1940: Udham Singh, Jallianwala Bagh massacre avenger 1872: Christopher Marlow, brewer

1938: Mikhail Viktorov, Soviet naval commander

August 1st, 2018 Headsman

Soviet admiral* Mikhail Viktorov fell in the purges on this date in 1938.

A young officer fresh from the Naval Academy when World War I broke out, Viktorov (English Wikipedia entry | Russian) made a timely switch to the Bolshevik side during the Civil War and scaled the heights of the Soviet navy.

He commanded the Baltic Fleet in the latter 1920s, and the Pacific Fleet in the 1930s, and finally — fleetingly — became chief of the Soviet navy in 1937, filling dead man’s boots when his predecessor was arrested and executed.**

The same fate awaited Viktorov, a perilous occupational hazard in those days.

He was rehabilitated posthumously in 1956.

* Viktorov’s rank was “Fleet’s Flag Officer, First Rank”; in 1938, this was the equivalent of admiral, and after a 1940 reorganization it was replaced full stop with admiral.

** It appears to me that fully seven consecutive heads of the Soviet Navy eventually ended up executed in the 1930s and 1940s (not all of them directly deposed from running the navy). Pantserzhanskiy, Zof, Muklevich, Orlov, our man Viktorov, and also his successors Smirnov and Frinovsky.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,History,Posthumous Exonerations,Power,Russia,Shot,Soldiers,Treason,USSR

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One thought on “1938: Mikhail Viktorov, Soviet naval commander”

  1. Stalin was paranoid and quite mad. He saw any high officer as a threath to his regime and constantly purged the army and fleet. The result was that both services were severely crippled and Russia barely managed to defeat the invading Third Reich…

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