Rodion Yakovlevich Malinovsky, born 23-11-1898 in Odessa in the Russian Empire to a Karaite father and a Ukrainian mother. Malinovsky was only 15 at the start of World War I in July 1914, but he decided to sneak aboard a train to the front lines to fight against the German Empire and Austria-Hungary . His age was discovered, but his commanders later allowed him to fight alongside the regular soldiers on the Eastern Front. In October 1915 he was badly wounded, but returned to service in 1916 as a member of the Russian expeditionary force that served with the French Foreign Legion on the Western Front in northern France. He was promoted to senior NCO at the end of the war and had been awarded the Croix de Guerre for his services. In 1919, he returned home to Odessa and joined the Red Army at the start of the Russian Civil War and fought with distinction in the campaign in Siberia against Admiral Alexander ” “Kolchak the Polar” Kolchak’s White Army there. Kolchack died 07-02-1920, age 45, in Russia, Malinovski graduated from the Frunze Military Academy in 1930 and volunteered for service with the communist forces that fought against Francisco Franco‘s republican forces during the Spanish Civil War.
He was married twice and his first wife – Larisa Nikolaevna, was a teacher of French. He met her in Irkutsk. Married in August 1925. In 1926, the couple had a son, Gennady (died in 1930 from meningitis). In 1929, the son of Robert was born, later a doctor of technical sciences.
In 1934, the son of Edward was born, later a music teacher. During the Great Patriotic War, after the Nazi capture of Ukraine, the mother took both sons from Kiev, first to Moscow, and then to Irkutsk. In July 1945, on the way to a new duty station in Irkutsk, he took the family to his echelon, and the family reunited after 4 years of war. But to restore relations with his wife failed. In 1946, Malinovsky divorced his first wife. His second wife was Raisa Yakovlevna Halperina (maiden name – Kucherenko; for her first husband – Halperin; 1920-1997). He met her in the summer of 1942 when leaving the encirclement. Raisa was a servant of the army bath and laundry plant, drew attention to her when she correctly counted the enemy tanks and excelled in intelligence gathering. In 1943, Raisa was awarded the Order of the Red Star from the hands of the front commander of Malinowski. In 1944, Rodion Yakovlevich transferred Raisa to his front headquarters and appointed the head of the canteen of the Military Council. After the war, they got married. From her first marriage she had a son German (born in 1936). In 1946, a couple in Khabarovsk gave birth to a daughter, Natalia, later a philologist.
Upon returning home in 1938, Malinovski was awarded the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of Lenin , the two highest accolades of the Soviet Union’s military. During Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 during World War II, Semyon Timoshenko promoted Malinovsky to Major-General and assigned him to command the Soviet 9th Army. He served in the Battle of Stalingrad as one of the major army commanders of the Soviet side, and he is credited with the victory over the Germans alongside Vasily Chuikov and Georgi Zhukov. In late 1943 he was given command of the 3rd Ukrainian Front and served in the Crimea, where he helped with the relief of the Siege of Sevastopol. From December 1943 to April 1944 he launched an offensive against Germany’s Army Group South before the start of Operation Bagration and liberated large parts of the Ukraine from Axis control, capturing the cities of Kherson and Odessa and liberating the Crimea from Axis control.In May 1944, he took command of the 2nd Ukrainian Front , another major force in Operation Bagration. He led his front into the Balkans to fight against Germany, Romania, and Bulgaria, and was able to inflict defeats on Ion Antonescu‘s Romanian forces. By late August, King Michael I of Romania appealed to his troops to lay down their arms, and Romania was overrun swiftly by Soviet forces. Bulgaria fell without much resistance at all, and Malinovsky moved north into Hungary with the help of the Romanian 1st Army and Romanian 4th Army. His goal was to create a “German Stalingrad”, and he wound up capturing 70,000 German and Hungarian troops and capturing the capital of German-occupied Hungary. The victory here led to the collapse of German forces in southern Europe, and he moved north into Czechoslovakia. He was able to liberate the second-largest Czech city of Brno and the First Slovak Republic;s capital of Bratislava before the end of April, and in May, he ended the war in Czechoslovakia. After the German surrender, Malinovsky was transferred to command Soviet forces in the Far East to defeat Japanese forces in Manchukuo, as promised to the Allies. In August, his forces pushed into Manchukuo and captured the capital city of Harbin (Shenyang), along with other key Japanese cities such as Mukden. The fall of Manchuria persuaded the Japanese to surrender to the United States on 02-09-1945, only a day after the six-year mark of World War II. From 1947 to 1953, he was the Supreme Commander of the Far-East Forces, and had the Soviet Union joined the Korean War with their army, Malinovsky would have commanded the Soviet troops. From 1953 to 1964 he was the commander-in-chief of the Soviet Army and Deputy Minister of Defense under Georgy Zhukov, holding high rank under his friend, the Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev.
Death and burial ground of Malinovski, Rodion Jakovlevitsj.
After the overthrow of Krushchev in 1964, Malinovsky retired, and he died 31-03-1967, aged 68, in Moscow, Russian SFSR. Official medical report mentions metastatic pancreatic cancer. and is his ashes are buried in the Moscow Kremlin Wall. The Wall photo is from Radek Hroch.