Col. Fedor Ivanovich Eliseev Kuban cossack WWI French Foreign Legion officer WWII

Col. Fedor Ivanovich Eliseev. Born 1892 in the Kuban region, he volunteered for the 1st Koshevoi Ataman Chepega’s Yekaterinodar Regiment of the 3rd Caucasian Cossack Division in 1910 then was picked for officers (junkers) training and, by 1914, was a cornet (ensign) with the 1st Catherine’s Viceroy General-Field Marshal Prince Potemkin’s Caucasian Regiment of the Kuban Cossack Host. Rising to the rank of captain, he was sent to join the Tsar’s own Konvoy Cossacks in 1917 then, post Revolution, sent back to the front. Casting his lot with the Whites, he would evenutually rise to the rank of colonel and eventually inherit command of the battered 2nd Kuban Cossack division in 1920. Escaping to France, he formed a Cossack circus group performing the traditional Kuban dzhigitovka horse gymnastics and toured the globe throughout the 1930s, ranging as far as Singapore and Shanghai. In the Far East when WWII began, he enlisted in the French Foreign Legion in Indochina in 1939, eventually fighting the Japanese there and earning the Croix de Guerre before the war was over. Returning to private life, he reformed his circus and toured Europe as late as 1948. Eliseev then settled in New York and died there in 1987, aged 95.

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