Vladimir May-Mayevsky

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Vladimir Zenonovich May-Mayevsky
Born27 September [O.S. 15 September] 1867
Russian Empire
Died30 November 1920(1920-11-30) (aged 53)
Allegiance Russian Empire
Service/branch Imperial Russian Army
Years of service1885–1920
Rankmajor general
Battles/warsRusso-Japanese War
First World War
Russian Civil War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Cross of St. George
Order of St. George

Vladimir Zenonovich May-Mayevsky KCMG (Russian: Влади́мир Зено́нович Май-Мае́вский; 27 September [O.S. 15 September] 1867 – 30 November 1920) was a general in the Imperial Russian Army and one of the leaders of the counterrevolutionary White movement during the Russian Civil War.


May-Mayevsky was born in 1867 to a family of minor gentry in the Mogilev Governorate, now part of Belarus. He entered military service in 1885, graduating from the Nikolaev Engineering Institute in 1888, now Military engineering-technical university (Russian Военный инженерно-технический университет), serving as a lieutenant with the elite Izmaylovsky Regiment. He later attended the Nikolaev Military Academy in 1896, and was promoted to a captain of the Life Guards.

During the Russo-Japanese War, May-Mayevsky was promoted to the rank of colonel and commanded the 1st Guards Corps, which he continued to command in the First World War, when he was promoted to the rank of major general. He was awarded the Order of St. George (4th class) and Golden Sword of St. George in 1915, and the Cross of St. George in 1917.

At the time of the Russian Revolution of 1917 May-Mayevsky was still in charge of the 1st Guard Corps. Although his obese appearance was distinctly unmilitary, he had military talent and a reputation for calm bravery and quick decisive action.

In March 1918 May-Mayevsky fled to the Don region, and joined Mikhail Drozdovsky's White movement army as a common soldier. This unit soon merged with the anti-Bolshevik Volunteer Army, and May-Mayevsky became a divisional commander. On 23 May 1919 May-Mayevsky was appointed chief commander of the Volunteer Army after his division drove the Red Army from the city of Kharkiv. His forces moved on to secure Kiev, Orel and Voronezh. However, his forces were thus overextended, and after suffering a number of defeats, problems with his alcoholism increased. May-Maevsky was blamed for the military retreats from Tula and Orel and accused of "moral decay". On 27 November 1919 General Anton Denikin replaced him with General Pyotr Wrangel, an effective general without the moral weaknesses of May-Mayevsky.

In 1920, he led rearguard units in the final defence of the Crimea. Accounts differ on his end. According to one version, he shot himself during the evacuation of the White Army from Sevastopol on 12 November 1920, according to another - he died of heart failure in one of the hospitals in Sevastopol or while traveling by car to the ship for evacuation.


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