Vasily Chapayev

Vasily Chapayev

Birth
Death 5 Sep 1919 (aged 32)
Burial Body lost or destroyed, Specifically: Lost in the Ural River near what is now Chapayev, Kazakhstan
Memorial ID 23733245 · View Source
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Soviet Commander. A hero of the Russian Civil War, he was elevated to almost mythic status by government propaganda. Vasily Ivanovich Chapayev was born in the village of Budayki (now part of Cheboksary), Russia. During World War I he fought with the Imperial Army in the Western Ukraine and in Romania, was awarded three St. George Crosses for personal bravery, and rose to the rank of sergeant-major. At war's end he was elected commander of the 138th Regiment, which he brought into the Red Army after joining the Bolsheviks in 1917. In the early days of the Civil War Chapayev distinguished himself in action against the Czech Legion and was groomed for the general staff by Red Army leader Mikhail Frunze. As commander of the 25th Infantry Division from January 1919, he defeated five White divisions under Alexander Kolchak and captured the cities of Ufa and Uralsk. On September 5, White Cossacks led a successful night raid on the 25th's headquarters near Lbishchensk (now called Chapayev); Chapayev was wounded in the attack and disappeared while trying to swim to safety across the Ural River. His body was never recovered. He may well have been forgotten had not Dmitri Furmanov, the former political commissar of the 25th, published his best-selling book "Chapayev" in 1923. Drawing from firsthand observation, Furmanov depicted the commander as a swaggering loose cannon with hazy political notions but an unshakeable faith in himself, his men, and the cause. A "non-fiction novel" decades before the genre became popular in the west, it was immediately hailed as a classic of Soviet Literature. The 1934 screen adaptation (reputedly Stalin's favorite movie) was Russia's biggest box office hit of the decade and fixed Chapayev as an official legend in the Soviet consciousness. Cities, towns, a Red Army division, collective farms, a board game and a popular snack food were all named for him. As an irreverent antidote to this deification process the Russian people made Chapayev the butt of countless jokes, and with the Soviet Union now part of Russia's past he is still a reliable stock character in comic anecdotes.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 3 Jan 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 23733245
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Vasily Chapayev (9 Feb 1887–5 Sep 1919), Find a Grave Memorial no. 23733245, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Body lost or destroyed, who reports a Lost in the Ural River near what is now Chapayev, Kazakhstan.