Last updated

The Stavka (Russian : Ставка) was the high command of the armed forces in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. In Imperial Russia Stavka refers to the administrative staff, and to the General Headquarters in the late 19th Century Imperial Russian armed forces and subsequently in the Soviet Union. In Western literature it is sometimes written in uppercase (STAVKA), which is incorrect since it is not an acronym. Stavka may refer to its members, as well as to the headquarter location (its original meaning from the old Russian word ставка, 'tent').

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

Russian Empire Former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.


Stavka of the Commander-in-chief during World War I

Alexandra Fyodorovna, Tsarevitch Alexei and Nicholas II arriving at the Stavka Bulla TsarFamilyinStavka.jpg
Alexandra Fyodorovna, Tsarevitch Alexei and Nicholas II arriving at the Stavka

The commander-in-chief of the Russian army at the beginning of World War I was Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholaievitch, a grandson of Tsar Nicholas I. Appointed at the last minute in August 1914, he played no part in formulating the military plans in use at the beginning of the war. Nikolai Yanushkevich was his chief of staff. In the summer of 1915 the Tsar himself took personal command, with Mikhail Alekseyev as his chief of staff. In the years 1915–1917 Stavka was based in Mogilev and the Tsar, Nicholas II, spent long periods there as Commander-in-Chief.

The military history of the Russian Empire encompasses the history of armed conflict in which the Russian Empire participated. This history stretches from its creation in 1721 by Peter the Great, until the Russian Revolution (1917), which led to the establishment of the Soviet Union. Much of the related events involve the Imperial Russian Army, Imperial Russian Navy, and from the early twentieth century, the Imperial Russian Air Service.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Tsar title given to a male monarch in Russia, Bulgaria and Serbia

Tsar, also spelled czar, or tzar, is a title used to designate East and South Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers of Eastern Europe, originally Bulgarian monarchs from 10th century onwards. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism. The term is derived from the Latin word Caesar, which was intended to mean "Emperor" in the European medieval sense of the term—a ruler with the same rank as a Roman emperor, holding it by the approval of another emperor or a supreme ecclesiastical official —but was usually considered by western Europeans to be equivalent to king, or to be somewhat in between a royal and imperial rank.

The Stavka was divided into several departments:

The Stavka was first established in Baranovichi. In August 1915, after the German advance, the Stavka re-located to Mogilev.

Mogilev Place

Mogilev is a city in eastern Belarus, about 76 kilometres from the border with Russia's Smolensk Oblast and 105 km from the border with Russia's Bryansk Oblast. As of 2011, its population was 360,918, up from an estimated 106,000 in 1956. It is the administrative centre of Mogilev Region and the third largest city in Belarus.

Chiefs of staff

Nikolai Yanushkevich Nikolai Yanushkevich.jpg
Nikolai Yanushkevich
Nikolai Yanushkevich Russian general

Nikolai Nikolaevich Yanushkevich 13 May [O.S. 1 May] 1868 – 1918) was a Russian General who served as Chief of Staff of the General Headquarters (Stavka) of the Imperial Russian Army from August 1914 to September 1915.

Mikhail Alekseyev russian general of infantery

Mikhail Vasilyevich Alekseyev was an Imperial Russian Army general during World War I and the Russian Civil War. Between 1915 and 1917 he served as Tsar Nicholas II's Chief of Staff of the Stavka, and after the February Revolution, was its commander-in-chief under the Russian Provisional Government from March to May 1917. He later played a principal role in founding the Volunteer Army in the Russian Civil War and died in 1918 of heart failure while fighting the Bolsheviks in the Volga region.

Vasily Gurko Russian general

Vasily Iosifovich Romeyko-Gurko served for a brief period as a Chief-of-Staff of the Imperial Russian Army before being forced out of the country in exile following the October Revolution of 1917.

Stavka of the RKKA during World War II

The Stavka of the Soviet Armed Forces during World War II, or the headquarters of the "Main Command of the Armed Forces of the USSR" (Stavka Glavnogo Komandovaniya) (Russian: Ставка Главного Командования Вооруженных Сил Союза ССР), was established on 23 June 1941 by a top-secret decree signed by Joseph Stalin in his capacities both as the head of government and as the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. According to this decree Stavka was composed of the defence minister Marshal Semyon Timoshenko (as its president), the head of General Staff Georgy Zhukov, Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, Marshal Kliment Voroshilov, Marshal Semyon Budyonny and the People's Commissar (Narkom) of the Navy Admiral Nikolai Gerasimovich Kuznetsov.

Red Army 1917–1946 ground and air warfare branch of the Soviet Unions military

The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991. The former official name Red Army continued to be used as a nickname by both sides throughout the Cold War.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Joseph Stalin Soviet leader

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet politician who led the Soviet Union from the mid–1920s until 1953 as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1953) and Premier (1941–1953). Initially presiding over a collective leadership as first among equals, by the 1930s he was the country's de facto dictator. A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin helped to formalise these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, while his own policies became known as Stalinism.

The same decree organized at Stavka "the institution of permanent counsellors of Stavka" : Marshal Kulik, Marshal Shaposhnikov, Kirill Meretskov, head of the Air force Zhigarev, Nikolay Vatutin, head of Air Defence Voronov, Mikoyan, Kaganovich, Lavrenty Beria, Voznesensky, Zhdanov, Malenkov, Mekhlis.

Grigory Kulik Marshal of the Soviet Union

Grigory Ivanovich Kulik was a Soviet military commander and Marshal of the Soviet Union.

Boris Shaposhnikov Marshal of the Soviet Union

Boris Mikhaylovich Shaposhnikov was a Soviet military commander, Chief of the Staff of the Red Army, and Marshal of the Soviet Union.

Kirill Meretskov Soviet military commander

Kirill Afanasievich Meretskov was a Soviet military commander. Having joined the Communist Party in 1917, he served in the Red Army from 1920. During the Winter War, he was responsible for penetrating the Mannerheim Line as commander of the 7th Army. He was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union shortly afterwards.

Very soon afterwards, the deputy defence minister of the army, Meretskov, was arrested following false charges made by Beria and Merkulov. Meretskov was subsequently released from jail on the same day, at the end of the first week of September 1941, which was called for by Stalin.[ clarification needed ]

Stavka's Main Command was reorganized into the Stavka of the Supreme Command (Stavka Verkhovnogo Komandovaniya) [1] on 10 July 1941. This action occurred after Stalin was named Supreme Commander, and replaced Timoshenko as head of Stavka. On 8 August 1941 it was again reorganized into Stavka of the Supreme Main Command (Stavka Verkhovnogo Glavnokomandovaniya).

On the same day Strategic Directions commands were instituted.

A 17 February 1945 decree set out the membership of Stavka as Stalin (President), Zhukov, Aleksandr Vasilevsky, Aleksei Antonov, Nikolai Bulganin and Kuznetsov.

See also

Related Research Articles

Georgy Zhukov 20th-century Marshal of the Soviet Union

Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov was a Soviet Red Army General who became Chief of General Staff, Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Minister of Defence and a member of the Politburo. During World War II he participated in multiple battles, ultimately commanding the 1st Belorussian Front in the Battle of Berlin, which resulted in the defeat of Nazi Germany, and the end of the War in Europe.

Semyon Timoshenko Soviet military commander

Semyon Konstantinovich Timoshenko was a Soviet military commander and Marshal of the Soviet Union.

Nikolai Yezhov NKVD director under Josef Stalin

Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov was a Soviet secret police official under Joseph Stalin who was head of the NKVD from 1936 to 1938, during the most active period of the Great Purge.

Marshal of the Soviet Union military rank

Marshal of the Soviet Union was the highest military rank of the Soviet Union.

Ivan Konev Soviet military commander

Ivan Stepanovich Konev was a Soviet military commander who led Red Army forces on the Eastern Front during World War II, retook much of Eastern Europe from occupation by the Axis Powers, and helped in the capture of Germany's capital, Berlin.

Nikolai Iudovich Ivanov Russian general

Nikolai Iudovich Ivanov was a Russian artillery general in the Imperial Russian Army. Famous for his role in the Battle of Galicia during World War 1.

Ministry of Defence (Russia) Russian government ministry responsible for military and national defense matters

The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation is the governing body of the Russian Armed Forces.

Ivan Bagramyan Soviet military officer

Ivan Khristoforovich Bagramyan, also known as Hovhannes Khachaturi Baghramyan, was a Soviet military commander and Marshal of the Soviet Union of Armenian origin. During World War II, Bagramyan was the first non-Slavic military officer to become a commander of a Front. He was among several Armenians in the Soviet Army who held the highest proportion of high-ranking officers in the Soviet military during the war.

Yuri Danilov Russian general

Yuri Nikiforovich Danilov Russian: Юрий Никифорович Данилов; 13 August [O.S. 1 August] 1866 – 3 November 1937) served as a general in the Russian army during World War I.

Nikolai Nikolaevich Vashugin was a Soviet general and a political officer.

Jubilee Medal "XX Years of the Workers and Peasants Red Army" commemorative medal of the Soviet Union

The Jubilee Medal "XX Years of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army" was a state military commemorative medal of the Soviet Union established on January 24, 1938 by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR to denote the twentieth anniversary of the creation of the Soviet Armed Forces.

Jubilee Medal "40 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR" Commemorative medal of the Soviet Union

The Jubilee Medal "40 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR" was a state military commemorative medal of the Soviet Union established on December 18, 1957 by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR to denote the fortieth anniversary of the creation of the Soviet Armed Forces. Its statute was later amended by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of July 18, 1980.

Alexey Nikolayevich Krutikov Soviet general

Alexey Nikolayevich Krutikov was a Soviet military leader.

Ranks and insignia of the Red Army and Navy 1940–1943

The ranks and rank insignia of the Red Army and Red Navy between 1940 and 1943 were characterised by continuing reforms to the Soviet armed forces in the period immediately before Operation Barbarossa and the war of national survival following it. The Soviet suspicion of rank and rank badges as a bourgeois institution remained, but the increasing experience of Soviet forces, and the massive increase in manpower all played their part, including the creation of a number of new general officer ranks and the reintroduction of permanent enlisted ranks and ratings.

Komandarm 2nd rank

Komandarm 2nd rank is the abbreviation to Commanding officer of the Army 2nd rank, and was a military rank in the Soviet Armed Forces of the USSR in the period from 1935 to 1940. It was also the designation to military personnel appointed to command a field army sized formation (XXXX).

During the Russian Civil War, several former Tsarist officers joined the Red Army, either voluntarily or through coercion. This list includes officers of the Imperial Army commissioned before 1917 who joined the Bolsheviks as commanders or military specialists. For former Tsarist NCOs promoted under the Bolsheviks, see Mustang.