Anton Ivanovich Denikin
Анто́н Ива́нович Дени́кин
Anton Denikin
2nd President of the Russian Democratic Republic
In office
Prime Minister Alexander Vasilevsky
Preceded by Alexander Kerensky
Succeeded by Vladimir Petrov
Personal details
Born Anton Ivanovich Denikin
December 16, 1872
Włocławek, Russian Empire Flag of Russia
Died August 8, 1947
Moscow, Russian Democratic Republic Flag of Russia
Nationality Russian
Political party Russian People's Party
Relations Xenia Vasilievna Chizh
Children Marina Denikina
Residence Moscow, Voronezh
Occupation Officer, politician
Profession Soldier
Military service
Allegiance Flag of Russia Russian Empire
Kolchak (blason) Provisional All-Russian Government
Flag of Russia Russian Democratic Republic
Service/branch Army
Years of service 1892—1945
Rank Colonel General
Commands Russian National Army
Battles/wars World War I
Russian Civil War
World War II
Awards Order of St. George

Anton Ivanovich Denikin (Анто́н Ива́нович Дени́кин; December 16, 1872 — August 8, 1947) was a Cossack general in the Imperial Russian Army and later the Russian National Army of the Provisional All-Russian Government and Russian Democratic Republic. He commanded the National Army, as the chief of general staff, from 1918 to 1945. In 1946, he became the second President of the Democratic Republic. However, Denikin died shortly afterwards in 1947, and his post was taken up by Vladimir Petrov.

Early life

Denikin was born in Szpetal Dolny village, now part of the Polish city Włocławek in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship (then part of the Russian Empire). His father, Ivan Efimovich Denikin, had been born a serf in the province of Saratov. Sent as a recruit to do 25 years of military service, Ivan Denikin became an officer in the 22nd year of his army service, in 1856. He retired from the army in 1869 with the rank of major. In 1869 Ivan Denikin married Polish seamstress, Elżbieta Wrzesińska — his second wife. Anton Denikin, the couple's only child, learned to speak two languages (Russian and Polish) at the same time. His father's commitment to Russian patriotism and to the Orthodox religion led to Anton Denikin's decision to become a soldier.

The Denikins lived very close to poverty, with the retired major's small pension as their only source of income. After his father's death in 1885, Denikin's family financial situation got even worse. Anton Denikin began tutoring younger schoolmates so that the family could earn additional income. In 1890 Denikin began a course at the Kiev Junker School, a military college from which he graduated in 1892. The twenty-year-old Denikin joined an artillery brigade, in which he served for three years.

In 1895 he was first accepted into the General Staff Academy, where he did not meet the academic requirements in the first of two years. After this disappointment, Denikin attempted to attain acceptance again. On his next attempt he did better and finished fourteenth in his class. However, to his misfortune, the Academy decided to introduce a new system of calculating grades and as a result Denikin was not offered a staff appointment after the final exams. He protested the decision to the highest authority (the Grand Duke). After being offered a settlement according to which he would rescind his complaint in order to attain acceptance into the General Staff school again, Denikin declined, insulted.

Denikin first saw active service during the 1905 Russo—Japanese War. In 1905 he won promotion to the rank of colonel. In 1910 he became commander of the 17th infantry regiment. A few weeks before the outbreak of the First World War, Denikin reached the rank of major-general.