Milojko Lešjanin

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Milojko Lešjanin
Milojko Lešjanin 1876.png
Lešjanin portrayed by Josef Mukařovský and depicted in Světozor, 28 July 1876.
Native name
Serbian Cyrillic: Милојко Лешјанин
Other name(s)Milojko Lešnjanin
(Serbian Cyrillic: Милојко Лешњанин)
Born(1830-01-15)January 15, 1830
Lešje, Principality of Serbia
DiedFebruary 15, 1896(1896-02-15) (aged 66)
Belgrade, Kingdom of Serbia
Allegiance Principality of Serbia
 Kingdom of Serbia
Service/branch Armed Forces of the Principality of Serbia
 Royal Serbian Army
Years of service1849–1888
RankDjeneral Oficiri (service dress).png General
Commands heldMilitary Academy
Timok Army/Corps
Morava Corps
General Staff
Battles/warsSerbian–Turkish Wars (1876–1878)
Serbo-Bulgarian War
Other workMinister of Army

Milojko Lešjanin (Serbian Cyrillic: Милојко Лешјанин; Lešje, 15 February 1830 – Belgrade, 15 February 1896) was a Serbian military officer and politician. He served as Minister of Army and Chief of the Serbian General Staff for several times in the 1870s and 1880s. As corps and army commander he took part in the wars with Ottoman Turks and Bulgarians in 1876–1885. He led the Serbian troops at the conquest of Niš in 1877 (together with Jovan Belimarković) and at the blockade of Vidin in 1885. He also served as Chief of the Military Academy of Serbia for several times in the 1860s and 1880s.


Education and teaching career[edit]

The son of a merchant from Lešje (near Paraćin), Lešjanin joined the Armed forces of the Principality of Serbia in 1849. He graduated from the Artillery School (modern Military Academy) in Belgrade as a lieutenant in engineering, and later completed a three-year course at the Prussian Staff College in Berlin and a one-year internship at the Prussian General Staff.

After his return to his homeland, he was a longtime teacher (between 1859 and 1880, intermittently) at the Artillery School, and served three times (1865–1868, 1874–1875, June–November 1880) as its Chief. In 1870 (now with the rank of major) he was again in the Prussian General Staff, this time as an observer of the fighting in the Franco-Prussian War.[1] He witnessed the sieges of Metz and Strasbourg.

Military career[edit]

In 1862, during the bombardment of Belgrade by the Ottoman Turks, Lešjanin commanded a section of the defence and was promoted to the rank of captain I class. At the beginning of the First Serbian–Turkish War in the summer of 1876, Lešjanin (who was promoted to the rank of colonel the previous year) commanded the Timok Army, which aimed to invade the northwestern Ottoman Bulgaria and to raise the Bulgarians in revolt. His attempt to accomplish this task was thwarted by the Turks; Lešjanin then ceded command to the Imperial Russian Army general Mikhail Chernyayev. At Veliki Izvor, Lešjanin led the Zaječar detachment on the left flank of the Serbian troops. The battle ended in defeat for the Serbs, who were soon forced to abandon Zaječar to the Turks.[2]

During the Second Serbian–Turkish War in the winter of 1877–1878, Colonel Lešjanin was commander of the Morava Corps (16,715 soldiers and 46 cannons), advancing on both banks of South Morava and took part in the operations (29 December 1877 – 11 January 1878) that led to the capture of Niš. After this success, Lešjanin was entrusted with the joint command of the Morava and Timok Corps to take over Pristina. He failed to accomplish this task due to unsuccessful assault on Turkish–Albanian positions near Samokovo.[3][4] In February 1878 he was a special envoy of the Prince Milan Obernović to the Russian headquarters in San Stefano (modern Yeşilköy) for the negotiations that led to the Treaty of San Stefano, unfavorable for Serbia.[5]

Upon his return from San Stefano, Lešjanin was promoted to the rank of general. He commanded the Timok Corps, and in 1879–1880 and 1882–1885 he was Chief of the Serbian General Staff, and in 1883–1884 he was also the commander of the active army.[6] In the Serbo-Bulgarian War in November 1885, General Lešjanin commanded the Timok Army during the unsuccessful siege of Vidin.[7] After the war, Lešjanin took over the leadership of the General Staff for the third time, in 1886–1888; afterwards, he left the Royal Serbian Army and entered politics.[8]

In 1888 he replaced Đorđe Simić as president of The Red Cross of Serbia. His tenure lasted from 1888 to 1896 when he was succeeded by General Jovan Mišković.[9]

Political career[edit]

Lešjanin became Minister of Army for the first time in 1873, when he entered the Liberal government headed by Jovan Ristić. From 1880 to 1882 he held the same position in the Progressive government of Milan Piroćanac. After his dismissal, he participated in the drafting of the Constitution of 1888 and in the work of the Parliament (representing the Liberal Party) in the early 1890s.[10]


  1. ^ name="mmsamardzic-MSV">(in Serbian) Самарџић, Момир. Лешjанин (Матица Српска. Српски биографски речник. Одабране биографиjе, Том V, стр. 64–65, приступљено 22. децембра 2012)
  2. ^ name="mmsamardzic-MSV"
  3. ^ Скоко, Саво (1985). Воjвода Радомир Путник. Књига 1 (in Serbian). Београд: Београдски издавачко-графички завод. Стр. 86, 88, 97–101
  4. ^ Jовановић, Слободан (1934). Влада Милана Обреновића. Књига 2 (in Serbian). Београд: Геца Кон (онлаjн: Дигитална Народна библиотека Србиjе). Стр. 185–186, 189–191
  5. ^ name="mmsamardzic-MSV"
  6. ^ name="mmsamardzic-MSV"
  7. ^ (in Bulgarian) Кратка история на сръбско-българската война през 1885 година. Военноисторически сборник, 2006, кн. 1–2, стр. 126, 128
  8. ^ name="mmsamardzic-MSV"
  9. ^ Spomenica, 1876-1936. 1936.
  10. ^ name="mmsamardzic-MSV"


  • Chief of the General Staff: 1876–2000, Ivetić Velimir, Belgrade 2000.
Military offices
Preceded by Chief of the Military Academy
Succeeded by
Chief of the Military Academy
Succeeded by
Ljubomir Ivanović
Preceded by Chief of the Serbian General Staff
Succeeded by
Jovan Anđelković
Preceded by
Stevan Zdravković
Chief of the Military Academy
Succeeded by
Stevan Zdravković
Preceded by
Jovan Anđelković
Chief of the Serbian General Staff
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Chief of the Serbian General Staff
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Army
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Army
Succeeded by
Tihomilj Nikolić