Alexander Vasilyevich Kolchak was born on November 16, 1874, in St Petersburg to a stabs-kapitan in the naval artillery. Kolchak received his primary education at home and then studied at the St Petersburg Sixth Classical Gymnasium. In 1894, he graduated from the Naval Cadet Corps and was assigned to the cruiser Rurik. During this time, he served in the Pacific. On December 6, 1898, Kolchak was promoted to lieutenant. In 1899, he returned to Kronstadt. There he studied oceanography and hydrology, and also went on a number of polar and sea expeditions. In 1903, he married Sofya Omirova in St Petersburg before leaving for Port Arthur. He fought in the Russo-Japanese War, during which time he was seriously wounded and taken prisoner. In April 1905, Kolchak returned to St Petersburg and received a number of military awards, as well as the rank of captain 2nd rank. In 1906, he joined the Naval General Staff. During World War I, he developed a plan for the defense of St Petersburg and the Gulf of Finland, as well as for blocking German naval bases in the Baltic. From September 1915, Kolchak commanded a mining division and then naval forces in the Gulf of Riga. In April 1916, he was promoted to rear admiral. Just months later, he was appointed commander of the Black Sea Fleet in July 1916.¹

In June 1917, the Sevastopol Soviet decided to disarm Kolchak and his officers. He was summoned in August by Kerensky to Petrograd, where he forced Kolchak to resign. Kolchak was then sent to San Francisco at the invitation of the US Navy. On the way back from the US at the end of the year through Japan, he was informed about the October coup. On October 13, 1918, Kolchak arrived in Omsk, and on November 4 he was offered the post of naval minister in the Provisional All-Russian Government (the Directory). On November 18, after a coup by Cossack officers, he was elected by remaining Directory members by secret ballot as supreme ruler. He also assumed the title of supreme commander.²

In early 1919, Kolchak received the blessing from Patriarch Tikhon to fight the Bolsheviks. His army launched an offensive in March 1919 aimed at Samara and Kazan, and in a month his troops had occupted the entire Urals region. However, by May, due to what seems like Kolchak's misunderstanding of the military situation as a whole, the troops were stretched out and could not be adequately supplied. The Red Army thus managed to organize a counteroffensive and stop the White Army in the Urals. In June, Kolchak received an offer from Carl Gustaf Mannerheim to send an army of 100,000 to Petrograd in exchange for recognizing Finland's independence. Kolchak, however, refused. In August 1919, Kolchak troops abandoned Ufa, Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg. On January 4, 1920, Kolchak signed his last decree in Nizhneudinsk, transferring supreme power to General Anton Denikin. A day later, a coup was carried out in Irkutsk by the Mensheviks and SRs, and on January 15 Kolchak, who was traveling with a Czechoslovak echelon, was handed over to the so-called “Political Center” outside of Irkutsk. On January 21, the SRs in Irkutsk transferred power to a Bolshevik military committee. Until February 6, Kolchak was interrogated by a revolutionary committee before being executed on the night of February 6-7, shot on the banks of the Ushakovka River on the orders of the military committee.³

The Kolchak family left Russia in 1919. His widow and children settled in Paris. His son Rostislav (1910-65) left for Algeria in 1932 and fought for France in World War II. In 1940, he was captured by the Germans on the Belgian border. Kolchak's grandson, Alexander (1933-2019), lived in Paris, fought in Algeria (1954-62) and worked as a cartoonist in a Parisian newspaper; he also lived in America and played jazz.⁴
Alexandr Vasilyevich Kolchak (1874-1920)

Aleksandr Vasilyevich Kolchak
[1] Drokov, Sergey. ‘Aleksandr Vasil’yevich Kolchak’. Voprosy Istorii, no. 1 (1991).Д/drokov-sergej-vladimirovich/aleksandr-vasiljevich-kolchak.
[2] Shishkin, Vladimir. ‘Voyennyy i Morskoy Ministr Vremennogo Vserossiyskogo Pravitel’stva A. V. Kolchak’. Vestnik NGU 7, no. 1 (istoriya) (2008): 54—65.
[3] Obshchestvenno-istoricheskiy klub ‘Belaya Rossiya’. ‘Kolchak Aleksandr Vasil’yevich’. Obshchestvenno-Istoricheskiy Klub ‘Belaya Rossiya’, 21 October 2009.
[4] Bykov, Aleksey. ‘V Parizhe Umer Yedinstvennyy Vnuk Admirala Kolchaka’. Kommercheskiye Vesti, 10 March 2019.

Made on