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Sergei Shtemenko
Native name Сергей Матвеевич Штеменко
Born (1907-02-20)February 20, 1907
Died April 23, 1976(1976-04-23) (aged 69)
Place of birth Uryupinsk, Russian Empire
Place of death Moscow, Soviet Union
Buried at Novodevichy Cemetery[1]
Allegiance  USSR (1926–1976)
Years of service 1926–1976
Rank Army General
Commands held Chief of the General Staff
Battles/wars World War II

Sergei Matveevich Shtemenko ([Сергей Матвеевич Штеменко] Error: {{Lang-xx}}: text has italic markup (help); 20 April 1907, Uryupinsk, Russian Empire – 23 April 1976, Moscow, Soviet Union) was a Soviet general, who served as the Chief of the Soviet Armed Forces' General Staff from 1948 to 1952.


Early life

Born to a peasant family, Shtemenko volunteered for the Red Army at 1926. In 1930 he joined the Communist Party, and graduated from the Anti-Aircraft School in Sevastopol at the same year. After several years in the Artillery, he moved to the Armored Corps, completing his studies in the Mechanization and Motorization Academy in 1937. He commanded a tank regiment until September 1938, when he was summoned to the General Staff Academy.[2] On late August 1939, with other cadets, Shtemenko was assigned as a staff officer to the Soviet forces preparing for the Invasion of Poland, and took part in the operation. During the Soviet-Finnish War he served as an assistant in the General Staff. After matriculating from the Academy at autumn 1940, Shtemenko's request to be transferred to the new Tank Corps was rejected and he was posted as an aide to General Mikhail Sharokhin, a department chief in the Operations Directorate.[3]

World War II

In August 1941, soon after the German invasion, Shtemenko was appointed as Sharokhin's deputy, an office he held until after the Battle of Moscow, when he was assigned as chief of the Near East department. As such, Shtemenko monitored the conditions of the Soviet troops stationed in the recently occupied Iran. In June 1942, he substituted Sharohin as the department chief. Shtemenko took part in the operational planning of the Battles for Crimea, the Caucasus and Stalingrad. In May 1943, he was promoted to be the chief of the Operations Directorate, serving directly under Marshal Alexander Vasilevsky. In November of that year he escorted Stalin to the Tehran Conference.[3]

During February and March 1944, Shtemenko served as the Stavka representative in the 2nd Baltic Front during the campaign to relieve the Siege of Leningrad. During the Spring of 1944, he toured between the different fronts fighting in Belarus and coordinated their operations.[4]

After the German surrender, Shtemenko was among the organizers of the Victory Parade. In August 1945, he took part in the planning of the Soviet-Japanese War.[3]

Post-war career

In April 1946 Shtemenko was promoted to the position of Deputy Chief of the General Staff. In November 1948, the 41 year old Shtemenko was made the Chief of the General Staff and the Deputy Minister of Defence. However, in June 1952 he was replaced as Chief of the General Staff by Vasily Sokolovsky.[5] Shtemenko was then transferred to command the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany.[6] In 1953 Shtemenko was listed as an intended victim of the Doctors' Plot.[7] He continued to serve in the General Staff as deputy chief, and was made a candidate member of the Central Committee, an office he held until 1956.[8]

In June 1953 he was dismissed from the General Staff and demoted to Lieutenant General, after being accused of being an associate of Beria.[4][9] In 1956 Zhukov appointed him Chief of the Military Intelligence and promoted him to Colonel General.[4] However, Shtemenko again fell out of grace after Zhukov was removed as Defense Minister, and was demoted again to Lieutenant General in 1957.[8] He was sent to occupy the position of deputy commander of the Volga Military District.[4][9]

Shtemenko slowly regained his status. In June 1962 he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Ground Forces, and in April 1964 he became Chief of the Main Organizational-Mobilization Department of the General Staff. In August 1968 he was promoted to be the Chief of Staff of the Warsaw Pact armies, under the Pact's forces Supreme Commander Marshal Ivan Yakubovsky, and granted the rank of Army General once more.[4]

On 10 February 1977, on his 70th anniversary and 10 months after his death, the Krasnodar Red Banner Military Academy was renamed after him.[10]

Honours and awards


  • The New Laws and Military Service, Moscow, 1968.
  • Our Universal Military Commitment, Moscow, 1968.
  • The General Staff in the War Years, Moscow, 1968–73.
  • The Last Six Months of WWII, Moscow, 1973.
  • The Liberating Role of the Soviet Armed Forces, Moscow, 1975.


  1. Штеменко Сергей Матвеевич (1907–1976). Retrieved on 2012-08-09.
  2. Sergei Shtemenko entry in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, translated to English.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Seweryn Bialer, Stalin and his Generals, Westview Press, 1984, ISBN 0865316104.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Sergei Shtemenko on
  5. RUSSIA: Switch. TIME Magazine (1953-03-02). Retrieved on 2012-08-09.
  6. Czechoslovakia: Soviet Invasion. Why?. Der Spiegel, 26 August 1968.
  7. Murder in the Kremlin. TIME Magazine (1953-01-26). Retrieved on 2012-08-09.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Sergei Shtemenko on
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Secret of Shtemenko – II. Radio Free Europe report (1963-10-3).
  10. 100 лет со дня рождения генерала армии Штеменко С.М. Краснодарское высшее военное училище имени генерала армии Штеменко С.М.

External links

  • Shtemenko's obituary (partial).
  • Review of The Last Six Months in Foreign Affairs.
Military offices
Preceded by
Aleksandr Vasilevsky
Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union
November 1948 – June 1952
Succeeded by
Vasily Sokolovsky

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