Alexander Kutepov


Alexander Kutepov

Alexander Pavlovich Kutepov ("Александр Павлович Кутепов" in Russian) (9.16(28).1882 — 1930) was a Russian counterrevolutionary in South Russia and White Army General (1920).

Kutepov graduated from Junker Infantry School in St.Petersburg in 1904. As a young infantry officer he fought in the Russo-Japanese War, where he was wounded in action and decorated for valor. In 1906 he was transferred to the Preobrazhensky Regiment, an elite guard's regiment. During World War I he received several decorations for bravery and was again severely wounded in action. During the course of the war he rose from company, to battalion, to regimental commander of the Preobrazhensky Regiment. As such he became the last commander of this historical regiment.

After the October Revolution, Kutepov joined the anti-Bolshevik Volunteer Army (also called the White Army) at the very outset of the Russian Civil War. At the start of the Ice March in early 1918, Kutepov was a company commander of an officer's regiment. (Note: in the beginning of the Russian Civil War the small Volunteer Army had a surplus of officers, which meant that many of them had to serve as common soldiers. These formations soon became the crack units of the White Army.) After the death in battle of Colonel Nezhentsev, Kutepov took over the command of the Kornilov Shock Regiment, and after the death of the commander of the 1st Infantry Division he became its commander. When the Whites captured Novorossiysk in August of 1918, Kutepov was appointed Governor General of the Black Sea region. Starting in January of 1919, a thirty-six year old Lieutenant General Kutepov became the commander of the I Army Corps of the White Army. Throughout his career Kutepov had a reputation for being a decisive, direct, and no-nonsense military leader. During the chaotic and anarchic times of the Russian Civil War, order was usually rapidly restored after Kutepov's arrival. He accomplished this, however, by means of the swift and ruthless application of the death penalty on suspected looters and pogrom perpetrators.

After the White Army's final defeat in the Crimea, Kutepov and the remnants of his corps evacuated to Gallipoli in November 1920. Despite very unfavorable and demoralizing circumstances, the troops in Gallipoli regained their morale and kept their military coherence thanks to Kutepov's leadership. In the beginning of the Gallipoli period Kutepov was disliked by many of the troops because of his disciplinary measures, but by the end he was warmly regarded by most of them. When the Gallipoli camp was disbanded, Kutepov moved to Bulgaria in late 1921. Two years later he was expelled from the country during the upheavals of the Aleksandar Stamboliyski era. Kutepov and his wife settled in Paris. After General Wrangel's death in 1928, he became the leader of the Russian All-Military Union and continued its anti-Soviet activities.

On January 26, 1930, Kutepov was kidnapped by OGPU agents and secretly transported from Paris to Soviet Russia. It seems that Kutepov died while en route, but the details of his death are still unclear. Former White Army general Nikolai Skoblin, an Inner Line member, was suspected of being an accomplice in his kidnapping. (But see Walter Laqueur, "New Light on a Murky Affair", "Encounter" LXXIV.2 (March 1990), p.33, who summarises a long article in the Soviet weekly "Nedelya" and states "Skoblin had nothing to do with this affair, because he was recruited only after Kutyopov's disappearance").


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