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Sydir Kovpak
June 7, 1887 - December 11, 1967 (aged 80)
Sydir Kovpak
Place of birth Poltava, Ukraine, Russian Empire
Place of death Kiev, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Allegiance Russia Russian Empire
 Soviet Union
Years of service 1914 – 1925
1941 – 1945
Rank Major-General
Commands held Putyvl partisans and allied partisan units
1st Ukrainian Partisan Division
Battles/wars World War I

World War II

Awards Hero of the Soviet Union (2)
Cross of St. George (2)
Order of Lenin (4)
Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky 1st Class
Order of Suvorov 2nd Class
Order of the Red Banner
Other work various top positions in government of Soviet Ukraine
Kovpak in action

Sydir Artemovych Kovpak (Ukrainian: Сидір Артемович Ковпак; Russian: Си́дор Арте́мьевич Ковпа́к, Sidor Artеmуevich Kovpak), June 7, 1887 – December 11, 1967) was a prominent Soviet partisan leader in Ukraine.



Kovpak was born to a poor peasant family in Ukrainian village near Poltava (then of the Russian Empire). For his military service in the World War I he was awarded two Crosses of St. George personally by the Emperor Nicholas II of Russia (an award for special military heroism). After the Russian Revolution he joined the All-Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) and fought for the Red Army partisan units against the German forces, as well as against Denikin's White Army in a legendary Vasily Chapayev's cavalry division. In the interwar period he was a head of the local government in the town of Putyvl, Sumy Oblast (province).


World War II

At the time of the German invasion of Soviet Ukraine partisan units led by Sydir Kovpak waged guerrilla warfare against Axis forces originally in partisan strongholds in Sumy and Bryansk regions but later its operation spread deep into German occupied territory including Kiev, Zhytomyr, Rivne, Homyel, Volyn and other regions. These partisan units also fought against the Ukrainian nationalist Ukrainian Insurgent Army. In 1944 partisans under Kovpak leadership raided enemy forces throughout western Ukraine and Belarus and even reached Romanian border regions during the famous Carpathian raid inflicting heavy casualties on the Germans.

Kovpak mastered guerrilla tactics and became a living legend in the Soviet Union. In the summer of 1943 Germans managed to hunt down and kill Kovpak's second in command Semyon Rudnev who was replaced by a new right-hand man Petro Vershigora who would later became a writer and dedicate his books to Kovpak's legendary underground resistance.

Sydir Kovpak was awarded Hero of the Soviet Union title twice and in 1943 was promoted to the rank of Major General. According to the memoirs of his lieutenant Vershigora, his promotion and General's stars were airdropped to his partisan unit's position deep behind Nazi lines. After the end of the Great Patriotic War Sydir Kovpak held key positions in the leadership of Soviet Ukraine.


Kovpak was portrayed (by Konstantin Stepankov) in Soviet film trilogy Duma o Kovpake (Дума о Ковпаке, Poem of Kovpak):

  • Duma o Kovpake: Nabat (Дума о Ковпаке: Набат, Poem of Kovpak: Alarm), 1973 – how initially small partisan unit of twelve people grew into large force under Kovpak an Rudnev. [1]
  • Duma o Kovpake: Buran (Дума о Ковпаке: Буран, Poem of Kovpak: Storm), 1975 – about actions in enemy rear in 1941–1942. [2]
  • Duma o Kovpake: Karpaty, Karpaty... (Дума о Ковпаке: Карпаты, Карпаты..., Poem of Kovpak: Carpathians, Carpathians...), 1976 – about the 1943 raid into the Carpathians. [3]

See also


External links

Hero of the Soviet Union medal.png  Sydir Kovpak at the "Герои страны" ("Heroes of the Country") website (Russian)


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