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Kliment Voroshilov

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Marshal of the Soviet Union Kliment Voroshilov

Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov (Климе́нт Ефре́мович Вороши́лов) (January 23 1881 - December 2, 1969) was a Soviet military commander and politician.

Voroshilov was born in Verkhneye, near Yekaterinoslav (now Dnipropetrovsk), Ukraine, under the Russian Empire. He joined the Bolshevik party in 1903. Following the Russian revolution he was a member of the Ukrainian provisional government and Commissar for Internal Affairs. Organizing the defense of Tsaritsyn during the civil war, he became closely associated with Joseph Stalin.

Voroshilov was elected to the Central Committee in 1921 and remained a member until 1961. In 1925, after the death of Mikhail Frunze, Voroshilov was appointed People's Commissar for Military and Navy Affairs and Chairman of the Military Revolutionary Council of the USSR, a post he held until 1934. He was made full member of the newly formed Politburo in 1926, remaining a member until 1960. He was heavily involved in Stalin's Great Purge of the late 1930s. His career benefited greatly from the downfall and execution of Marshall Mikhail Tukhachevski.

Voroshilov, ,  (left to right) 1931 photo
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Voroshilov, Gorky, Stalin (left to right) 1931 photo

Voroshilov was appointed People's Commissar for Defence in 1934 and a Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1935. He lost his post as defense commissar over the Soviet-Finnish War (1939-1940). During World War II, Voroshilov was a member of the State Defense Committee.

After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Voroshilov was made commander of the northwest armies, but despite considerable personal bravery - at one point he personally led a counter-attack against German tanks armed only with a pistol - he failed to prevent the Germans from surrounding Leningrad and was dismissed from that office. As an old crony of Stalin's, however, he survived the disgrace that befell most defeated commanders in the early part of the war. In 1945-47 he supervised the establishment of the communist regime in Hungary.

In 1952, Voroshilov was appointed a member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. Stalin's death prompted major changes in the Soviet leadership and in March 1953, Voroshilov was approved as chairman of the Presidium (ie President of the Soviet Union) with Nikita Khrushchev as First Secretary of the Communist Party and Malenkov as Premier of the Soviet Union. Voroshilov, Georgy Malenkov and Khrushchev brought about the arrest of Lavrenty Beria after Stalin's death in 1953.

After Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin in 1956, Voroshilov temporarily joined the conservative faction of Malenkov, Lazar Kaganovich and Vyacheslav Molotov (the so-called "Anti-Party Group"), in an unsuccessful attempt to remove Khrushchev from power in June 1957, but he soon switched sides and supported Khrushchev.

On May 7, 1960, the Supreme Soviet granted Voroshilov's "request for retirement" and elected Leonid Brezhnev chairman of the Soviet Presidium (or state President). The Central Committee also relieved him of duties as a member of the Party Presidium (as the Politburo had been called since 1952) on July 16, 1960. In October 1961, his political defeat was complete at the 22nd party congress when he was excluded from election to the Central Committee.

After the downfall of Khrushchev, Brezhnev returned Voroshilov to politics, in a figurehead role. He was re-elected to the Central Committee in 1966 and was awarded a second medal of Hero of the Soviet Union 1968. He died in 1969 in Moscow. The KV series of tanks, used in World War II, was named after him. Two towns were named after him: Voroshilovgrad in Ukraine (now renamed Luhansk) and Voroshilov, in the Soviet Far East (now renamed Ussuriysk), as well as the Academy of Tank Troops of the Red Army in Moscow.

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Template:Commonscs:Kliment Jefremovič Voroilov de:Kliment Jefremowitsch Woroschilow fr:Kliment Vorochilov pl:Kliment Woroszyłow ru:Ворошилов, Климент Ефремович sk:Kliment Jefremovič Vorošilov sl:Kliment Jefremovič Vorošilov fi:Kliment Vorošilov sv:Kliment Vorosjilov zh:伏罗希洛夫

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