1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kuropatkin, Alexei Nikolaievich

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KUROPATKIN, ALEXEI NIKOLAIEVICH (1848–  ), Russian general, was born in 1848 and entered the army in 1864. From 1872 to 1874 he studied at the Nicholas staff college, after which he spent a short time with the French troops in Algiers. In 1875 he was employed in diplomatic work in Kashgaria and in 1876 he took part in military operations in Turkistan, Kokan and Samerkand. In the war of 1877–78 against Turkey he earned a great reputation as chief of staff to the younger Skobelev, and after the war he wrote a detailed and critical history of the operations which is still regarded as the classical work on the subject and is available for other nations in the German translation by Major Krahmer. After the war he served again on the south-eastern borders in command of the Turkestan Rifle Brigade, and in 1881 he won further fame by a march of 500 miles from Tashkent to Geok-Tēpē, taking part in the storming of the latter place. In 1882 he was promoted major-general, at the early age of 34, and he henceforth was regarded by the army as the natural successor of Skobelev. In 1890 he was promoted lieutenant-general, and thirteen years later, having acquired in peace and war the reputation of being one of the foremost soldiers in Europe, he quitted the post of minister of war which he then held and took command of the Russian army then gathering in Manchuria for the contest with Japan. His ill-success in the great war of 1904–5, astonishing as it seemed at the time, was largely attributable to his subjection to the superior command of Admiral Alexeiev, the tsar’s viceroy in the Far East, and to internal friction amongst the generals, though in his history of the war (Eng. trans., 1909) he frankly admitted his own mistakes and paid the highest tribute to the gallantry of the troops who had been committed to battle under conditions unfavourable to success. After the defeat of Mukden and the retirement of the whole army to Tieling he resigned the command to General Linievich, taking the latter officer’s place at the head of one of the three armies in Manchuria. (See Russo-Japanese War.)