Concept

Kirill Meretskov

Summary
Kirill Afanasievich Meretskov (Кири́лл Афана́сьевич Мерецко́в; – 30 December 1968) was a Soviet military commander. Having joined the Communist Party in 1917, he served in the Red Army from 1920. During the Winter War of 1939–1940 against Finland, he had the task of penetrating the Mannerheim Line as commander of the 7th Army. He was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union shortly afterwards. The NKVD arrested Meretskov at the start of invasion of the Soviet Union. Released two months later, he returned to command the 7th Army and later the Volkhov Front during the 1941–1944 siege of Leningrad. He commanded the Karelian Front from February 1944, notably the Petsamo–Kirkenes Offensive of October 1944. From April 1945 he was assigned to the Far East, where he commanded a front during the Soviet invasion of Japanese Manchuria. During the war he reached the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union. Meretskov was born at Nazaryevo in Ryazan Governorate (now in Moscow Oblast), southeast of Moscow. His parents were peasants of Russian ethnicity and lived in a rural village. He was a factory worker from 1909, first in Moscow, later near Vladimir. He joined the Bolsheviks (later the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) in August 1917, and became chief of staff of Red Guard militia that helped to organise in the town. During the Russian Civil War, he was chief of staff of a regiment, and later a division. In 1921, he graduated from the Military Academy (later the M. V. Frunze Military Academy). From 1922, he held a number of commands as chief of staff, first in a cavalry division, later in various armies and military districts. From September 1936 to May 1937, Meretskov fought for the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War under a pseudonym of "General Pavlovich". In 1939, he was appointed commander of the Leningrad Military District. In November 1939, at the start of the Winter War, Meretskov initially ran the overall operation against the Finns.
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