Yudenich, Nikolai Nikolayevich

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(18621933), general in the Imperial Russian Army, hero of World War I, and anti-Bolshevik leader.

Of noble birth, Nikolai Yudenich began his glittering military career upon graduating, with first-class marks, from the General Staff Academy in 1887. He served on the General Staff in Poland and Turkestan until 1902, participated in the Russo-Japanese War (earning a gold sword for bravery), worked as deputy chief of staff from 1907, and became chief of staff of Russian forces in the Caucasus in 1913. During World War I, Yudenich distinguished himself as Russia's most consistently successful general, inflicting numerous defeats upon Turkey, notably at Sarikamish (December 1914) and, in August 1915, repulsing Enver Pasha's invasion in 1915, and in capturing Erzurum, Trebizond, and Erzincan (FebruaryJuly 1916). He consequently figured prominently in Russian wartime propaganda. With the overthrow of the Romanovs in February 1917, Yudenich regained overall command of the Caucasus Front. However, dismayed by the revolution and reluctant to cooperate with the Provisional Government, he was retired from active service in May. He returned to Petrograd and lived underground for a year after the October Revolution, before fleeing to Finland. Thereafter he headed anti-Bolshevik forces in the Baltic region, as commander-in-chief of the Northwest Army. Like other White leaders, Yudenich failed to establish an effective political regime or to attract sufficient support from the Allies, and suffered strained relations with the non-Russian peoples of his base territory. Nevertheless, he masterminded the Whites' advance to the outskirts of Petrograd in the autumn of 1919. However, Trotsky pushed his forces back into Estonia, where they were interned before being disbanded in 1920. Yudenich was briefly arrested by the Estonian government, but was allowed to settle into exile in France. He largely shunned émigré politics until his death, in Saint-Laurent-du-Var.

See also: civil war of 19171922; white army; world war i


Mawdsley, Evan. (2000). The Russian Civil War. Edinburgh: Birlinn.

Jonathan D. Smele

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Nikolai Nikolayevich Yudenich

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