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Who was Aleksei Brusilov?

Updated on December 3, 2016

Aleksei Brusilov (1853-1926) was a Russian cavalry general, was the outstanding Russian commander of World War I. Born in Tbilisi (Tiflis), Georgia, on August 19, 1853, Brusilov was commissioned in 1872 and fought in the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878). Posted to the Officers' Cavalry School at St. Petersburg (Leningrad) where he became commandant, Brusilov after 1906 successively commanded a division and a corps, became in 1912 assistant to the Warsaw Military District commander, then moved to the Kiev district.

Brusilov's first wartime command, in 1914, was the 8th Army, Southwestern Front, facing Austro-Hungarian forces in East Galicia. In 1915-1916, Brusilov commanded all Russian forces on that front. On June 4, 1916, he launched a spectacularly successful offensive, routing the Austro-Hungarians and rocking their empire. In 1917, as Russia crept out of the war, Brusilov was briefly commander in chief. He was severely wounded in the October Revolution, but in 1920 he helped Soviet forces against Poland, and he continued to help the new Red Army until his retirement in 1924. He died in Moscow on March 17, 1926.

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