Semyon Timoshenko

By January is is abundantly clear even to the Kremlin that the war is not going according to plan. Surprised by the weight of world opinion, Stalin is a little shocked and perhaps even worried - the war is doing the Communist Party no favours at all, with the newspapers filled with stories of heroic Finns holding up against the apparently impotent Red Army. Peace feelers are opened with Finnish politicians behind the scenes, offering the terms the Soviets had asked for before the war started in exchange for an end to hostilities, but the Finnish politicians turn them down, still holding out for intervention from foreign powers.

Stalin also ordered a shakeup in the Soviet command. The Red Army had suffered greatly under the disastrous leadership of Kliment Voroshilov, who was now removed from operational command. Semyon Timoshenko, a competent military man who had been saved from the Great Purge by virtue of being a close friend of Stalin, was placed in command in his place. Timoshenko had distinguished himself in the brief Polish campaign earlier in that year, and he immediately went to work, with a thorough shakeup of the Red Army's command.

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