Yakir, Yona [Якір, Йона; Jakir, Jona], b 15 August 1896 in Kishinev, Bessarabia, d 12 June 1937 in Moscow. Soviet military and political figure. He commanded Red Guard units in Moldavia and southern Ukraine and then led several Red Army units against the Volunteer Army and the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic. During the Ukrainian-Soviet War, 1917–21, he served on the southwestern front, and from December 1920 he commanded the 14th Army. After the war he commanded several military districts, including the Kyiv Military District (from 1935). He was elected to the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine several times and became a candidate (1927) and full member (1930) of its Politburo. In 1937, after being appointed commander of the Leningrad Military District, he was arrested in the purge of the Red Army during the Yezhov terror and executed.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]