Brusilov, Alexei Alexeyevich

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(18531926), Russian and Soviet military figure, World War I field commander.

Born in Tiflis (Tbilisi), Alexei Alexeyevich Brusilov entered military service in 1871, graduated from the Corps of Pages in 1872, and completed the Cavalry Officers School in 1883. As a dragoon officer during the Russo-Turkish War of 18771878, he fought with distinction in the Trans-Caucasus. Between 1883 and 1906 he served continuously at the Cavalry School, eventually becoming its commandant. Although he did not attend the General Staff Academy or serve in the Russo-Japanese War (19041905), he rose during the period from 1906 to 1914 to repeated command assignments, including two postings as a corps commander. At the outset of World War I his Eighth Army won important successes during its advance into Galicia and the Carpathians. Between May and July of 1916, Brusilov's Southwestern Front conducted one of the most significant ground offensives of World War I, in which his troops broke through the Austro-Hungarian defenses to occupy broad expanses of Volynia, Galicia, and Bukovina.

As supreme commander (MayJuly 1917) of the Russian armies after the February Revolution, Brusilov presided over the ill-fated summer offensive of 1917. After the October Revolution, unlike many of his colleagues, he refused to join the counterrevolutionary cause. Instead, at the outset of the war with Poland in 1920, he entered the Red Army, serving the new Soviet regime in various military capacities (including inspector general of cavalry) until his death. A consummate cavalryman and a flexible military professional, Brusilov saw his primary career obligation as patriotic service to his country, whether tsarist or revolutionary.

See also: february revolution; october revolution; russo-turkish wars; world war i


Wildman, Allan K. (1980). The End of the Russian Imperial Army. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Bruce W. Menning