Andrei Vlasov was born to a peasant family on September 1, 1901, in the village of Lomakino, Nizhnii Novgorod province (Pokrovskaia volost, Sergachevskii district). He was educated at a rural school and the Nizhnii Novgorod Theological Seminary. In 1919, he decided to study agronomy at Nizhnii Novgorod State University before joining the Red Army during the Civil War. He fought on the Southern Front, officially beginning his military career in 1920. In 1923, Vlasov became a company commander.¹
In the 1920s, he studied military theory and taught at higher military institutions. He joined the Communist Party in December 1930. In 1939, with the rank of colonel, he was sent as a military adviser to China to advise General Yan Xishan, governor of Shanxi Province. In 1940, he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner and promoted to major general. At the outbreak of World War II, he was the commander of the 4th Mechanized Corps around Lvov. In July, he commanded the 37th Army of the Southwestern Front near Kiev. In November, he personally met with Stalin in Moscow. He led the 20th Army of the Western Front and was involved in the Soviet counteroffensive in the Battle of Moscow. In January 1942, he was promoted to lieutenant general. On March 8, he became deputy commander of the Volkhov Front. He led the 2nd Shock Army during the Battle of Lyuban in March 1942. In June, when the army was surrounded, he refused to evacuate. On July 11, he was identified in the village of Tukhovezhi and surrendered to German troops.²
Vlasov was handed over to an army patrol of the 38th Infantry Corps of the Wehrmacht 18th Army led by Captain von Schwerdtner and Sonderführer Pelhau. On July 15, he was sent to the Letzen POW camp in East Prussia before being moved to a camp at Vinnytsia. In the latter camp, he became close with Colonel Vladimir Baerskii. Together they submitted to the German command a memorandum to create a political core around which to build an anti-Stalinist Russian army. Together with Major General Vasilii Malyshkin, Brigadier Commissar Georgii Zhilenkov, Battalion Commissar Milety Zykov and Smolensk Mayor Boris Menshagin, Vlasov appealed in the so-called Smolensk Declaration to soldiers and commanders of the Red Army. In 1943, he made trips to the occupied territories, including Ostrov, Siversky, Pskov and Smolensk. For a long time, he lived in Dahlem near Berlin, where he was under house arrest. In 1943-44, he attended the ROA school in Dabendorf and met with ROCOR and NTS representatives. Met SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler. On November 14, 1944, Vlasov unveiled the Prague Manifesto and headed up the Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia and its armed wing. In December 1944-January 1945, through third parties and correspondence, he kept in touch with Pyotr Krasnov.
In February 1945, Vlasov moved to Karlovy Vary. On March 1, he met with Joseph Goebbels. Vlasov was under the supervision of SS representatives, led by Oberführer Erhard Kroeger. On April 13, he married the widow of an SS officer, Heidi von Billenberg. Along with Major General Sergei Bunyachenko, Vlasov led the ROA in Czechia. On May 8-11, he negotiated with the command of the American army in Pilsen to get political asylum for ROA soldiers. During a trip to negotiate, he was captured by a 162nd Tank Brigade battalion, led by Captain Mikhail Yakushev. Vlasov was arrested and taken to the Soviet occupation zone before being sent to Moscow. On the night of August 1, 1946, he was hanged at Butyrka Prison.³