Kirponos, Mikhail Petrovich
Born Jan. 9 (21), 1892, in the village of Vertievka, in present-day Nezhin Raion, Chernigov Oblast; died Sept. 20, 1941, near Driukovshchina farmstead, Lokhvitsa Raion, Poltava Oblast. Soviet military commander, colonel general (1941), Hero of the Soviet Union (Mar. 21, 1940). Became a member of the CPSU in 1918. The son of a poor Ukrainian peasant.
Kirponos was drafted into the army in 1915 and graduated from a military school for surgeon’s assistants in 1917. Elected chairman of a soldiers’ regimental committee in August 1917 and chairman of the soviet of the 26th Rifle Corps in November, Kirponos was one of the organizers of rebel detachments in the Ukraine and fought in the Civil War (1918–20). He was appointed chief of staff, deputy commander, and commander of a regiment in 1918, and deputy chief and commissar of a school of Red cossack officers in 1922. After graduating from the M. V. Frunze Military Academy in 1927, he served as chief of staff of an infantry division and as chief and military commissar of the Kazan Military School (1934–39).
Kirponos commanded the 70th Infantry Division in the Soviet-Finnish War of 1939–40 and was then appointed commander of an infantry corps in April 1940, commander of the Leningrad Military District in June 1940, and commander of the Kiev Military District in February 1941. Early in the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) he commanded the troops of the Southwestern Front. In the retreat from Kiev, Kirponos was fatally wounded while trying to break out of the German encirclement. His remains were brought to Kiev after the war.