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comment by ThatFanficGuy
ThatFanficGuy  ·  419 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 27, 2018

Yes. His name is held in high regard, along with the likes of Georgy Zhukov. Mikhail Kutuzov is considered one of the greatest Russian generals, and everyone knows his name.

user-inactivated  ·  419 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I have heard of neither of these two men. Granted, I'm not Russian, so there's that. It'd be great to hear you say more about them though.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  417 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm a little surprised you haven't heard of Zhukov. He's the Soviet General-to-beat-all-Generals. Many of the Soviet generals did a great job during WWII, but Zhukov seem to have stood above the rest.

I don't know much myself, but I'll tell you what I know. I reckon you can about the men on Wikipedia if you want facts, so I'll condense my miniscule expertise to make it interesting.

Kutuzov was one of the great Empire Generals during the Russian portion of Napoleonic Wars, dubbed here the Patriotic War. Some contend that he was the best. He was granted the title of Duke of Smolensk, which is a little funny 'cause Smolensk was on the way to Moscow for both Napoleon Bonapart and Adolf Hitler and was destroyed during both wars. He effectively lost an eye in one of the battles at Crimea: the bullet broke through his right temple and scarred the eye.

Kutuzov was also considered a great diplomat and took part in many of the era's important negotiations. He made the Crimean khan submit to Russia and effectively give away the peninsula. There's still a large population of Crimean tatars there, and they're slowly growing resentful of the country running the place because they aren't recognized, as well as treated with little respect as a people. Kutuzov had also done a lot of negotiations with Prussia, which was an important relationship with Russia at the time.

Kutuzov served under three of the Russian emperors - Catherine II, Paul I and Alexander I. If memory serves, he was loved by Catherine, who gave him the Duke's title. His military career started early, and he showed his commanding prowess quickly, rising to an officer position in three years.

He took part in three of the Russian-Turkish wars before taking part in the Patriotic War. He led the famous Battle at Borodino, near Moscow, in what's described as the biggest battle to its date. He also made the decision to let Napoleon into Moscow, but also burn it to the ground, so the French emperor would have nothing to celebrate at (most buildings in Moscow were made of wood at the time). Starved for supplies and suffering attrition in the inhospitable Russian lands, the French forces were then driven back and crushed by the Russian army led by Kutuzov.

His victory title at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, granted by Alexander I, was His Serene Highness Knyaz Golenischev-Kutuzov-Smolensky (Golenischev-Kutuzov is his born surname, while Smolensky is the addition due to the title of the Duke of the city; knyaz is a Russian royal title that, I believe, is roughly equivalent to the European title of Duke).

Zhukov was a Soviet General that is most known for his cotribution to the Allies' victory over the Nazi Germany. He was the Soviet Minister of Defence for two years, before being ousted behind Zhukov's back in a political power play.

At the start of the Soviet portion of the WWII, dubbed the Great Patriotic War, Zhukov oversaw the defence of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg). His front then joined with a different one and he, along with Kliment Voroshilov - another great Soviet General of the WWII era - oversaw the defence of Moscow, as well as planned the Stalingrad (now Volgograd, where this great statue now stands) counteroffensive.

One of his major WWII achievements was coordinating the Battle of Kursk, a great battle in that in forced Germans, relying before on the Blitzkrieg (German for swift war) doctrine, to halt their advance as well as launch a counteroffensive that would tip the strategic favor in the Soviets' favor on the Eastern front. There are claims - by Konstantin Rokossovsky, the other of the two Marshals of the Soviet Army, no less (the first one being Zhukov) - that Zhukov had actually arrived just before the battle and made no decisions on the matter.

Zhukov basically won Ukraine and Belarussia over from Germans with his command of the local respective armies. From there, he and the Red Army marched onto Berlin in a decisive manner. His soldiers' advance was marked by the same atrocities towards civilians that the Nazi army perpetrated on their way to Russia: pillaging, murder and rape.

Zhukov was personally chosen to oversee the German surrender. He was at the table where the German Instrument for Surrender - the legal document for capitulation of Germany - was signed. Photo I (Zhukov is the one signing the document, with the brighter uniform; to his right shoulder is Soviet Foreign Minister Andrey Vyshinksiy, to his left shoulder - General Vasily Sokolovskiy). Photo II (Zhukov et al. - same people around him - await the Germans signing the document). Photo III (Zhukov reads the capitulation act aloud).

Other cool photos:

Dwight Eisenhower, Georgy Zhukov and the Royal Air Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder at Royal Army Field Marshal Bertrand Montgomery's reception of the Soviet Order of Victory.

Field Marshal Bertrand Montgomery, General Dwight Eisenhower, General Georgy Zhukov and Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, a French military commander, posthumously a Marshal.

Allies at the Branderburg Gate, very soon after German capitulation, with Zhukov and the other two Soviet Generals decorated by the Allies).

Zhukov on the cover of LIFE magazine, 1944.

Post-war, Zhukov served in the military and in the political apparatus for a while. In 1946, his apartment was searched, and many German valuables, taken as war trophies illegally, were found. This included gold, furs, gems and even furniture. Zhukov apologized for looting the German lands in a public letter. A highly popular commander and a war hero revered by the public, he was seen as a threat to power in the Stalinist USSR. Beria, a right hand to Stalin, sought to topple Zhukov - unsuccessfully. Stalin was in awe of Zhukov, which also made the paranoid Stalin afraid of the Marshal. Still, somehow, he was saved from the Purge that affected other great Soviet military commanders, including Mikhail Tukhachevsky, after whom there are now streets named in many cities. After Stalin died, Zhukov, demanded political rehabilitation of many of the people suffered from the Purge, including Tukhachevsky.

Ten years after the war, due to the scheming and plotting of the post-Stalin political apparatus, prone to conformism, Zhukov was retired behind his back, while he himself was on a trip to Albania. He was 63.

This next bit from Wikipedia I love:

    In September 1959, while visiting the United States, Khrushchev told US President Eisenhower that the retired Marshal Zhukov "liked fishing" (Zhukov was actually a keen aquarist). Eisenhower, in response, sent Zhukov a set of fishing tackle. Zhukov respected this gift so much that he is said to have exclusively used Eisenhower's fishing tackle for the remainder of his life.

From Wikipedia:

    Fishing tackle is the equipment used by anglers when fishing. Almost any equipment or gear used for fishing can be called fishing tackle. Some examples are hooks, lines, sinkers, floats, rods, reels, baits, lures, spears, nets, gaffs, traps, waders and tackle boxes.

Eisenhower was always a fan of Zhukov's, ever since the two meeting after the victory. He supported his "comrade-in-arms" after Zhukov had "troubles" (see: the looting incident). Zhukov presents the Order of Victory to Eisenhower. Zhukov and Eisenhower at the Moscow Airport, August 11th, 1945. Eisenhower, Zhukov and Montgomery (unseen) toasting the Allied victory.

After suffering a stroke, Zhukov started working hard at his memoir, Reminiscences and Reflections (link to the Russian-language Wikipedia page). He reportedly worked hard at it, which, combined with his heart disease, caused him to suffer a serious stroke. He later died from a second stroke, in 1974, aged 77.

user-inactivated  ·  417 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Wow. That's quite the impressive summary. Did you learn about these two in school or did you study up on them during your free time out of interest? I'm just curious, because here in the states, we're taught a little about generals like Grant, MacArthur, Patton, etc., but they're not covered very heavily. I think it's safe to say you know more about one man than I know about three combined.

I think by far my favorite bit is about Eisenhower sending Zhukov fishing supplies as a gift.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  417 days ago  ·  link  ·  

We learn quite a bit about the war heroes at school. Like kb once said somewhere on Hubski, "Russians still celebrate the V-day" (we do; it's ridiculously pompeous). The cult of arms in the US is focused on the present military might rather than the achievements of the past. Russia doesn't have that strong a military - or anything, for that matter - so we rely on our predecessors' fame to support our national unity.

I didn't want to leave you hanging - you did ask me about something, after all - so after I pulled a bit from my memory, I brushed it up with a Wikipedia read. You could've read a lot of it on your own. But you asked me. So I did my best to relay the information.

I knew much more about Zhukov from a few years ago, when I read a little about him. It may have been for the state exam on History, but he was an interesting figure to me anyway. I've only considered his relationship with Eisenhower significant after the latest read, despite me being an Americophile for a lot longer.