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Ataman Pyotr Krasnov

Pyotr Nikolayevich Krasnov (Петр Николаевич Краснов in Russian) (September 22 (10 old style), 1869 — January 17, 1947), sometimes referred to in English as Peter Krasnov, was Lieutenant General of the Russian army when the revolution broke out in 1917, and one of the leaders of the counterrevolutionary White movement afterwards.


Russian Army and White movement

Pyotr Krasnov was born in 1869 in Saint Petersburg, son to lieutenant-general Nikolay Krasnov and grandson to general Ivan Krasnov. In 1888, Krasnov graduated from Pavlovsk Military School and later served in the Ataman regiment of the Life Guards. During World War I, he commanded a Cossack brigade and a division, in August-October 1917, of the 3rd Cavalry Corps. During the October Revolution, Kerensky appointed Krasnov commander of the army, which was sent to Petrograd from the front to suppress the Bolshevik revolution (see Kerensky-Krasnov uprising). However, Krasnov was defeated and taken prisoner. The Soviet authorities made him promise [[:Template:Dmitri Volkogonov, Trotski, p. 98]] that he would not continue his struggle against the revolution and set him free.

Krasnov fled to the Don region and in May 1918, in Novocherkassk, was elected Ataman of the Don Cossack Host. With support from Germany, he equipped the army, which would oust the Soviets from the Don region in May-June 1918. In the second half of 1918, Krasnov advanced towards Povorino-Kamyshin-Tsaritsyn, intending to march on Moscow, but was defeated. After Germany's defeat in World War I, he set his sights on Entente in his search for allies. In January 1919, Krasnov was forced to acknowledge General Denikin's authority over the White movement, despite animosity towards him.

Exile in Germany

On February 19, 1919, Krasnov retired from the military and went to Germany due to his frictions with the command of the Volunteer Army. In Germany, he continued his anti-Soviet activities. Krasnov was one of the founders of the Brotherhood of Russian Truth, an anti-communist organization with an underground network in Russia. He had also written memoirs and several novels, including his famous trilogy From the Double Headed Eagle to the Red Standard.

During World War II, Krasnov continued his "German orientation" by seeking an alliance with Nazi Germany in overthrowing the Soviet regime. He agreed to organize and head Cossack units out of White emigres and Soviet (mostly Cossack) prisoners of war, to be armed by the Nazis. The Nazis, in turn, expected Krasnov to follow their political line and keep to a separatist Cossack orientation. In November 1944, Krasnov refused the appeal of General Andrei Vlasov to join the latter's Russian Liberation Army. At the end of the war, Krasnov and his men voluntarily surrendered to British forces in Austria. All of them were promised upon surrender by Major Davis that they, as White Russian emigres, would not be repatriated to the Soviets.

Repatriation and death

On May 28, 1945, Pyotr Krasnov was handed over to the Soviets by the British authorities in Operation Keelhaul. He was sentenced to death by the Military Council of the Supreme Court of the USSR, as was General Andrei Shkuro, another well known White Russian officer. On January 17, 1947, he and Shkuro were executed by hanging.


On January 17, 2008, Victor Vodolatsky, Ataman of Don Cossacks and a deputy of the United Russia party in the Russian Duma signed a controversial decree regarding creation of a workgroup for rehabilitation of Pyotr Krasnov.

Miguel Krasnoff, a Chilean general and military criminal, is Pyotr Krasnov's nephew.

See also




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