 1930 to 1934, and in 1936 he became a member of the Military Council of the People’s Commissariat of Defense of the USSR.

Iakir was a delegate to the Tenth through Twelfth Congresses of the RCP(B) and the Fourteenth through Seventeenth Congresses of the ACP(B). He became a candidate member of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) in 1930 and a member in 1934. He was a member of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR.

Iakir was awarded three Orders of the Red Banner.


Vospominaniia o grazhdanskoi voine. Moscow, 1957. In Etapy bol’shogoputi. Moscow, 1962.


Babenko, P. M. I. E. Iakir. Moscow, 1964.
Komandarm Iakir: Vospominaniia druzei i soratnikov. Moscow, 1963.


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