Ivan Stepanovich Konev

Rank: Marshal of the USSR
Fate: Died Moscow 1973, aged 75
Bio: As a 19 year old Russian peasant, Ivan Konev was conscripted into the Tsarist army to fight in the First World War. He later fought with the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War, and chose to stay on in army. He attended military academy and rose through the ranks.
In May 1941 Konev was appointed commander of the 19th Army in Ukraine. The German invasion began a few weeks later. The first weeks of the war were disastrous for the Red Army, but Konev handled his troops with skill and fought stubborn defensive battles during the retreat towards Moscow. As a result he was promoted to command of the Western Front, guarding the approach to the Soviet capital.
But in the opening stages of the German assault on Moscow, most of Konev’s troops became encircled near Vyazma, resulting in their death or capture. Stalin wanted Konev arrested and shot. But General Zhukov intervened, and persuaded Stalin to spare Konev.
Konev served as Zhukov’s deputy for a short time, before returning to senior command. He was heavily involved in the bloody and wasteful Soviet offensives around Rzhev in 1942, and following the Battle of Kursk in 1943, he led the counter-offensive that began the liberation of Ukraine. For success in these operations Konev was promoted to Marshal.
In 1945, encouraged by Stalin, Zhukov and Konev took part in ‘a race’ toBerlin. Konev’s 1st Ukrainian Front approached Berlin from the southeast, and played a crucial role in the encirclement and conquest of the city.
Konev was one of Russia’s greatest military leaders. He was said to be Stalin’s favourite general, admired by the dictator for his ruthlessness, and twice decorated as a Hero of the Soviet Union.