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Vasily Chapayev
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Military Personnel
    (February 9, 1887-September 5, 1919)
    Born in Budayka (now part of Cheboksary), Russian Federation
    Red Army commander during the Russian Civil War
    Joined the Bolsheviks (September 1917)
    Commanded the 138 Infantry Regiment, 2nd Nikolaev Division, and 25th Rifle Division
    Shot and drowned in the Ural river while escaping from White Army forces attacking his division near Lbishchensk
    Immortalized by Soviet propaganda in the form of Dmitri Furmanov's book 'Chapaev' and a movie of the same name directed by the Vasilyev brothers
    He lived with the widow of his fellow soldier while still legally married to his wife.
    To confuse things further, both his wife and the widow he lived with were named Pelageya, and he adopted the latter's children.
    He was the butt of many jokes in Russia as a backlash against his image used for propaganda.
    Over time, facts about him and the myths Soviet propaganda perpetuated were so intertwined that people have a hard time differentiating fiction from fact.
    Some historians have downplayed his involvement in the Russian Civil War.
    He grew up in a poor peasant family.
    He was awarded the Cross of St. George three times during World War I.
    Under his command, the 25th Rifle Division suffered no defeats.
    Furmanov described him as resolute, resourceful, and experienced, and it helped that Furmanov was the commissar of the 25th Rifle Division who had a firsthand account of Chapayev.
    The town where he died near in was renamed in his honor.

Credit: Big Lenny


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