Evgeniya Shakhovskaya

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Shakhovskaya and Abramovich Vsevolod Mikhaylovich in 1913

Princess Eugenie Mikhailovna Shakhovskaya (St. Petersburg, Russian Empire), 1889 – Kiev (Ukraine), 1920) (Евгения Михайловна Шаховская, Yevgeniya Mikhaylovna Shakhovskaya) was a Russian Empire pioneering aviator.

She was the first woman to become a military pilot when she flew reconnaissance missions for the Tsar in 1914.[1][2]

She started taking flying lessons in 1911, and was awarded her flying licence in 1912. However, she gave up flying in 1913 after her instructor died mid-flight.[3]

She was convinced to start flying again and flew reconnaissance missions in World War 1. Eugenie was accused of being a spy, arrested, and sentenced to death. However, she was shown mercy by the Tsar, her cousin, and sentenced to life in prison.

In 1917, during the Russian Revolution, she was freed from prison.[4]

She became the chief executioner for the Cheka. In this time, she also became addicted to drugs. In a narcotic state, she shot one of her assistants and was herself shot dead.[5]


  1. ^ "Women Combat Pilots of WW1". Monash University. Retrieved 2010-10-18. Princess Eugenie M. Shakhovskaya was Russia's first woman military pilot. She served with the 1st Field Air Squadron. It is unknown if she actually flew any combat missions, and she was ultimately charged with treason and attempting to flee to enemy lines. Sentenced to death by firing squad, her sentence commuted to life imprisonment by the Tsar, she was freed during the Revolution, then she became chief executioner for Gen. Tchecka and a drug addict, she shot one of her assistants in a narcotic delerium and was herself shot dead.
  2. ^ "300 Women who changed the world". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2010-10-18. In Russia, Princess Eugenie Shakhovskaya is the first female military pilot. She flies reconnaissance missions.
  3. ^ "Princess Eugenie Mikhailovna Shakhovskaya". Girl Museum. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  4. ^ Miron, Dolnikov. "SHAHOVSKAJA EUGENIJA MICHAILOVNA". Early Aviators. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Women Combat Pilots of WW1". Retrieved 3 March 2020.

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