Vladimir Aleksandrovich Sukhomlinov

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sukhomlinov, Vladimir Aleksandrovich


Born Aug. 4 (16), 1848; died Feb. 2, 1926, in Berlin. Russian military figure. General of the cavalry (1906).

Sukhomlinov graduated from the Nicholas Cavalry School in 1867 and the Academy of the General Staff in 1874. He fought in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, commanding a cavalry regiment and a division. From 1886 to 1897 he was director of the Officers’ Cavalry School. He became chief of staff in 1899, deputy commander in 1902, and troop commander in 1904 of the Kiev military district. Beginning in 1905, Sukhomlinov also served as governor-general of Kiev, Volyn’, and Podol’sk provinces. In December 1908 he became chief of the General Staff, and in March 1909, minister of war.

A reactionary, Sukhomlinov was a shrewd courtier, which furthered his career. He carried out several military reforms in the period 1905–12, despite which the army remained unprepared for an extended war. Sukhomlinov was dismissed in June 1915, after Russian troops suffered defeats at the front in World War I. In March 1916 he was arrested on a charge of abuses and treason in connection with the conviction for espionage of several of his associates, including S. Miasoedov and A. Al’tshuller. After six months of imprisonment he was transferred to house arrest. After the February Revolution of 1917 he was arrested again, and in September 1917 he was given a life sentence at hard labor as punishment for the unpreparedness of the army; the sentence was later commuted to confinement in a fortress.

On May 1, 1918, in view of his advanced age (70), Sukhomlinov was released from prison. He emigrated to Finland and later to Germany. He was the author of Recollections (1924).

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