Vladimir May-Mayevsky

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General Vladimir May-Mayevsky

Vladimir Zenonovich May-Mayevsky (Russian: Влади́мир Зено́нович Май-Мае́вский) (September 15, 1867 – November 30, 1920) was a general in the Imperial Russian Army and one of the leaders of the counterrevolutionary White movement during the Russian Civil War.

Biography[edit]

May-Mayevsky was born in 1867 to a family of minor gentry in the Mogilev Governorate, now part of Belarus. He entered military service in 1885, graduating from the Nikolaev Engineering Institute in 1888, now Military engineering-technical university (Russian Военный инженерно-технический университет), serving as a lieutenant with the elite Izmaylovsky Regiment. He later attended the Nikolaev Military Academy in 1896, and was promoted to a captain of the Life Guards.

During the Russo-Japanese War, May-Mayevsky was promoted to the rank of colonel and commanded the 1st Guards Corps, which he continued to command in the First World War, when he was promoted to the rank of major general. He was awarded the Order of St. George (4th class) and Golden Sword of St. George in 1915, and the Cross of St. George in 1917.

At the time of the Russian Revolution of 1917 May-Mayevsky was still in charge of the 1st Guard Corps. Although his obese appearance was distinctly unmilitary, he had military talent and a reputation for calm bravery and quick decisive action.

In March 1918 May-Mayevsky fled to the Don region, and joined Mikhail Drozdovsky's White movement army as a common soldier. This unit soon merged with the anti-Bolshevik Volunteer Army, and May-Mayevsky became a divisional commander. On May 23, 1919 May-Mayevsky was appointed chief commander of the Volunteer Army after his division drove the Red Army from the city of Kharkiv. His forces moved on to secure Kiev, Orel and Voronezh. However, his forces were thus overextended, and after suffering a number of defeats, problems with his alcoholism increased. May-Maevsky was blamed for the military retreats from Tula and Orel and accused of "moral decay". On November 27, 1919 General Anton Denikin replaced him with General Pyotr Wrangel, an effective general without the moral weaknesses of May-Mayevsky.

In 1920, he led rearguard units in the final defence of the Crimea. Accounts differ on his end. May-Majewski was either shot during the evacuation of the White Army from Sevastopol November 13, 1920, or else died of infarction, either at a hospital in Sevastopol, or the journey by car to the ship for evacuation.

Honors[edit]

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