Dmitry Pavlov
Dmitry Grigorevich Pavlov was a Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 general who commanded the key Soviet Western Front
Soviet Western Front
The Western Front was a Front of the Red Army, one of the Red Army Fronts during the Second World War. This sense of the term is different from the more general usage of military front which indicates a geographic area in wartime, although a Soviet Front usually operates within designated...

 during the initial days of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, or Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

, in June 1941. After his forces were heavily defeated in the first days of the campaign, he was relieved of his command, arrested, charged with military incompetence and then executed. He was exonerated (or rehabilitated
Rehabilitation (Soviet)
Rehabilitation in the context of the former Soviet Union, and the Post-Soviet states, was the restoration of a person who was criminally prosecuted without due basis, to the state of acquittal...

 in Soviet parlance) in 1956.

Military career

He was a veteran of the First World War, as well as the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

, serving in the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 since 1919. He graduated from the Frunze Military Academy in 1928. He then commanded various mechanised and cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

 units. As one of the Soviet military advisers, in 1936-37 he took part in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 on the Republican side
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

 (using the nom de guerre Pablo) and commanded a brigade of Soviet tanks, for which he was made a Hero of the Soviet Union
Hero of the Soviet Union
The title Hero of the Soviet Union was the highest distinction in the Soviet Union, awarded personally or collectively for heroic feats in service to the Soviet state and society.-Overview:...

. In contrast to many other officers who took part in that war, he was not purge
In history, religion, and political science, a purge is the removal of people who are considered undesirable by those in power from a government, from another organization, or from society as a whole. Purges can be peaceful or violent; many will end with the imprisonment or exile of those purged,...

d after his return to the Soviet Union, and was made the Head of the Directorate of Tank and Armoured Car Troops of the Red Army which gave him considerable influence on its development. In particular he insisted that tanks be shifted to infantry support roles, which in hindsight turned out to be incorrect. He participated in the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

, as well as the border clashes with Japan.

In 1940 he became the commander of the Western (Belorussian) Special Military District, which became the Soviet Western Front bearing the brunt of German attack during Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

 in June, 1941. On February 22, 1941, he was one of the first Soviet generals to receive the new rank of General of the Army, inferior only to the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union was the de facto highest military rank of the Soviet Union. ....



After the units under his command suffered a disastrous defeat in the Battle of Białystok-Minsk, during the first days of the invasion, Pavlov was relieved of his command, arrested and accused of criminal incompetence and treason.

He and his chief of staff Klimovskikh were first accused of:
Pavlov and his deputies were accused of "failure to perform their duties" rather than treason. On July 22, 1941 the same day the sentence was handed down, Pavlov's property was confiscated, and he was deprived of military rank, shot and buried in a landfill
A landfill site , is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and is the oldest form of waste treatment...

 near Moscow by the NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....


Other death penalties went down for other commanders of Western Front including chief of staff of the front major general B. E. Klimovskikh, chief communications front major-general corps AT Grigoriev, chief of artillery of the front lieutenant general of artillery A. Klich, and air force deputy chief of the Western Front (after the suicide of Major General Aviation II Kopec - Chief of the Air Force of the Western Front), Major General Aviation A. I. Tayursky. Commander of the 14th Mechanized Corps, Major-General C. I. Oborin was arrested on July 8 and shot. The commander of the 4th Army Maj. Gen. A. A. Korobkov was dismissed on July 8, arrested the next day and shot on July 22.

After Stalin's death in 1953, Pavlov and other commanders of Western Front were exonerated as lacking evidence in 1956.

External links

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