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Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko
Владимир Антонов-Овсеенко
Procurator General of the Russian SFSR

In office
25 May 1934 – 25 September 1936
Premier Vyacheslav Molotov
Preceded by Andrey Vyshinsky
Succeeded by Nikolai Ryckov
People's Secretary of Military Affairs

In office
7 March 1918 – 18 April 1918
Preceded by Yuriy Kotsiubynsky
Succeeded by Post dissolved
People's Commissariat for Justice of the Russian SFSR

In office
Personal details
Born (1883-03-09)9 March 1883
Chernihiv, Chernigov Governorate
Died 10 February 1938(1938-02-10) (aged 54)
Citizenship Russia, Soviet
Political party Menshevik (1903), Menshevik-Internationalist (1914), RSDLP(b) (1917)
Alma mater Vladimir Military Institute, Nikolaevsk Combat Engineer Institute

Vladimir Alexandrovich Antonov-Ovseyenko (Russian: Владимир Александрович Антонов-Овсеенко; Ukrainian language: Володимир Антонов-Овсєєнко

9 March 1883 – 10 February 1938), real surname Ovseyenko, party aliases the 'Bayonet' (Штык) and 'Nikita' (Ники́та), a literary pseudonym A. Gal (А. Га́льский), was a prominent Soviet Bolshevik leader and diplomat.

Life and career

He was born in Chernigov into an officer's family. He was of Ukrainian ethnicity.[1]

In 1903, Antonov-Ovseyenko joined the Menshevik party. During the Russian Revolution of 1905, he led an uprising in Novo-Alexandria in Poland and Sevastopol in the Crimea. He was subsequently arrested and sentenced to twenty years' exile in Siberia. He soon escaped and by 1910 had emigrated to Paris.

Soon after the outbreak of World War I, Antonov-Ovseyenko became a Menshevik in protest at the conflict. In May 1917, he joined the Bolshevik party and returned to Russia, taking part in the October stage of the Bolshevik seizure of power following the February Revolution. On 7 November (25 October according to Julian Calendar still used in Russia at the time) he led the Bolshevik assault to capture the Winter Palace, and arrested the ministers of the Russian Provisional Government (excluding Prime Minister Alexander Kerensky, who had fled prior to the attack). He was elected to the Military Committee of Sovnarkom and soon thereafter given a high position in the Red Army.

In December 1917, Antonov-Ovseyenko was put in charge of the Red Army in Ukraine and southern Russia. The army subsequently captured Kharkov, where Soviet power in Ukraine was proclaimed. In 1918 and 1919, Antonov-Ovseyenko oversaw the defeat of Ukrainian nationalist and White Army forces in Ukraine, ensuring the creation of the Ukrainian SSR.

By the end of the Russian Civil War, Antonov-Ovseyenko was in charge of the Tambov Governorate, brutally suppressing the 1920-1921 Tambov Rebellion alongside Mikhail Tukhachevsky, with the use of chemical weapons[2]

During the 1920s, Antonov-Ovseyenko was a close ally of Leon Trotsky in the Soviet government and was later appointed consul for Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, and Poland (1930–1934). In 1934, Antonov-Ovseyenko became the Russian SFSR's chief prosecutor and later the special Soviet consul in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War, where he directed the supply of Soviet aid to the Second Spanish Republic. He was recalled to Moscow in August 1937 where he talked with Joseph Stalin about the events in Spain. After a month without a job he was appointed People's Commissar for Justice of the Russian SFSR in September 1937.

He was arrested in February 1938 during Stalin's Great Purge and executed.

See also

  • Albert Rhys Williams, American journalist that wrote numerous books about the revolutionary activities in Petrograd of 1917-1918 as being the primary eyewitness of the events. He mentioned Ovseyenko as the military leader of the October Revolution. On several occasions he visited the Soviet Union before World War II.
  • Anton Antonov-Ovseyenko (1920-2013), historian and writer, his son [3]


  1. "Жертвы политического террора в СССР". Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  2. Nicolas Werth, Karel Bartošek, Jean-Louis Panné, Jean-Louis Margolin, Andrzej Paczkowski, Stéphane Courtois, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Harvard University Press, 1999, hardcover, 858 pages, ISBN 0-674-07608-7

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