Alexei Yepishev

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Alexei Yepishev
Ambassador of the Soviet Union to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
In office
27 November 1960 – 30 June 1962
Preceded by Ivan Zamchevsky
Succeeded by Alexander Puzanov
Ambassador of the Soviet Union to the People's Republic of Romania
In office
14 August 1955 – 27 November 1960
Preceded by Leonid Melnikov
Succeeded by Ivan Zhegalin
Deputy Minister of State Security for Personnel Matters
In office
26 August 1951 – 11 March 1953
Preceded by Serafim Estafeev
Succeeded by Pyotr Kondakov
First Secretary of the Odessa Regional Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine
In office
9 January 1950 – 25 August 1951
Preceded by Alexei Kirichenko
Succeeded by Vasily Markov
In office
March 1953 – 13 August 1955
Preceded by Vasily Markov
Succeeded by Leontii Naydek
Personal details
Born (1908-05-19)19 May 1908
Astrakhan, Russian Empire
Died 15 September 1985(1985-09-15) (aged 77)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Citizenship Soviet
Nationality Russian
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Awards Hero of Soviet Union
Order of Lenin (3)
Order of the October Revolution
Order of the Red Banner (4)
Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky, 1st class
Order of the Red Banner of Labor
Order of the Patriotic War, 1st Class (2)
Order of the Red Star (3)
Order for Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces of the USSR, 3rd class
Order of Sükhbaatar (2)
Order of the White Lion (1)
Military service
Allegiance Soviet Union
Service/branch Red Army
Years of service 1930-1938, 1943-1946, 1962–1985
Rank Army General
Commands Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy
Battles/wars World War II

Alexei Alexeevich Yepishev, also spelled Epishev (Russian: Алексей Алексеевич Епишев; May 19 [O.S. May 6] 1908 - September 15, 1985) was a Soviet political officer, politician and diplomat. He served as the Chief of the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy from 1962 to 1985.


Early years[edit]

Yepishev was born to a laborer's family in Astrakhan. In 1923, he began working in a local fishery, where he joined the Komsomol; in 1927, he became the secretary of the fishery's branch of the organization and later, an instructor in the municipal branch. In 1929, he was accepted as a member of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), where he became an ardent supporter of Joseph Stalin.[1]

In 1930, Yepishev joined the Red Army, where he underwent commanders' training in the following year and served as an political officer in the Tank Corps. In 1938, he graduated from the Joseph Stalin Military Academy for Mechanization and Motorization. In June that year he was sent as an political organizer to the Comintern Locomotive Factory in Kharkov, where he was responsible for the Party branch of the workers in the T-34 tanks' production line. There, he also joined the Communist Party of the Ukrainian SSR, in which he remained a member until 1952. In March 1940 he was appointed first secretary of the Kharkov regional Party committee. From May 1940 until January 1949 he was a member of the Organization Committee of the Ukrainian Communist Party's Presidium.[2]

World War II[edit]

After the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, Yepishev became responsible for directing the war effort in the region: he mobilized the Kharkov people's militia, of which he was the commissar, and organized partisan formations. In October 1941, shortly before the city's fall to the enemy, he was evacuated to the Urals, where he was appointed first secretary of the Party committee in Nizhny Tagil, and as such was responsible for the rebuilding of the arms factories transferred from the front line areas. In November 1942, he became the CPSU Central Committee's commissioner for personnel matters. On 22 December 1942 he was also appointed Deputy People's Commissar for medium machine building. During the Battle of Stalingrad, he was briefly stationed in the Stalingrad Front's military council. In February 1943, he was removed of all his posts and re-instated as the Kharkov party chief, as the Red Army seemed to recapture the area. On 26 May, Yepishev was given the rank of a major general and posted as member of the military council, the highest political officer, in General Kirill Moskalenko 40th Army. As such, he participated in the Battle of Kursk and the Lower Dnieper Offensive. On 2 November, he received the same position in the 38th Army, again under Moskalenko, and held it until the end of the Second World War. The 38th took part in the Battle of Kiev, the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive, the Battle of the Dukla Pass and the Prague Offensive.[3]

Post-war career[edit]

On 11 May 1945, shortly after the German capitulation, Yepishev moved back to his former office in the 40th Army, which he held until August 1946. He then left the Armed Forces and was appointed the Ukrainian Communist Party's secretary for personnel matters. From 9 January 1950 until August 1951, he headed the Odessa region's Party committee. He was a deputy in the 3rd and 4th convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, between 12 March 1950 to 14 March 1958.[4]

On 26 August 1951, Yepishev was posted as Deputy Minister for personnel matters in the Ministry for State Security. Yepishev was one of many officials with no prior experience in intelligence who were transferred to the MGB after it was purged of members associated with its executed former chief, Viktor Abakumov. On 14 October 1952, he was accepted as a candidate member of the Central Committee of the CPSU. On 11 March 1953, shortly after Stalin's death, Yepishev was returned to his post in Odessa, where he remained until August 1955. On 26 March 1954, he was accepted as a member of the Ukrainian Communist Party's Central Committee.[5]

From 14 August 1955 until 27 November 1960, Yepishev was the Soviet ambassador to the People's Republic of Romania. He left this office to immediately become ambassador in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the years 1961-1962. He was also a deputy of the 6th to 11th convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, from 18 March 1962 until his death.[6]

On 11 May 1962, Yepishev was promoted to the rank of Army General and appointed Chief of the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy, effectively the Armed Forces' political supervisor. On 16 November 1964, he was accepted as a full member in the CPSU's Central Committee. In July 1985, Yepishev was relieved of his post and appointed inspector in the Ministry of Defense. He died shortly after.[7]


External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Filipp Golikov
Chief of the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy
11 May 1962-17 July 1985
Succeeded by
Aleksey Lizichev