Kork, August

2 August 1887 Aardla, Tartu county – 11/12 June 1937 Moscow

Highest-ranking Estonian officer in the Red Army during the 1920s-1930s 
In 1908 he graduated from the Chuguev military school and in 1914 from the Nikolai General Staff Academy in St Petersburg. He continued at the school, training pilots-observers. In WW I he fought in the Tsarist army, rising to the rank of staff officer of the army headquarters on the Western front. In 1917–18 he was chairman of the committee of the military of the Western front. In 1918–19 he served in the operations department of the Red Army headquarters. From December 1918 until June 1919 he served the Estonian Workers’ Commune, formally the puppet state of Soviet Russia, as consultant of People’s Commissariat of War and later chief of staff of the so-called Commune army, leading the Red Army troops fighting against the Republic of Estonia. In summer 1919 he was deputy commandant of the Red Army’s 7th army; in 1919 he led the defence of Petrograd against General Nikolai Yudenich. As the commander of the 15th army in 1919–20 he took part in the war against Poland. As commander of the 6th army in 1920–21 he fought against Peter Wrangel’s troops in Ukraine and Crimea, and led the assault on the Perekop Isthmus, which resulted in Crimea surrendering to the Red Army and the end of the Russian civil war. In 1921–22 he was head of the Kharkov military district, and also deputy commander of the Soviet Ukrainian armed forces. In 1922–23 he was commander of the Turkestan front, fighting against the local resistance movement, the Basmatchis. From 1923 to 1928 he was commander of various military districts and the Caucasian army, in 1928–29 military attaché of the Soviet Union in Germany. From 1929 to 1935 he was commander of the Moscow military district, from 1935 to 1937 a member of the council of the people’s commissariat of defence and head of the M. Frunze military academy. In 1927 he joined the Communist Party, and from 1935 was army commander of the 2nd rank (Colonel-General). In the course of the Stalinist purges he was accused of organising an armed conspiracy in the Red Army in 1937 and shot. In 1957 he was rehabilitated for „the lack of necessary elements of a criminal offence”.

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