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Anatoly Pepelyayev

Anatoly Pepelyayev

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Anatoly Nikolayevich Pepelyayev was a White Russian
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 general who led the Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

n armies of Admiral Kolchak during the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

. His elder brother Viktor Pepelyayev
Viktor Pepelyayev
Viktor Nikolayevich Pepelyayev was a Russian politician associated with the White movement. Brother of Anatoly Pepelyayev....

 served as Prime Minister in Kolchak's government.

Trans-Siberian march


A graduate of the Paul Military School (1910), Pepelyayev took part in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

 and distinguished himself at Przasnysz
Przasnysz
Przasnysz is a town in Poland. Located in the Masovian Voivodship, about 110 km north of Warsaw and about 115 km south of Olsztyn, it's the capital of Przasnysz County. It has 18,093 inhabitants . One of the most important towns in Mazovia during the Middle Ages. City laws - 1427.-Famous...

 and Soldau. After the Russian Revolution, he took the helm of the White movement
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 in his native Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

n city of Tomsk
Tomsk
Tomsk is a city and the administrative center of Tomsk Oblast, Russia, located on the Tom River. One of the oldest towns in Siberia, Tomsk celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2004...

, joining forces with the White Czechs.

In summer 1918 Pepelyayev's corps was involved in a remarkable expedition to the east along the Trans-Siberian Railway
Trans-Siberian Railway
The Trans-Siberian Railway is a network of railways connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan. It is the longest railway in the world...

. It was as a consequence of this expedition that the Whites managed to bring Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 under their direct control. On 18 June Pepelyayev entered Krasnoyarsk
Krasnoyarsk
Krasnoyarsk is a city and the administrative center of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, located on the Yenisei River. It is the third largest city in Siberia, with the population of 973,891. Krasnoyarsk is an important junction of the Trans-Siberian Railway and one of Russia's largest producers of...

; on 26 August he advanced as far east as Chita. Having crossed Transbaikalia, Pepelyayev's forces linked up with the Amur Cossacks
Amur Cossacks
The Amur Cossack Host , a Cossack host created in the Amur region and Primorye in the 1850s on the basis of the Cossacks relocated from the Transbaikal region and freed miners of Nerchinsk region....

 of Grigory Semyonov
Grigory Semyonov
Grigory Mikhaylovich Semyonov, or Semenov , was a Japanese-supported leader of the White movement in Transbaikal and beyond from December 1917 to November 1920, Lieutenant General and Ataman of Baikal Cossacks .-Biography:Semyonov was born in the Transbaikal region of eastern Siberia...

 in early September.

Service under Kolchak


In December, Pepelyayev's forces resumed their high tempo advance, this time to the west. His greatest victory was the capture of Perm
Perm
Perm is a city and the administrative center of Perm Krai, Russia, located on the banks of the Kama River, in the European part of Russia near the Ural Mountains. From 1940 to 1957 it was named Molotov ....

, where about 20,000 Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 soldiers were taken prisoner on 24 December 1918. Further advance on Vyatka was impeded by heavy frost. As the spring rasputitsa
Rasputitsa
The rasputitsa refers to the biannual seasons when unpaved roads become difficult to traverse in parts of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. The word may be translated as the "quagmire season" because during this period the large flatlands become extremely muddy and marshy, as do most unpaved roads...

 arrived Pepelyayev's position deteriorated. His armies had outrun their supply lines and were exhausted from many months of incessant warfare, while the Red Army was pouring newly raised troops into the area.

Pepelyayev's taking of Glazov
Glazov
Glazov is a town located in the north of the Udmurt Republic, Russia along the Trans-Siberian Railway. Population: It was founded in the 16th century as a village; town status was granted to it in 1780. Olga Knipper, wife of the famous Russian writer Anton Chekhov, was born in Glazov. During the...

 on 2 June 1919 was his last signal success. During the following months, his First Siberian Army suffered a series of setbacks and fell back on Tobolsk
Tobolsk
Tobolsk is a town in Tyumen Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Tobol and Irtysh Rivers. It is a historic capital of Siberia. Population: -History:...

, where they were forced to make a last stand against the Bolsheviks. By the end of the year, the White Army had collapsed in panic and abandoned Omsk
Omsk
-History:The wooden fort of Omsk was erected in 1716 to protect the expanding Russian frontier along the Ishim and the Irtysh rivers against the Kyrgyz nomads of the Steppes...

, followed by Tomsk.

Pepelyayev's smouldering conflict with Kolchak came to a head in mid-December when he issued threats to arrest the White admiral. They were reconciled by Viktor Pepelyayev before Anatoly was disabled by typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

 and transferred for convalescence to Harbin
Harbin
Harbin ; Manchu language: , Harbin; Russian: Харби́н Kharbin ), is the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China, lying on the southern bank of the Songhua River...

. The remains of his army joined that of Vladimir Kappel
Vladimir Kappel
Vladimir Oskarovich Kappel was a White Russian military leader.During the First World War he was a Chief of the 347th Infantry Regiment's Staff and an officer in the 1st Army's Staff...

 and crossed the frozen Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world's oldest at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 metres.Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the...

 during the Great Siberian Ice March
Great Siberian Ice March
The Great Siberian Ice march was the winter retreat of Vladimir Kappel's White Russian Army in the course of the Russian Civil War in January–February 1920....

.

"Pepelyayevshchina"


During his stint in Harbin, the former general was employed in menial jobs, including those of carpenter and taxi driver. Still, he harboured the intention of wresting Siberia from the Bolsheviks. On 31 August 1922 Pepelyayev and 553-strong volunteer "druzhina
Druzhina
Druzhina, Drużyna or Družyna in the medieval history of Slavic Europe was a retinue in service of a chieftain, also called knyaz. The name is derived from the Slavic word drug with the meaning of "companion, friend". -Early Rus:...

" embarked on the last major operation of the Civil War. They sailed into the Sea of Okhotsk
Sea of Okhotsk
The Sea of Okhotsk is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, lying between the Kamchatka Peninsula on the east, the Kuril Islands on the southeast, the island of Hokkaidō to the far south, the island of Sakhalin along the west, and a long stretch of eastern Siberian coast along the west and...

 and disembarked at the port of Okhotsk
Okhotsk
Okhotsk is an urban locality and a seaport at the mouth of the Okhota River on the Sea of Okhotsk, in Okhotsky District, Khabarovsk Krai, Russia. Population: 4,470 ;...

, aiming to penetrate westward into the rugged mountainous country.

In September Pepelyayev sailed up the Okhota River
Okhota River
The Okhota River is a river in Khabarovsk Krai, historically it was the easternmost end of the Siberian River Routes.It rises in Suntar-Khayata Range. After river flows in wide valley between Yudom and Kukhtuy Ranges into Sea of Okhotsk. The mouth of river is near Okhotsk.Okhota River is 393 km...

 into Siberia, with his eyes set on Yakutsk
Yakutsk
With a subarctic climate , Yakutsk is the coldest city, though not the coldest inhabited place, on Earth. Average monthly temperatures range from in July to in January. The coldest temperatures ever recorded on the planet outside Antarctica occurred in the basin of the Yana River to the northeast...

. His troops swarmed over Yakutia, but were contained by Ivan Strod
Ivan Strod
Ivan Yakovlevich Strod was a hero of the Russian Civil War in the Russian Far East from 1918 to 1923....

's Bolsheviks. Numerically weaker, they were defeated by sheer weight of numbers. After abandoning the key settlement of Amga
Amga
Amga is a rural locality and the administrative center of Amginsky Ulus of the Sakha Republic, Russia. It is situated on the Amga River, some south-east of Yakutsk...

, Pepelyayev pressed on towards the Pacific in the hope of making a crossing to Sakhalin
Sakhalin
Sakhalin or Saghalien, is a large island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50' and 54°24' N.It is part of Russia, and is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast...

. This final campaign saw him defeated near Okhotsk on 1-2 May. Pepelyayev surrendered to the Bolsheviks after the siege of the seaside village of Ayan on 17 June 1923. This was the last siege of the Russian Civil War.

Imprisonment and death


Lieutenant General Pepelyayev was tried by the Vladivostok
Vladivostok
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, the height of which is 257 m...

 military tribunal and sentenced to execution by firing squad. After he asked Mikhail Kalinin
Mikhail Kalinin
Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin , known familiarly by Soviet citizens as "Kalinych," was a Bolshevik revolutionary and the nominal head of state of Russia and later of the Soviet Union, from 1919 to 1946...

 for pardon, the sentence was commuted to ten years in prison. He served this term in the Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl is a city and the administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, located northeast of Moscow. The historical part of the city, a World Heritage Site, is located at the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl Rivers. It is one of the Golden Ring cities, a group of historic cities...

 prison, then in Butyrki. Pepelyayev was finally set at liberty on 6 June 1936 and was employed as a carpenter in Voronezh
Voronezh
Voronezh is a city in southwestern Russia, the administrative center of Voronezh Oblast. It is located on both sides of the Voronezh River, away from where it flows into the Don. It is an operating center of the Southeastern Railway , as well as the center of the Don Highway...

. In August 1937, during The Great Purges, he was again arrested, taken to Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk is the third-largest city in Russia, after Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and the largest city of Siberia, with a population of 1,473,737 . It is the administrative center of Novosibirsk Oblast as well as of the Siberian Federal District...

, tried on charges of having created a counter-revolutionary organization, sentenced to death and executed alongside Ivan Strod as 'enemies of the people'. Pepelyayev was posthumously cleared of these charges and rehabilitated
Rehabilitation (Soviet)
Rehabilitation in the context of the former Soviet Union, and the Post-Soviet states, was the restoration of a person who was criminally prosecuted without due basis, to the state of acquittal...

 in 1989.

Honours and awards


  • Order of St. Anna
    Order of St. Anna
    The Order of St. Anna ) is a Holstein and then Russian Imperial order of chivalry established by Karl Friedrich, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp on 14 February 1735, in honour of his wife Anna Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great of Russia...

    , 4th class with the inscription "For Bravery", 3rd class and 2nd class
  • Order of St. Stanislaus, 3rd and 2nd classes
  • Order of St. Vladimir
    Order of St. Vladimir
    The Cross of Saint Vladimir was an Imperial Russian Order established in 1782 by Empress Catherine II in memory of the deeds of Saint Vladimir, the Grand Prince and the Baptizer of the Kievan Rus....

    , 4th class, with swords and bow
  • Order of St. George
    Order of St. George
    The Military Order of the Holy Great-Martyr and the Triumphant George The Military Order of the Holy Great-Martyr and the Triumphant George The Military Order of the Holy Great-Martyr and the Triumphant George (also known as Order of St. George the Triumphant, Russian: Военный орден Св...

    , 4th class (27 January 1917)
  • Gold Sword for Bravery
    Gold Sword for Bravery
    The Gold Sword for Bravery was a Russian Empire award for bravery. It was set up with two grades on 27 July 1720 by Peter the Great, reclassified as a public order in 1807 and abolished in 1917. From 1913 to 1917 it was renamed the St George Sword and considered as one of the grades of the Order...

    (27 September 1916)