Sunday, March 15, 2015
Red Army commander in chief. Of peasant origins, from Courland, Latvia, Vācietis joined the czarist army (1891) and graduated from Vilno Infantry Academy (1897) and the General Staff Academy (1909).
In World War I, Vācietis was an infantry battalion commander, was promoted to colonel, and commanded the 5th Zemgalsky Latvian Rifle Regiment, a rare national minority based formation. He backed the Bolsheviks in October while retaining the loyalty of his regiment. Appointed Twelfth Army Commander, he participated in the takeover of the czarist General Staff Headquarters at Mogilev (November 1917) and was head of operational field staff under Stavka (December 1917).Vācietis also suppressed the revolt of Polish general Josef Dowbór-Musnitsky in Belorussia (January– February 1918).
During the Russian Civil War, Vācietis continued to command the remnants of his Latvian regiment, renamed the Soviet Latvian Rifle Corp and then Division (March–April 1918).
From July to September 1918 he commanded the Eastern Front. He was the first commander-in-chief of the Red Army (RKKA), a member of the Revolutionary Military Council (September 4, 1918 – July 8, 1919). In July he was arrested under the false accusation of membership in a counter-revolutionary reactionary White Guardist organization, but was soon released.
In 1922 he became a professor of the RKKA Military Academy (future Frunze Military Academy). During this time, he wrote several books, most notable among them being 'Latvian Riflemen's Historical Importance'.
In 1935 he has been assigned a personal rank of Comandarm 2nd rank.
On November 29, 1937 he was arrested as a member of the alleged "Latvian Fascist Organization within the RKKA", and executed in 1938. He was rehabilitated in 1957.