Yakov Zhilinskiy

Yakov Zhilinskiy
Native name Яков Григорьевич Жилинский
Born (1853-03-27)27 March 1853
Mikhaylov, Ryazan Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 1918
Russian Empire
Allegiance  Russian Empire
Service/branch Russian Imperial Army
Years of service 1876–1917
Rank General
Commands held

Yakov Zhilinskiy (Russian: Я́ков Григо́рьевич Жили́нский; 27 March 1853 – 1918) was Chief of Staff of the Imperial Russian Army in Manchuria during the Russo-Japanese War, Governor-General of Warsaw, and Chief of Staff of all Russian forces until 1914, and thereafter a field commander during the first year of World War I until he was relieved of command.


Zhilinskiy—also spelled Zhilinski, Zhilinsky, or Jilinski—was born into a family of minor nobility from Mikhaylov,[1] :225 Ryazan Governorate. He graduated from the Nicholas Cavalry School in St. Petersburg in 1876, and was assigned to the Horse Guards Regiment of the Imperial Guard as a cornet. In 1883, he graduated from General Staff Academy, and after serving as a senior aide to the staff of the 1st Grenadier Division, he served from 14 February 1894 on the Military Scientific Committee of the General Staff, a military intelligence organization responsible for the study of foreign countries.

During the Spanish–American War Zhilinskiy was Russian military observer with the Spanish Army in Cuba. On his return, he published a book on the war, which analyzed the causes of the defeat of Spain.[1]:225 In 1899, Zhilinskiy served as a member of Russian delegation at the Hague Peace Conference. He was appointed commander of the 52nd Dragoons Regiment from August 1899. In 1900, he was promoted to the rank of major general and was appointed Quartermaster general.

In the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), Zhilinskiy was Chief of Staff to the Viceroy of the Far East, Admiral Yevgeni Alexeyev, until Alexeyev was dismissed in October 1904.[1]:438 He remained in the combat zone to serve the Minister of War, Aleksey Kuropatkin until the end of the conflict. From 27 January 1906 he was commander of the 14th Cavalry Division in Poland, and from 7 July 1907 of the 10th Army Corps. Promoted to Cavalry general on 18 April 1910, Zhilinskiy was appointed commander of the Warsaw Military District and Governor-General of Warsaw in 1911.

Zhilinskiy also served from 22 February 1911 to 4 March 1914 as Chief of Staff of the Imperial Russian Army. At the beginning of World War I, he assumed command of the Northwestern Front. The Northwestern Front included the 1st Army and 2nd Army under the command of General Paul von Rennenkampf and General Alexander Samsonov. After the unsuccessful East Prussian Campaign and the losses at the Battle of Tannenberg and the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes, he was relieved of command despite his best attempts to blame Rennenkampf for the fiasco.[2] Zhilinskiy was sent as a military representative to France from 1915–1916. He was recalled to Russia in the autumn of 1916. On 19 September 1917, he was ordered to retire.[1]:438

After the October Revolution, he attempted to flee Russia, but was killed in south Russia in undetermined circumstances.[3]



  1. 1 2 3 4 Kowner, Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War
  2. Loscher. Page 624
  3. First World War.com


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