Johan Fredrik Gustav Aminoff

Johan Aminoff Govenor of Kuopio
General Aminoff as Governor of Kuopio. Finnish Heritage Agency

Lieutenant General
21.8.1844 Mietoinen, Grand Duchy of Finland
7.1.1899 Helsinki, Grand Duchy of Finland

Johan was born to Colonel Baron Alexander Aminoff and Fredrika Charlotta Maria af Forselles in the southwestern town of Mietoinen. He entered the Hamina Cadet School in 1856 but then transferred to the Imperial Page Corps in 1860. Graduating in 1862 with the rank of Cornet, Aminoff enlisted with the Life Guards Lancer (Ulansky) His Majesty’s Regiment.

During the Polish uprising in 1863, Aminoff, alongside his regiment, took part in several engagements against the Polish rebels. He showed excellent horsemanship and bravery, earning him the Order of St. Anna 4th class and St. Stanislav 3rd class with swords and a bow. In 1865 he was promoted to Lieutenant and transferred to the Reserve Squadron.

In 1866 he passed the entrance exam for the Nicholas General Staff Academy, graduating in 1868 with excellence in science, and was promoted to Staff Captain and returned to his Regiment. Early the following year saw Aminoff assigned to the General and seconded to the headquarters of the Turkestan military district. He took part in the Iskanderkul expedition under General Abramov, and after taking part in several actions against the local Uzbek-Kenagas, he was rewarded with the rank of Captain, the Order of St. Anne 3rd Class, the Golden Sword for Bravery.

His skills as an effective reconnaissance officer saw him assigned to General Golovachev by the end of 1871, taking part in the mapping of the tracks in the Kyzylkum Desert. In mid-1872, Aminoff was made senior adjutant within the Turkestan military district, followed by promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in September of that year. The next year saw Aminoff join the campaign against the Khanate of Khiva. Due to his experience within the desert environment, Aminoff was put in charge of the 1st echelon, taking part in actions at Uch-Uchak, Sheik-Arik and the assault on the fortress of Khazret. For his part in the campaign, Aminof was presented with the Order of St. Vladimir 4th class with swords and a bow, and promoted to Colonel.

Colonel Aminoff saw himself assigned to the embassy to the Bukhara Khanate. He remained here for about a year before he was given command of the 4th Turkestan Battalion. In 1875, he took his battalion on campaign against the Khanate of Kokand. Taking part in the battle of Makhram, he proved himself a capable commander and was thus awarded the Order of St. Vladimir 3rd class with swords. At the end of the campaign, he would help the Turkestan Military District with the founding of new regiments, he would also serve temporarily as assistant head then head of the Zarafshan district, with the focus of securing the borders of the region.

When the Russo-Turkish War broke out in 1877, Aminoff left Central Asia for Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich’s army of the Danube. Being given command of the 6th Rifle Battalion, Aminoff took part in the winter campaign in the Balkans, leading it throughout the advance. Taking part in the final battles of the war, Sheynovo, Aminoff was awarded the Order of St. George 4th class. In the citation, it stated that Aminoff “at the head of his battalion, in the front ranks, stormed the first line of Turkish fortifications, and participated in the occupation of the main Turkish redoubt and captured a gun.” He would also be lauded for his rallying of an ad-hoc force on the subsequent few days, leading them to capture more Turkish positions and eventually securing the entire left flank of the offensive, contributing vitally to the Russian victory. After the breakthrough at the Balkans, Aminoff was part of the vanguard under General Skobelev, taking part in the occupation of Adrianople and the fighting at the outskirts of Constantinople. For his part in the campaign, Carol I of Romania awarded Aminoff with the Order of the Star of Romania 5th class.

In the aftermath of the war, Aminoff returned to Turkestan as Chief of Staff of the Transcaspian forces. In 1882 Aminoff was posted to command the 114th Novotorzhsky Infantry Regiment in Poland, where he assisted local border guard units in keeping the area secure and free from strife. Two years later Colonel Aminoff would return to Finland after almost 25 years, now becoming commander of the Finnish Guards’ Rifle Battalion. For his long and good services, he was promoted to Major General, as well as receiving his late fathers’ title of Baron in 1885. Commanding the battalion as part of the newly raised Finnish Army and as part of the Imperial Guards Corps, Aminoff regularly attended imperial functions in St.Petersburg and eventually he was appointed as Governor of Kuopio, passing on the battalion to Colonel Georg Synnerberg.

1895 would see him being promoted to Lieutenant General. Aminoff would continue to serve as Governor, and represent his family in Parliament, until his death in 1899.

Honours and Awards

1863 – Order of St. Anne 4th class (1863)
1863 – Order of St. Stanislaus 3rd class with swords and bow (1863)
1870 – Order of St. Anne 3rd class (1870)
1871 – Golden Sword for Bravery
1872 – Order of St. Stanislaus, 2nd class (December 11, 1872)
1873 -Order of St. Vladimir 4th degree with swords and a bow (1873)
1874 – Order of St. Anna 2nd class with swords and the imperial crown
1875 – Order of St. Vladimir 3rd class with swords (1875)
1878 – Order of St. George 4th class (May 5, 1878)
1878 – Order of the Star of Romania 5th class
1888 – Order of St. Stanislaus 1st class (1888)
1892 – Order of St. Anne 1st class (1892)
1898 – Order of St. Vladimir 2nd class (April 24, 1898)


1856 – Cadet
1862 – Cornet
1865 – Lieutenant
1868 – Staff Captain
1870 – Captain
1872 – Lieutenant Colonel
1875 – Colonel
1885 – Major General
1895 – Lieutenant General


Wife – Lovisa Emilia Charlotta Cedercreutz (née Cedercreutz; 15.9.1854 – 15.4.1911), married 3.5.1874
Son – Johan Fredrik (24.3.1875 – 4.7.1876)
Son – Boris (25.1.1877 – 30.6.1877)
Daughter – Maria (13.4.1878 – 28.2.1962).
Son – George (16.12.1879 – 6.3.1898)
Daughter – Margareta (9.11.1881 – 7.2.1951)
Daughter – Louise (9.7.1884 – 10.10.1977)
Daughter – Alexander (7.2.1888 – 14.10.1888)


Johan Fredrik GustavAminoff, Biography Center, Finnish Literature Society
Volkov S.V. Generals of the Russian Empire: Encyclopedic Dictionary of Generals and Admirals from Peter I to Nicholas II, in 2 volumes. Centerpolygraph: Moscow, 2009.

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