Leonid Khrushchev

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Leonid Khrushchev
Leonid Khrushchev.jpg
Native name Леонид Хрущёв
Born Leonid Nikitich Khrushchev
(1917-11-10)10 November 1917
Yuzovka, Yekaterinoslav Governorate, Ukrainian PR, Russian Republic
Died 11 March 1943(1943-03-11) (aged 25)
Near Zhizdra, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Russian
Alma mater Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy
Occupation Fighter pilot
Political party CPSU
Spouse(s) Liuba Sizykh
Partner(s) Esther Naumovna Etinger
Children 2

Leonid Nikitich Khrushchev (10 November 1917 - 11 March 1943) was the son of Nikita Khrushchev, former leader of the Soviet Union, and served as a fighter pilot in the Soviet Air Forces during the Second World War. He was shot down and killed in 1943, although the exact circumstances of his death remain unknown.

Early life[edit]

Leonid Khrushchev was born to Nikita Khrushchev and his first wife, Yefrosinia Pisareva,[1] he graduated from high school and afterwards went to work in a factory. During high school, he received two reprimands from Komsomol (the youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union): one for drunkenness and lack of discipline, the other for failure to pay for membership fees.[2]

Air force career[edit]

In 1935, Leonid Khrushchev enrolled in the Balashov Pilot School of the Civil Air Fleet, graduating in 1937; in 1938, he returned to work as a flight instructor. In 1940, he joined the Soviet Air Force as a fighter pilot.[2]

During World War II, Khrushchev was part of the 134th Bomber Aviation Regiment, 46th Air Division, stationed in the Andreapol, Kalinin Oblast. He saw action in the Winter War against Finland, in which he completed over thirty combat missions and bombed the Mannerheim Line; after the war was finished on 13 March 1940, he volunteered to stay at the front. During the summer of 1941, he completed twelve combat missions and was presented with the Order of the Red Banner.[2]


On 11 March 1943, Khrushchev's plane, a YaK-7B fighter,[3] was shot down, with Khrushchev presumably being killed, the pilots of his squadron saw his plane explode and disintegrate in the air after being hit by Focke FW-190's fire[4], allegedly while attempting to shield another pilot with his own plane[5]. However, even though the area of his approximate crash was under partisans control, and several planes attempted to locate his plane's wreckage on the next night, his body was never found.[6][7] This, together with the fact that his father was already a member of Politburo and one of the most important political figures in the country, gave birth to a number of conspiracy theories about the circumstances of his death.[8]

Two month after his disappearance he was posthumously awarded with the Order of the Patriotic War.[9]