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Zhavoronkov was born in the village of Sidorovskaya, Kostroma Governorate, and from 1910 worked in a textile factory in nearby Vichuga. He was Commanding General of the Soviet Naval Air Force during World War II (1939–1945). Under his leadership, aviators of the Baltic Navy's Order of the Red Banner made a number of air strikes on military and industrial facilities in and around Berlin that began in August and September 1941. In February 1945, Zhavoronkov organised the flights of delegations to the Yalta conference.
From 1949 to 1957, he was head of Aeroflot, the Soviet national civilian airline. He retired from the military in 1959.
Zhavboronkov was awarded many orders and medals.
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