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February 7

In 1920, on this fateful day the Siberian City of Irkutsk was relieved by White Forces under the command of General Vladimir Kappel, Prime Minister, Viktor Pepelyayev and Admiral Alexander Vasilyevich Kolchak rescued from execution [1].

White Forces relieve IrkutskBut despite this reprieve, the situation was fundamentally unchanged: the Reds had gotten a hold of the middle of Russia, the industrial heartland, which combined with their advantages in organisational unity put the Whites, a divided and peripheral movement, in a hopeless position. Also, Kolchak had aroused the dislike of potential allies including the Czechoslovak Legion and the Polish 5th Rifle Division.

Setting off on the Trans-Siberian Railway, Kolchak set off the gain more support for the White cause. But by the time he arrived in Paris, it was all over and he chose to stay with his wife and son. A lifetime of obscurity appeared certain, until twenty years later a second chance arose when he was invited to lead local forces during Operation Barbarossa. It would be a bloody nemesis.