Georgi K. Zhukov
Name at birth: Georgi Konstantinovich Zhukov
Known for his tactical and strategical abilities, Georgi K. Zhukov was the most outstanding Russian commander during World War II. Born a peasant, Zhukov spent his life in the army, first in the Russian Imperial Army (1915) and then in the Red Army (after 1918). He studied military tactics in Germany in the 1920s and saw action against the Japanese during the Manchurian border clashes of the late 1930s. During World War II he was instrumental in the defense of Leningrad and Stalingrad, then commanded the Russian army in the offensive against German forces, finally accepting the Nazi surrender in Berlin on May 8, 1945. Zhukov emerged from the war as one of Russia's biggest war heroes. After the war he served in administrative posts and retired in 1957.
One story has it that Zhukov escaped being purged by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin because of an administrative clerical error.