Manezhnaya Square, Moscow
Manezhnaya is a pedestrian open space in the Tverskoy District, at the heart of Moscow. It is bound by the Hotel Moskva to the east, the State Historical Museum and the Alexander Garden to the south, the Moscow Manege to the west, the 18th-century headquarters of the Moscow State University to the north; the square forms a vital part of downtown Moscow, connecting Red Square with the major traffic artery Tverskaya Street, which starts here and runs northwestward in the direction of Saint Petersburg. It is served by three Moscow Metro stations: Okhotny Ryad, Ploshchad Revolyutsii, Teatralnaya; the Manezhka had its origins in Moiseyevskaya Square, formed in 1798 in consequence of the demolition of the medieval Moiseyevsky Monastery which had stood on the banks of the muddy Neglinnaya River since the times of Ivan the Terrible. Although the river was culverted, the neighbourhood remained crammed with public houses and taverns which gave the area its infamous nickname of "Moscow's belly". A decision was reached in 1932 to pull down these "ugly relics of the bourgeois lifestyle" in order to make room for Communist meetings and demonstrations.
As a result, the 19th-century Grand Hotel and several Neoclassical mansions by Osip Bove were dismantled, whereupon the Moiseyevskaya Square was expanded to its present size and renamed Manezhnaya after the Moscow Manege it now abutted upon. Notwithstanding its new name, the eastern side of the square came to be dominated by another building, the newly built Hotel Moskva, a hybrid of several styles, most notable for its huge proportions and uptight look. In 1967, the square was renamed after the 50th Anniversary of the October Revolution. Furthermore, in order to commemorate that event, the Communist authorities laid a foundation stone for a grandiose sculptural monument, which failed to materialize. In August 1991, Manezhnaya Square became a venue for great demonstrations celebrating the fall of Communism after the abortive Soviet coup attempt of 1991. More it made the news in connection with riots following the Russia national football team's defeat at the 2002 FIFA World Cup; the place became a stage of rioting again in December 2010, when thousands of youth representing football fans and/or those who support nationalist slogans held a rally at Manezhnaya which turned violent.
It resulted in local rioting and ethnically motivated violence across Moscow and nationwide and made the square's name common in media when it comes to growth of nationalist sentiments in modern Russia. During the 1990s Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov had the square closed to traffic and renovated; the centrepiece of the refurbished square is a four-story underground shopping mall and parking lot, surmounted by a rotating glass cupola, which forms a world clock of the Northern hemisphere with major cities marked and a scheme of lights below each panel to show the progression of the hour. Another innovation is the former river-bed of the Neglinnaya River, which has become a popular attraction for Muscovites and tourists alike on sultry summer days; the course of the river is imitated by a rivulet dotted with fountains and statues of Russian fairy-tale characters, as sculpted by Zurab Tsereteli. In 1995, Vyacheslav Klykov's equestrian statue of Marshal Zhukov was unveiled in front of the State Historical Museum to mark the 50th anniversary of the Moscow Victory Parade, when the Soviet commander had spectacularly ridden a white stallion through Red Square and Manege Square.
Векслер А.Г. Пирогов В.Ю. Манежная площадь в Москве. История освоения и застройка территории, в сборнике: Архитектура в истории русской культуры. М. 1996
Ivan Stepanovich Konev was a Soviet military commander who led Red Army forces on the Eastern Front during World War II, retook much of Eastern Europe from occupation by the Axis Powers, helped in the capture of Germany's capital, Berlin. In 1956, as the Commander of Warsaw Pact forces, Konev led the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution by Soviet armoured divisions. Konev was born on 28 December 1897 into a peasant family near Podosinovets in Vologda Governorate, he worked as a lumberjack. In the spring of 1916, he was conscripted into the Imperial Russian Army. Konev was sent to the 2nd Heavy Artillery Brigade at Moscow and graduated from artillery training courses. In 1917, he was sent to the 2nd Separate Heavy Artillery Battalion on the Southwestern Front as a junior sergeant and fought in the Kerensky Offensive; when the Russian Revolution broke out in 1917 he was demobilised and returned home, but in 1919 he joined the Bolshevik party and the Red Army, serving as an artilleryman. During the Russian Civil War he served with the Red Army in the Russian Far Eastern Republic.
His commander at this time was Kliment Voroshilov a close colleague of Joseph Stalin and Commissar for defence. This alliance was the key to Konev's subsequent career. In 1926 Konev completed advanced officer training courses at the Frunze Military Academy, between and 1931 he held a series of progressively more senior commands, becoming head of first the Transbaikal the North Caucasus Military Districts. In July 1938 he was appointed commander of the 2nd Red Banner Army. In 1937 he became a Deputy of the Supreme Soviet and in 1939 a candidate member of the Party Central Committee; when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Konev was assigned command of the 19th Army in the Vitebsk region, waged a series of defensive battles during the Red Army's retreat, first to Smolensk and to the approaches to Moscow. He commanded the Kalinin Front from October 1941 to August 1942, playing a key role in the fighting around Moscow and the Soviet counter-offensive during the winter of 1941–42.
For his role in the successful defence of the Soviet capital, Stalin promoted Konev to Colonel-General. In the summer of 1942 Konev led the Kalinin Front and the Western front in the battle on the Rzhev salient. Konev held "Front" commands for the rest of the war, he commanded the Soviet Western Front until February 1943, the North-Western Front February–July 1943, the 2nd Ukrainian Front from July 1943 until May 1945. He participated in the Battle of Kursk, commanding the southern part of the Soviet counter-offensive, the Steppe Front, where he was an active and energetic exponent of maskirovka, the use of military camouflage and deception. Among the maskirovka measures he adopted to achieve tactical surprise were the camouflaging of defence lines and depots. In David Glantz's view, Konev's forces "generated a major portion of the element of surprise"; the result was that the Germans underestimated the strength of the Soviet defences. The commander of 19 Panzer, General G. Schmidt, wrote that "We did not assume that there was one fourth of what we had to encounter".
After the victory at Kursk, Konev's armies retook Belgorod, Odessa and Kiev. The subsequent Korsun–Shevchenkovsky Offensive led to the Battle of the Korsun–Cherkassy Pocket which took place from 24 January to 16 February 1944; the offensive was part of the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive. In it, the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts, commanded by Nikolai Vatutin and Konev, trapped German forces of Army Group South in a pocket or cauldron west of the Dnieper river. During weeks of fighting, the two Red Army Fronts tried to eradicate the pocket. According to Milovan Djilas, Konev boasted of his killing of thousands of German prisoners of war: "The cavalry finished them off.'We let the Cossacks cut up as long as they wished. They hacked off the hands of those who raised them to surrender' the Marshal recounted with a smile." For his achievements in Ukraine, Konev was promoted by Stalin to Marshal of the Soviet Union in February 1944. He was one of Stalin's favourite generals and one of the few senior commanders whom Stalin admired for his ruthlessness.
During 1944 Konev's armies advanced from Ukraine and Belarus into Poland and into Czechoslovakia. In May he participated in an unsuccessful invasion of the Balkans, together with Generals Rodion Malinovsky and Fyodor Tolbukhin. By July he had advanced to the Vistula River in central Poland, was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. In September 1944 his forces, now designated the Fourth Ukrainian Front, advanced into Slovakia and helped the Slovak partisans in their rebellion against German occupation. In January 1945 Konev, together with Georgy Zhukov, commanded the Soviet armies which launched the massive winter offensive in western Poland, driving the German forces from the Vistula to the Oder River. In southern Poland his armies seized Kraków. Soviet historians, Russian sources, claimed that Konev preserved Kraków from Nazi-planned destruction by ordering a lightning attack on the city. Konev's January 1945 offensive prevented planned destruction of the Silesian industry by the retreating Germans.
In April his troops, together with the 1st Belorussian Front under his competitor, Marshal Zhukov, forced the line of
Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovsky was a Soviet military commander in World War II, Marshal of the Soviet Union, Defense Minister of the Soviet Union in the late 1950s and 1960s. He contributed to the major defeat of Germany at the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of Budapest. During the post-war era, he made a pivotal contribution to the strengthening of the Soviet Union as a military superpower. Born in Odessa, After the death of his Catholic father, Malinovsky's mother left the city for the rural areas of Ukraine, remarried, her husband, a poverty-stricken Ukrainian peasant, refused to adopt her son and expelled him when Malinovsky was only 13 years old. The homeless boy survived by working as a farmhand, received shelter from his aunt's family in Odessa, where he worked as an errand boy in a general store. After the start of World War I in July 1914, only 15 years old at the time, hid on the military train heading for the German front, but was discovered, he convinced the commanding officers to enlist him as a volunteer, served in a machine-gun detachment in the frontline trenches.
In October 1915, as a reward for repelling a German attack, he received his first military award, the Cross of St. George of the 4th class, was promoted to the rank of corporal. Soon afterwards, he was badly spent several months in the hospital. After his recovery, he was sent to France in 1916 as a member of the Western Front Russian Expeditionary Corps. Malinovsky fought in a hotly contested sector of the front near Fort Brion and was promoted to sergeant, he suffered a serious wound in his left arm, received a decoration from the French government. After the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the French government disbanded some Russian units, but others were transferred to a newly created unit called the Russian Legion, attached to the Moroccan Division. Malinovsky fought against the Germans until the end of the war. During this time, he was awarded the French Croix de guerre and promoted to senior NCO, he returned to Odessa in 1919, where he joined the Red Army in the Civil War against the White Army and fought with distinction in Siberia.
He remained in the army after the end of the conflict, studying in the training school for the junior commanders, rose to commander of a rifle battalion. In 1926, he became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, membership of, a prerequisite for promotion in the military. In 1927, Malinovsky was sent to study at the elite Frunze Military Academy, he graduated in 1930, during the next seven years he rose to the Chief of Staff of the 3rd Cavalry Corps, where his commander was Semyon Timoshenko. After the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Malinovsky volunteered to fight for the Republicans against the right-wing nationalists of General Francisco Franco and their Italian and German allies, he participated in directing several main operations. In 1938, he returned to Moscow, being awarded the top Soviet decorations, the Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner, in recognition of his service in Spain. In the spring of 1941, who served the People's Commissar for Defence, was alarmed by the massive German military buildup on the Soviet borders, as the Wehrmacht was secretly preparing for Operation Barbarossa.
In order to strengthen the Red Army field command, he dispatched some of the top officers from the military academies to the field units. Malinovsky was promoted to General-Major, took command over the freshly raised 48th Rifle Corps, 9th Army in the Odessa Military District. A week prior to the start of the war, Malinovsky deployed his corps close to the Romanian border. After Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, with the Red Army suffering enormous defeats and losing hundreds of thousands of troops in German encirclements, Malinovsky emerged a competent general, his corps of three formed rifle divisions faced German Blitzkrieg along the line of the Prut River. While, as a rule, Red Army generals would lead their forces from behind the frontline, Malinovsky went to the crucial sectors of the battles to be with his soldiers and encourage them. Unable to stop the Wehrmacht, Malinovsky had to retreat along the Black Sea shore, while frustrating enemy attempts to encircle his troops; the Germans succeeded in cornering his corps in Mykolaiv, but Malinovsky breached their ring and retreated to Dnipropetrovsk.
In August, he was promoted to Chief of Staff of the badly battered 6th Army, soon replaced its commander. He was promoted to General-Leytenant. After the retreat of the Red Army to the Donbass, Malinovsky commanded a joint operation of the 6th and 12th armies, managing to drive the Wehrmacht out of the region. In December 1941, Malinovsky received command of the Southern Front, consisting of three weak field armies and two division-sized cavalry corps, they were short of manpower and equipment, but Malinovsky managed to push deep into the defenses of the Germans, after 6 months of fighting, were suffering from fatigue and shortages as well. On 12 May 1942, Malinovsky and the Southwestern Front, under the overall command of Timoshenko, launched a joint attack in the Second Battle of Kharkov pushing the Germans back 100 kilometres. Timoshenko suffered a heavy defeat. Although Stalin, in spite of opposition by his top military advisers, supported the ill-fated Kharkov offense, he became suspicious that Malinovsky had intentionally failed his
Konstantin Konstantinovich Rokossovsky was a Soviet and Polish officer who became Marshal of the Soviet Union, Marshal of Poland, served as Poland's Defence Minister from 1949 until his removal in 1956 during the Polish October. He was among the most prominent Red Army commanders of World War II renowned for his planning and executing of Operation Bagration, one of the most decisive Red Army successes of the war. Rokossovsky was born in Warsaw part of Congress Poland under Russian rule, his family had moved to Warsaw following the appointment of his father as the inspector of the Warsaw Railways. The Rokossovsky family were members of the Polish nobility, over generations had produced many cavalry officers. However, Konstantin's father, Ksawery Wojciech Rokossowski, was a railway official in the Russian Empire and his Belarusian mother Antonina Ovsyannikova was a teacher. Orphaned at 14, Rokossovsky earned a living by working in a stocking factory. In 1911, he became an apprentice stonemason.
Much in his life, the government of People's Republic of Poland used this fact for propaganda, claiming that Rokossovsky had helped to build Warsaw's Poniatowski Bridge. Rokossovsky's patronymic Ksaverovich was Russified on his enlistment into the Russian Army at the start of the First World War to Konstantinovich, which would be easier to pronounce in the 5th Kargopol Dragoon Regiment where he volunteered to serve. On joining the Kargopolsky 5th Dragoon Regiment, Rokossovsky soon showed himself a talented soldier and leader, he was awarded the Cross of St George. In 1917, he joined the Bolshevik Party and soon thereafter, entered the ranks of the Red Army. During the Russian Civil War he commanded a cavalry squadron of the Kargopolsky Red Guards Cavalry Detachment in the campaigns against the White Guard armies of Aleksandr Kolchak in the Urals where, in November 1919, he was wounded in the shoulder by an opposing officer whom he killed when his cavalry overran an enemy headquarters. Rokossovsky received Soviet Russia's highest military decoration at the time, the Order of the Red Banner.
In 1921 he commanded the 35th Independent Cavalry Regiment stationed in Irkutsk and played an important role in bringing Damdin Sükhbaatar, the founder of the Mongolian People's Republic to power. Famed "White Russian" general and mystic Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, who believed he was the reincarnation of Genghis Khan, had driven the Chinese occupying forces out of Mongolia in 1920 and set himself up as dictator in Outer Mongolia; the next summer, when Ungern-Sternberg moved to capture the border town of Troitskosavsk threatening to move north and cut off the Soviet far east from the rest of the Soviet Union, Rokossovsky moved south from Irkutsk and met with the Sükhbaatar Mongol forces, defeating Urgern-Sternberg's army, which retreated in disarray after a two-day engagement. Rokossovsky was again wounded, this time in the leg; the combined Mongol and Soviet forces soon thereafter captured Ulaanbaatar. It was in Mongolia that he met his wife Julia Barminan, a high school teacher, fluent in four languages and who had studied Greek mythology, whom he married in 1923.
Their daughter Ariadna was born in 1925. In 1924 and 1925 he attended the Leningrad Higher Cavalry School, he returned to Mongolia. Soon after, while serving in the Special Red Banner Eastern Army under Vasily Blücher, he took part in the Russo-Chinese Eastern Railroad War of 1929–1930 when the Soviet Union intervened to return the Chinese Eastern Railway to joint Chinese and Soviet administration, after Chinese warlord Zhang Xueliang of the Republic of China attempted to seize complete control of the railway, it was in the early 1930s that Rokossovsky's military career first became intertwined with Semyon Timoshenko and Georgy Zhukov, when Rokossovsky was the commander of the 7th Samara Cavalry Division, Zhukov as a brigade commander under him and Timoshenko his superior Corps commander. Both became principal actors in his life during World War II, where he served directly under both at different times. A sense of the nature of the beginning of Rokossovsky's famous World War II rivalry with Zhukov can be gathered from reading Rokossovsky's comments in an official report on Zhukov's character: Has a strong will.
Decisive and firm. Demonstrates initiative and skillfully applies it. Disciplined. Demanding and persistent in his demands. A somewhat ungracious and not sufficiently sympathetic person. Rather stubborn. Painfully proud. In professional terms well trained. Broadly experienced as a military leader... Cannot be used in staff or teaching jobs because constitutionally he hates them. Rokossovsky was among the first to realize the potential of armoured assault, he was an early supporter of the creation of a strong armoured corps for the Red Army, as championed by Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky in his theory of "deep operations". Rokossovsky held senior commands until August 1937 when he became caught up in Joseph Stalin's Great Purge and accused of being a spy, his association with the cutting edge methods of Marshal Tukhachevsky may have been the cause of his conflict with more traditional officers such as Semyon Budenny, who still favoured cavalry tactics over Tukhachevsky's mass armour theories, but few historians believe that the purge of the Red Army was a dispute over policy, most attribute the purges to political and military rivalries as well.
Some officers were mer
Victory Day (9 May)
Victory Day is a holiday that commemorates the surrender of Nazis in 1945. It was first inaugurated in the 15 republics of the Soviet Union, following the signing of the German Instrument of Surrender late in the evening on 8 May 1945; the Soviet government announced the victory early on 9 May after the signing ceremony in Berlin. Though the official inauguration occurred in 1945 the holiday became a non-labour day only in 1965 and only in certain Soviet republics. In East Germany, 8 May was observed as Liberation Day from 1950 to 1966, was celebrated again on the 40th anniversary in 1985. In 1975, a Soviet-style "Victory Day" was celebrated on 9 May. Since 2002, the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has observed a commemoration day known as the Day of Liberation from National Socialism, the End of the Second World War; the German Instrument of Surrender was signed twice. It was signed in Reims on 7 May 1945 by Alfred Jodl for Germany, Walter Bedell Smith, on behalf of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, Ivan Susloparov, on behalf of the Soviet High Command, in the presence of French Major-General François Sevez as the official witness.
Since the Soviet High Command was not informed about the surrender, because Susloparov, a low-ranking officer, was not authorized to sign this document, the USSR requested that a second instrument of surrender be signed in Berlin. Joseph Stalin declared that the Soviet Union considered the Reims surrender a preliminary document, Eisenhower agreed with that. Another argument was that some German troops considered the Reims instrument of surrender as a surrender to the Western Allies only, fighting continued in the East in Prague. Today, in Reims, Germans signed the preliminary act on an unconditional surrender; the main contribution, was done by Soviet people and not by the Allies, therefore the capitulation must be signed in front of the Supreme Command of all countries of the anti-Hitler coalition, not only in front of the Supreme Command of Allied Forces. Moreover, I disagree that the surrender was not signed in Berlin, the center of Nazi aggression. We agreed with the Allies to consider the Reims protocol as preliminary.
A second surrender ceremony was organized in a surviving manor in the outskirts of Berlin late on 8 May, when it was 9 May in Moscow due to the difference in time zones. Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, chief of OKW, signed a final German Instrument of Surrender, signed by Marshal Georgy Zhukov, on behalf of the Supreme High Command of the Red Army, Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder, on behalf of the Allied Expeditionary Force, in the presence of General Carl Spaatz and General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, as witnesses; the surrender was signed in the Soviet Army headquarters in Berlin-Karlshorst. Both English and Russian versions of the instrument of surrender signed in Berlin were considered authentic texts; the text of the instrument of surrender explicitly stipulated complete disarmament of all German military forces and handing over all weapons. Both the Reims and Berlin instruments of surrender stipulated that forces under German control to cease active operations at 23:01 hours CET on 8 May 1945.
However, due to the difference in Central European and Moscow time zones, the end of war is celebrated on 9 May in the USSR and most post-Soviet countries. To commemorate the victory in the war, the ceremonial Moscow Victory Parade was held in the Soviet capital on 24 June 1945. During the Soviet Union's existence, 9 May was celebrated throughout the USSR and in the countries of the Eastern Bloc. Though the holiday was introduced in many Soviet republics between 1946 and 1950, it only became a non-labour day in the Ukrainian SSR in 1963 and the Russian SFSR in 1965. In the Russian SFSR a weekday off was given if 9 May fell on a Sunday; the celebration of Victory Day continued during subsequent years. The war became a topic of great importance in cinema, history lessons at school, the mass media, the arts; the ritual of the celebration obtained a distinctive character with a number of similar elements: ceremonial meetings, lectures and fireworks. In Russia during the 1990s, the 9 May holiday was not celebrated with large Soviet-style mass demonstrations due to the policies of successive Russian governments.
Following Vladimir Putin's rise to power, the Russian government began promoting the prestige of the governing regime and history, national holidays and commemorations became a source of national self-esteem. Victory Day in Russia has become a celebration in which popular culture plays a central role; the 60th and 70th anniversaries of Victory Day in Russia became the largest popular holidays since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 2015 around 30 leaders, including those of China and India, attended the 2015 celebration, while Western leaders boycotted the ceremonies because of the Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Armenia has recognized 9 May since its independence in 1991; the holiday was celebrated there while the country was part of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan has recognized 9 May since its independence in 1991; the holiday was celebrated there while the country was part of the Soviet Union. A wreath laying ceremony is held at the monument to Hazi Aslanov. Belarus has recognized 9 May since its independence in 1991 and considers it a non-working day.
The holiday was celebrated there while the country was part of the Soviet Union. Belarus has had 2 Victory Day Parades on Masherov Avenue (1995, 2005, 2010, an
Kirill Afanasievich Meretskov was a Soviet military commander. Having joined the Communist Party in 1917, he served in the Red Army from 1920. During the Winter War, he was responsible for penetrating the Mannerheim Line as commander of the 7th Army, he was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union shortly afterwards. Meretskov was released two months later, he returned to command the 7th Army and the Volkhov Front during the Siege of Leningrad. He commanded the Karelian Front from February 1944, notably the Petsamo–Kirkenes Offensive. From April 1945, he was assigned to the Far East, where he commanded a front during the Soviet invasion of Japanese Manchuria. During the war he reached the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union. Meretskov was born at Nazaryevo in southeast of Moscow, his parents lived in a rural village. He was a factory worker from 1909, first in Moscow near Vladimir, he joined the Bolsheviks in August 1917, became chief of staff of Red Guard militia that helped to organise in the town.
During the Russian Civil War, he was chief of staff of a regiment, a division. In 1921, he graduated from the Military Academy. From 1922, he held a number of commands as chief of staff, first in a cavalry division in various armies and military districts. From September 1936 to May 1937, Meretskov fought for the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War under a pseudonym of "General Pavlovich". In 1939, he was appointed commander of the Leningrad Military District. In November 1939, at the start of the Winter War, Commander of the Leningrad Military District Kirill Meretskov ran the overall operation against the Finns. However, gross underestimations of the Finnish defenses, the size of their forces and the corresponding overestimations of the capacity of the Red Army, led to serious planning flaws. Only five rifle divisions were sent to assault the Mannerheim Line and piecemeal commitment of reinforcements did not achieve any effect. Meretskov failed and the command was passed on 9 December 1939 to the General Staff Supreme Command, directly under Kliment Voroshilov, Nikolai Kuznetsov, Joseph Stalin and Boris Shaposhnikov.
Meretskov was appointed to command of the 7th Army. In January 1940, the Leningrad Military District was reformed and renamed "North-Western Front." Semyon Timoshenko was chosen Army Commander to break the Mannerheim Line. This Soviet offensive was checked by the Finnish Army in the Battle of Taipale. For the next offensive, the Stavka reinforced the 7th Army, deployed the 13th Army on its flank and assigned substantial heavy artillery to both armies, including B-4 howitzers and Br-5 mortars; the next Soviet offensive began in February 1940. The heavy artillery support allowed the Soviet forces to breach the Mannerheim Line. Meretskov's 7th Army proceeded to take Viborg. Less than two weeks after the signing of the Moscow Peace Treaty, on March 21, 1940, Meretskov was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Afterwards, Meretskov was made Deputy Commissar of Defense. From August 1940 to January 1941, he was Chief of the General Staff, he was dismissed on 14 January 1941, on 24 January, Stalin spotted him at the Bolshoi and, in front of witnesses: "You are courageous, but without principles, spineless.
You want to be nice, but you should have a plan instead and adhere to it despite the fact that someone or other is going to be resentful." On June 22, 1941, when Operation Barbarossa started, Meretskov was appointed permanent adviser to Stavka. However, on July 23 he was arrested by the NKVD as a member of an alleged anti-Soviet military conspiracy; the exact reasons are unknown, the case file was destroyed in 1955. Meretskov's close friendship with General Dmitry Pavlov, the Soviet Commander of the Western Front, executed, is considered a factor, although Pavlov, at the time, was yet to be relieved of duty, much less arrested. Mark Solonin, in his book June the 25th: Stupidity or Aggression, proposes a theory that the actual reason might have been Meretskov's skepticism about the need to start bombardments of Finland, his release was due to him turning out to have been right, although he admits that direct evidence is unlikely to be found. After being subjected to two months of torture, including being beaten with rubber rods, in Lubyanka Prison, Meretskov relented and signed a written confession.
According to Nikita Khrushchev, "before his arrest, Meretskov had been a strapping young general strong and impressive-looking. After his release, he was a shadow of his former self, he had lost so much weight he could hardly speak." Released in September, he was taken before the police chief, Vsevolod Merkulov, whom he had known socially: he told Merkulov that their friendship was over. He was presented to Stalin, in full army dress, given command of the 7th Separate Army, his confession was used against other commanders arrested in May–July 1941, who were executed on the order of Lavrenty Beria near Kuybyshev on October 28, 1941, or sentenced by the Special Council of the NKVD and executed on February 23, 1942. Meretskov was appointed Commander of the 4th Army which fought in the defense of Leningrad against the Army Group North of von Leeb. After stopping the German Tikhvin offensive, his forces, together with the neighboring 52nd and 54th Armies and pushed the German forces back to their starting positions, recapturing Tik
Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov was a Soviet Red Army General who became Chief of General Staff, Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Minister of Defence and a member of the Politburo. During World War II he participated in multiple battles commanding the 1st Belorussian Front in the Battle of Berlin, which resulted in the defeat of Nazi Germany, the end of the War in Europe. In recognition of Zhukov's role in World War II, he was chosen to accept the German Instrument of Surrender and to inspect the Moscow Victory Parade of 1945. Born into a poverty-stricken peasant family in Strelkovka, Maloyaroslavsky Uyezd, Kaluga Governorate, Zhukov became an apprentice furrier in Moscow. In 1915 the Army of the Russian Empire conscripted him. During World War I, Zhukov was awarded the Cross of St. George twice, promoted to the rank of non-commissioned officer for his bravery in battle, he joined the Bolshevik Party after the 1917 October Revolution. After recovering from a serious case of typhus he fought in the Russian Civil War over the period 1918 to 1921, serving with the 1st Cavalry Army, among other formations.
He received the decoration of the Order of the Red Banner for his part in subduing the Tambov Rebellion in 1921. At the end of May 1923, Zhukov became a commander of the 39th Cavalry Regiment. In 1924, he entered the Higher School of Cavalry, from which he graduated the next year, returning afterward to command the same regiment. In May 1930, Zhukov became commander of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade of the 7th Cavalry Division. In February 1931, he was appointed the Assistant Inspector of Cavalry of the Red Army. In May 1933, Zhukov was appointed a commander in the 4th Cavalry Division. In 1937, he became a commander of the 3rd Cavalry Corps of the 6th Cavalry Corps. In 1938, he became a deputy commander of the Belorussian Military District for cavalry. In 1938, Zhukov was directed to command the First Soviet Mongolian Army Group, saw action against Japan's Kwantung Army on the border between Mongolia and the Japanese-controlled state of Manchukuo; this campaign was an undeclared war that lasted from 1938 to 1939.
What began as a border skirmish escalated into a full-scale war, with the Japanese pushing forward with an estimated 80,000 troops, 180 tanks and 450 aircraft. These events led to the strategically decisive Battle of Khalkhin Gol. Zhukov requested major reinforcements, on 20 August 1939, his "Soviet Offensive" commenced. After a massive artillery barrage, nearly 500 BT-5 and BT-7 tanks advanced, supported by over 500 fighters and bombers; this was the Soviet Air Force's first fighter-bomber operation. The offensive first appeared to be a typical conventional frontal attack. However, two tank brigades were held back and ordered to advance around on both flanks, supported by motorized artillery and other tanks; this daring and successful manoeuvre encircled the Japanese 6th Army and captured the enemy's vulnerable rear supply areas. By 31 August 1939, the Japanese had been cleared from the disputed border, leaving the Soviets victorious; this campaign had significance beyond local outcome. Zhukov demonstrated and tested the techniques used against the Germans in the Eastern Front of the Second World War.
These innovations included the deployment of underwater bridges and improving the cohesion and battle-effectiveness of inexperienced units by adding a few experienced, battle-hardened troops to bolster morale and overall training. Evaluation of the problems inherent in the performance of the BT tanks led to the replacement of their fire-prone petrol engines with diesel engines, provided valuable practical knowledge, essential to the success in development of the T-34 medium tank used in World War II. After this campaign, Nomonhan veterans were transferred to units that had not seen action, to better spread the benefits of their battle experience. For his victory, Zhukov was declared a Hero of the Soviet Union. However, the campaign – and Zhukov's pioneering use of tanks – remained little known outside of the Soviet Union itself. Zhukov considered Nomonhan invaluable preparation for conducting operations during the Second World War. In 1940 Zhukov became an Army General. In autumn 1940, G. K. Zhukov started preparing the plans for the military exercise concerning the defence of the Western border of the Soviet Union, which at this time was pushed further to the west due to the annexation of Eastern Poland.
In his memoirs Zhukov reports that in this exercise he commanded the "Western" or "Blue" forces and his opponent was Colonel General D. G. Pavlov, the commander of the "Eastern" or "Red" forces, he noted. Zhukov in his memoirs describes the events of exercise as similar to actual events during the German invasion; as historian Bobylev reports in his article in "Military History Journal", the actual details of the exercises were reported differently in different memoirs of their participants. He reported that there were two exercises, one on 2–6 January 1941, another on 8–11 January 1941. In the first one "Western" forces attacked "Eastern" forces on 15 July, but "Eastern" forces counterattacked and by 1 August reached the original border. At that time, "Eastern" forces had a numerical advantage (for example, 51