Ungern Von Sternberg, Roman Fedorovich

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ungern Von Sternberg, Roman Fedorovich


Born Jan. 10 (22), 1886, on the island of Dago (present-day Hiiumaa Saar, now part of the Estonian SSR); died Sept. 15, 1921, in Novonikolaevsk (present-day Novosibirsk). One of the leaders of the counterrevolution in Transbaikalia and Mongolia. Lieutenant general (1919). Baron.

Ungern von Sternberg graduated from the Pavel Military School in 1908 and was assigned to the Transbaikal Cossack Host. He served in World War I (1914–18). He was sentenced to three years in prison for criminal offenses but was released during the February Revolution of 1917.

In August 1917, A. F. Kerenskii dispatched Ungern and G. M. Semenov to Transbaikalia to form a counterrevolutionary unit. During the Semenovshchina, Ungern commanded the Mounted Asian Division, gaining notoriety for his sadistic cruelty. After the evacuation of the Japanese from Transbaikalia in 1920 he left Semenov and went into Mongolia, and in February 1921 he occupied Urgu (present-day Ulan Bator). He received the title of vana from Mongolian reactionaries and became virtual dictator of Mongolia.

In May 1921, Ungern led an army of White Guards in an invasion of Soviet territory near Troitskosavsk (present-day Kiakhta). However, in the course of the Mongolian Operation of 1921 his army was routed by the Red Army and Mongolian revolutionary troops. On August 21, the Mongolians turned Ungern over to the partisan detachment of P. E. Shchetinkin. In accordance with a verdict of the Siberian Revolutionary Tribunal he was shot to death.

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