Gen. Vasily Iosifovich Romeyko-Gurko speaking in exile in Bulgaria, 1923

The swashbuckling Gen. Vasily Iosifovich Romeyko-Gurko speaking in exile in Bulgaria, 1923, hard-earned orders of Sts. George, Vladimir, Anna, and Stanislaus on his chest. Born to a noble family in 1864, he graduated from the General Staff Academy in 1892 and rode with the Boers against the British then served as attache to Berlin. Commanding a cossack brigade in the Russo-Japanese war, he then later served as the chairman of the commiison to learn lessons from Russia’s shellacking in that conflict. Commanding the famed 1st Cavalry Division under Rennenkampf, his troopers were the first to raid over the Prussian frontier in August 1914. He later rose to command the Sixth Army Corps, then the 5th Army and ultimately replaced the ailing Mikhail Alexeev in late 1916 as overall chief of staff at Stavka. Thrown into prison after the March revolution, he was released and skipped the country for the west. While he turned down a command with the White Volunteer armies during the Civil War, Gurko was a force in the ROVs throughout the 1920s and 30s, as witnessed by the above image. He died in Italy in 1937 and is buried in Rome.

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