Vladimir Kirpichnikov (general)

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Vladimir Vasilevich Kirpichnikov
Kirpichnikov VV.jpg
Major General Vladimir Kirpichnikov
Born 7 July 1903
Smolensk, Russian Empire
Died 10 October 1950(1950-10-10) (aged 47)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Allegiance Soviet Union
Years of service 1925 - 1944
Rank Major general
Unit Infantry
Commands held 11th Rifle Division
43rd Rifle Division
Battles/wars Spanish Civil War
Battle of Vyborg Bay (1940)
Battle of Vyborg (1941)

Vladimir Vasilevich Kirpichnikov (Russian: Владимир Васильевич Кирпичников, 7 July 1903 – 10 October 1950) was a Soviet general of the Red Army. During World War II he served as commander of 43rd Rifle Division. Kirpichnikov was the only Soviet general captured by the Finnish Army.

Early life[edit]

Kirpichnikov graduated from the Ulyanovsk Infantry Military Academy in 1925. He served as a platoon leader and later as a major and a colonel of the 11th Rifle Division in Leningrad Military District. In 1937 Kirpichnikov served as chief of staff in the Spanish Civil War and was awarded the Order of the Red Star. He was named commander of the 43rd Rifle Division in 1939. In the Soviet-Finnish War Kirpichnikov was awarded with the Order of the Red Banner. After the war he studied at the Frunze Military Academy.[1]

World War II[edit]

Kirpichnikov was captured by the Finns at the Battle of Porlampi on 1 September 1941. He was first interrogated in the village of Karisalmi and later moved to Finnish Army headquarters in Mikkeli. The Finns wanted to use Kirpichnikov for propagandist purposes since they knew he had some opinions that were critical of the Soviet regime. However, Kirpichnikov did not agree to work for the Finns. In December 1941 he was moved to Sotavankileiri 1 (Prison camp 1), which was located in the municipality of Köyliö in Western Finland. It was a camp for more than 3,000 Soviet prisoners, including 1,000 officers.[1]

According to other prisoners, Kirpichnikov was offered the commander's post of the Russian Liberation Army but he refused. The pictures taken of Kirpichnikov were used as a propaganda tool. Most famous are a picture of Kirpichnikov lighting the cigarette of his interrogator, General Lennart Oesch, and a color photo of Kirpichnikov with a newspaper and a pack of Chesterfield cigarettes.[2] He was seen in a Finnish propaganda film.[3]


After the war was over, Kirpichnikov was sent back to the Soviet Union where he was immediately arrested by the SMERSH. Kirpichnikov was held in a prison camp in Podolsk, then later at Lefortovo Prison in Moscow. He was charged with treason and sentenced to death by the USSR Military Collegium on 8 October 1950. Two days later, Kirpichnikov was shot. [4] Some sources report the date of his execution as 28 August 1950, prior to the recorded death sentence.



  1. ^ a b Lars Westerlund: "Sotavangit ja internoidut" (page 543) (in Finnish) Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  2. ^ Karl Franzens Universität Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  3. ^ Elonet (in Finnish) Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  4. ^ "Kirpichnikov, V.V.", in Sacrifice of the Generals: Soviet Senior Officer Losses, 1939-1953, by Michael Parrish (Scarecrow Press, 2004) p165