Lavr kornilov
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Lavr Kornilov. Rise to power and popularity. Fought in the Russo-Japanese war and was promoted to colonel Was a key general in WW1 Was captured by the Austrian-Hungarian army but escaped back to Russia, praised for his bravery. Initial involvement in the Revolution.

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Lavr Kornilov

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Lavr kornilov

Lavr Kornilov

Rise to power and popularity

Rise to power and popularity

  • Fought in the Russo-Japanese war and was promoted to colonel

  • Was a key general in WW1

  • Was captured by the Austrian-Hungarian army but escaped back to Russia, praised for his bravery

Initial involvement in the revolution

Initial involvement in the Revolution

  • Despite being a key figure in the military, Kornilov was heavily critical of Tsar Nicholas II

  • When Nicholas abdicated the throne in February 1917, he was appointed Supreme Commander of the army by Kerensky

  • Kornilov still wanted to fight the war, and led the only successful front in the June offensive

  • He favoured strict military order and martial law

The kornilov affair

The Kornilov affair

  • The Kornilov affair was a dispute between Alexander Kerensky and Kornilov, involving events in Petrograd. It was his major legacy on Russia and the revolution.

  • Kornilov was intent to restore military order within Petrograd and wanted to restructure the provisional government that had been set up. There was much tension between Kerensky and Kornilov as suspicions of Kornilov’s intentions grew.

  • Through miscommunication, Kornilov thought he had received instructions from Kerensky to restructure the government and Kornilov ordered to a Corp to impose martial law in Petrograd.

Kornilov affair

Kornilov affair

  • On September 9, Kerensky then fired Kornilov, suspecting he was going to set up a dictatorship

  • Kornilov then ordered his troops to advance on Petrograd and ‘save their dying land’

  • Kerensky responded by releasing Bolshevik troops from prison to quell the disturbance, and Kornilov’s movement was soon crushed as his supporters fled. He was arrested and sent to prison.

  • The Bolsheviks fought against Kornilov, but not for Kerensky

Kornilov affair1

Kornilov affair

  • There were massive outcomes from the Kornilov affair

  • Although retaining charge of the provisional government, Kerensky was weakened by the assault on power by Kornilov. He was discredited because of his previous trust with Kornilov

  • The Bolsheviks radical gained much power, as their suspicions of a radical coup was justified.

  • Kerensky releasing Bolshevik troops worked against him in the later struggle for power

Kornilov and the popular movement

Kornilov and the popular movement

  • Kornilov relied more on attained power and rank to impose himself as a leader

  • Once Commander in Chief, Kornilov gained a following because of his fierce determination and firm decisiveness

  • At the time of the Kornilov affair, many people were on his side, as historian Pyotr Deinichenko says

    “Kornilov had all chances of seizing power in the country. The officers and a major part of the Cossacks, entrepreneurs and intellectual elite were on his side. Kornilov could also rely on the support of the allies in Antanta, who nurtured hopes he wouldn’t allow Russia to step out of the war”

  • His chief of staff once called him "a man with a lion's heart and the brain of a sheep"

Fall from power

Fall from power

  • Kornilov did manage to escape from the prison he was sent to, and was leader of the ‘Volunteer army’, an anti-Bolshevik army that fought in the Civil war. It was the start of the White movement

  • Kornilov was killed in battle on 13 April 1918. A unit in the White Army was named after him in his memory.



  • The Kornilov affair was central to the Bolsheviks achieving more power and subsequent victory in the October revolution, incidentally against Kornilov’s wishes.

  • After the Kornilov uprising the officers had lost all authority. The soldiers refused to obey orders and left the front, homeward bound

  • No lasting legacy on Russia, but his failed military takeover added to the political disorder at the time .



  • Does a person necessarily have to be ahead of the popular movement?Should a leader be fully in charge of the events that occur?

  • Does the word ‘leader’ imply they have a following?

  • What is it that gives a leader legitimacy?

  • Must a leader have charisma?

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