Khruschev Reports To Stalin On Condition Of Critically Wounded General NikolaiVatutin, 1944

Nikolai Fedorovich Vatutin was the General Staff's Chief of Operations when the Germans invaded Russia. He was a favorite of Stalin who considered him one of the more original and daring Soviet commanders. In 1942, Vatutin took command of the Southwestern Front , which helped to encircle the German 6th Army at Stalingrad. In 1943 he played a key role in the Battle of Kursk. His troops liberated the city of Belgorod, which Stalin ordered to be marked by an artillery salute in Moscow - the first such celebration of the war. In November 1943 he liberated Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine. In February 1944, Vatutin's staff car was ambushed by Ukrainian nationalist partisans. The general was seriously injured and died six weeks later when his wounds became infected. While Vatutin was being operated on by the doctors, Stalin asked Nikita Khruschev who was then a General-Commissar in the Red Army, to keep him apprised of his condition. After his death Stalin sent this telegram to Stalin: "The professors wanted to perform an autopsy on Comrade Vatutin's body. His wife protested against it. After my conversation with the professors, they agreed not to insist, because, as a result of prolonged observation of the patient, the cause of death is known precisely, and an autopsy cannot reveal anything new. For those reasons it was agreed not to perform an autopsy. To organize Vatutin's funeral, a government commission has been formed.....signed in red ink, "N.Khruschev." The telegram perhaps suggests  Khruschev's sensitivity to Stalin's paranoia

Vatutin And Khruschev At The Warfront, 1943

Khruschev LeadsVatutin's State Funeral In Moscow, 1944

Khruschev At The Gravesite

Mourners & Family At The Funeral