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Vasily Blyukher
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Military Personnel
    (December 1, 1889-November 9, 1938)
    Born in Barschinka (then the Russian Empire)
    Full name was Vasily Konstantinovich Blyukher
    Soviet military commander, Marshal
    Prominent victim of Josef Stalin's Great Purge of the late 1930s
    Joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, in 1916
    While in Samara, joined the Russian Revolution, in 1917
    Suppressed Alexander Dutov's revolt, while serving as a Red Guard commissar in Chelyabinsk, in late November 1917
    Joined the Red Army, in 1918; soon after was promoted to status of commander
    Was arrested along with four staff members, stripped of his office, and imprisoned on October 22, 1938; later tried and convicted of espionage for the Japanese
    Death was officially made known and was posthumously rehabilitated by the government, in 1956
    His surname has led some to conclude that he was of German descent, when he wasn't.
    It doesn't help that the way his last name is pronounced, 'Blyukher' comes out sounding like Cloris Leachman's horse-tormenting 'Frau' in 'Young Frankenstein' ('Blucher!' *horses bray frantically*)
    He was accused of inadequate armed forces leadership during the battle of Lake Khasan of 1938, resulting in his dismissal from his post.
    Although the main contributory factor in the accusations against him was the defection of the NKVD chief in the Far East, Genrikh Lyushkov, to Japan.
    He is largely remembered as a victim of the Stalinist 'purges' of Red Army commanders in Soviet Russia, but he was as complicit in the infamous 'show trials' as any other soviet leader was.
    His involvement in the Soviet purges actually dated back to the 1937 with the 1937 execution of Mikhail Tukhachevsky, largely believed to have been the first such 'purge' (with Blyukher a member of the tribunal that convicted him).
    Reports as to whether he was shot to death on orders from Stalin or merely tortured to death vary, although his death remained a secret for decades which has since compounded the confusion.
    He could reportedly be heard during torture sessions vainly crying out 'Stalin! Don't you hear what they are doing to me?' (oh, Marshal, you naïve, young Bolshevik of forty-eight...)
    His skills as a diplomat were highly respected by 'Generalissimo' Chiang Kai-shek.
    He remains a national icon and hero in his home country.
    He joined the Russian Imperial Army and served as a corporal in WWI until he was discharged after being seriously wounded in the Great Retreat of 1915.
    During the Russian Civil War he was one of the outstanding figures on the Bolshevik side.
    After the Czech Legion Revolt started, he led a 10,000-strong South Urals Partisan Army in a 1,500 km march in 40 days of continuous fighting to attack the White forces before joining with regular Red Army units (Aug. – Sept. 1918).
    He defeated the Chinese warlord forces during the Russo-Chinese Chinese Eastern Railroad War of 1929-1930.
    For this military exploit, he became the first recipient of the Order of the Red Star in September 1930.
    While deployed in the Far East, he exhibited an unusual amount of independence for a Soviet military commander (probably made possible by the regional tension in the area which granted him immunity).
    This level of autonomy may have turned off leadership in the Soviet government, thereby resulting in him become the next target in their ongoing 'purge' of military personnel.
    He was never formally tried, but was imprisoned in the Lefortovo jail in Moscow where he was tortured, presumably until they extracted an espionage confession from him.
    The torture got to be so severe that one of his eyes was knocked out, which some reports claim caused him to slowly die from the blood loss. One account, though, claims that after enduring such torture he still refused to 'confess,' prompting the authorities to execute him on the spot.
    His wife and children were imprisoned in Siberian labor camps after his death.
    Whenever friends or family of Blyukher's asked of his whereabouts they were told that he was fighting in China under a pseudonym.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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