Marshal Novikov participated in many further operations, but continued to operate in much the same capacity, that of Stavka air representative, often commanding and coordinating air resources for multiple fronts.  A list of his battles includes the Kuban, Kursk, and Kiev (1943); Korsun, Ternopol, the relief of Leningrad, the Karelian campaign, and operation ‘Bagration’ (1944); the Vistula-Oder operation, Konigsberg, Berlin and the campaign against Japan (1945).  This constant presence of Novikov was recognized with another promotion, to Chief Air Marshal, on 21 February 1944.[23]  Among his many honors, Alexander Alexandrovich Novikov was twice named a Hero of the Soviet Union.[24]

After the war Marshal Novikov began working to bring his air force into the jet age.  Sadly, before the first Yak-9 was flight-tested he was arrested on the order of Stalin.  This occurred on 23 February 1946, and Novikov was far from the only senior military officer caught in Stalin’s ‘purge of the victors’. Stripped of title, rank and decorations, he was left to the tender mercies of Lavrentii Beria’s prisons for almost six years.[25]  Novikov was released in May 1953, two months after Stalin’s death.  By June, with rank and decorations restored, he was again in a place of honor as Commander of Long-Range Aviation and Air Force Deputy Commander-in-Chief.  Novikov also found a new wife, Tamara Potapovna Fomina, an aeronautical engineer and graduate of the Military Academy.[26]  Soon however, manned bombers gave way to missiles, and Novikov was likewise retired due to his health.  He was given the position head of the Higher Civil Aviation School in Leningrad, which he held from 1956 to 1967.[27]

On 3 February 1976 Air Chief Marshal Alexander Novikov passed from this earth. Yet how much do we know of his personality?  The fact that at least one child was with him in Leningrad in 1941 indicates that he did discharge some family responsibilities. Anecdotes contained in the referenced sources indicate he was a drinking man.  First the reprimand as a tippler, then a note that he gave American Lieutenant-General Ira Eaker advice that an apple eaten before vodka toasts would absorb the alcohol,[28] and finally a quote of Krushchev “He drank more than was probably good for him.”[29] Yet Krushchev, who knew him from Stalingrad, also said, “He was a dedicated, honest and honorable man”,[30] and in that time, under those pressures, a great many men drank more than they should.  That this twice Hero of the Soviet Union was betrayed by Stalin, a man he had served for so many years, is not an indictment.  He was certainly a hard worker, and could not have risen to such a high military position or survived the war if he had not been an extremely competent leader.  The reforms he instituted in tactics and organizational structures greatly aided the Red Air Force in coming to grips with Germany’s Luftwaffe, and his personal direction of many key aerial campaigns in the greatest war of the air age marks him as one of history’s preeminent air commanders.


[23] Kozhevnikov, 234; Erickson, 168-9.

[24] Kozhevnikov, 180, 208

[25] Erickson, 173-4; Hardesty, 213; Boyd, 216-7.

[26] Erickson, 174.

[27] Erickson, 174; Hardesty, 213.

[28] Miller, 156.

[29] Miller, 110.

[30] Ibid.