Semyon Mikhailovich Budyonny is the hero of the Civil War, an outstanding Soviet military commander, one of the first marshals of the USSR. He was born on the farm of Kozyurin in the Salsky district of the Don Army region (now it is the Rostov region) in a poor peasant family. When Semyon was 9 years old, his father was forced to give his son to a local merchant as a farmhand. After a year of hard work, having paid off his father’s debts, Semyon never returned to the family. The smart boy quickly realized that without education he would be a farmhand all his life. He reached an agreement with the merchant’s clerk that he would teach him to read and write in exchange for small work. At the age of 20, Budyonny was drafted into the army and served in the Far East. He decided to stay on long-term service and soon took part in the Russian-Japanese War of 1904-1905 as a part of the Don Cossack regiment. At the end of the war, Budyonny, who proved himself the best rider of the regiment, was sent to St. Petersburg to the Cavalry Officer School for equestrian courses. He served in the Primorsky Dragoon Regiment after graduation. Budyonny met the First World War with the rank of senior non-commissioned officer. He participated in the German, Austrian and Caucasian fronts and for his bravery was awarded the “full St. George’s bow” – St. George’s Crosses 4th degree and St. George medals of the 4th degree. After the October Revolution, Semyon Mikhailovich returned to his native village, where he engaged in public work. However, with the outbreak of the Civil War, he was forced to go back to fight. Budyonny organized a revolutionary cavalry detachment that acted against the White Guards on the Don. Soon he joined the 1st Cavalry peasant Regiment, commanded by B. M. Dumenko. Budyonny’s military career developed rapidly, and already in the second half of 1919 he led the Cavalry Corps that fought with the detachments of Wrangel and Denikin. In November of the same year, the Cavalry Corps was renamed the First Cavalry Army, which Budyonny led until 1923. After the end of the Civil War, Semyon Mikhailovich was appointed as the deputy commander of the North Caucasus Military District. In this position, he was able to do what he loved, organizing stud farms around the country and breeding new breeds of horses. As a result of many years of painstaking work, two new breeds were bred — Budennovskaya and Terskaya. In 1932 Budyonny graduated from Military Academy and 3 years later received the title of Marshal of the Soviet Union. However, during the Great Patriotic War, Semyon Mikhailovich could not adapt to the new tactics of warfare and in 1942 was removed from command positions. He was appointed to the honorary but formal post of commander of the Red Army Cavalry and a member of the Supreme Military Council of the People’s Commissariat of Defence of the USSR, and in 1954 Budyonny resigned.
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