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Nikolai Nikolaevich Yudenich
General Nikolai Yudenich
Allegiance  Russian Empire
Service/branch Russian Imperial Army
Rank General
Battles/wars World War I

Nikolai Nikolaevich Yudenich (Russian: Николай Николаевич Юденич) (July 18 ,1862 (July 30, New Style ) – October 5, 1933), was a commander of the Russian Caucasus Army and one of the most successful generals of the Russian Imperial Army during World War I. He was later a leader of the counterrevolution in Northwestern Russia during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1920.

Yudenich was born in Moscow. He graduated from the Alexandrovsky Military College in 1881 and the General Staff Academy in 1887. Yudenich commanded a regiment during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. He was appointed Chief of Staff of the Kazan 1912 and Caucasus (1913) military districts.


World War One

In the beginning of the World War I Yudenich was appointed Chief of Staff of the Russian Caucasus Army. He won the Battle of Sarikamis against Enver Pasha.

In January 1915 he was appointed commander of the Caucasus Campaign, replacing Count Illarion Ivanovich Vorontsov-Dashkov. Yudenich tried to exploit the Turkish defeat by attacking into Turkish territory, specifically around Lake Van during Van Resistance. While the Russians did capture Van in May 1915, they were forced to withdraw from the city two months later. Ottoman 3rd Army re-occupied Van in August.

At this time, Grand Duke Nicholas, having been removed from command of all of Russia's armies, was put in charge of the Caucasus region. General Yudenich was given a free hand by the Grand Duke and, in September, the Russian retook Van and re-established Administration for Western Armenia in June 1916. Fighting back and forth around this region continued for the next 14 months without a clear victory for either side.

In 1916 Yudenich successfully carried out an offensive, winning the Battle of Erzurum (1916) and Trebizond Campaign. In the summer of that year, his forces fought off a Turkish counter attack culminating in the Battle of Erzincan (despite the presence of Turkish General Mustapha Kemal). The success of the Russian army (limited though it was) in Eastern Anatolia had some influence over the course of the Armenian Genocide.

Following the February Revolution, in 1917 he was appointed commander of the Caucasus Front, but already in May the Russian Provisional Government removed Yudenich from the Caucasus for insubordination. Soon thereafter, he retired from the army.

White Army

The building of barricades in Petrograd during the offensive of General Yudenich

A year after the October Revolution of 1917, Yudenich emigrated to France and then Estonia. In July 1919 he joined the Russian Civil War, as commander of the Northwestern White Army. He also became a member of the counterrevolutionary Northwestern "government", created with the help of Britain.

Yudenich spent the next three months organizing and training his army. Funds for this effort were supplied by the British government. Eventually Yudenich had a fairly well organized army some 20,000 strong. In early October, 1919, Yudenich launched his army against Petrograd.

With the Bolshevik armies actively engaged on several other fronts, fighting Kolchak's forces in Siberia and several Cossack armies in the Ukraine), only small forces stood between Yudenich and Petrograd.

Yudenich's friend from the Imperial Russian Army, Mannerheim, asked the president of Finland, Ståhlberg, to join Yudenich's force and attack Petrograd with the help from the White Finns. Yudenich would recognize Finland's independence and Finland's pro-Triple Entente relationships would be recognized. As Kolchak (who was nominally the leader of the White Armies) would not recognize Finland's independence, Stålhberg denied Mannerheim's request and Yudenich attacked Petrograd alone. On October 19, 1919 his troops reached the edges of the city, the attack failed and by November 1, Yudenich began to retreat.

His forces took refuge in Estonia where they agreed to be disarmed. In 1920 his forces were evacuated by British ships out of Estonia.

Later life

Yudenich went into exile in France. In his remaining 13 years he played no significant role among White Army émigrés.

He died at Saint-Laurent-du-Var, near Nice on the French Riviera, on October 5, 1933.


Biography of Yudenich at First World

See also



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