Timoshenko, Semyon Konstantinovich (sĭmyônˈ kənstəntyēˈnəvĭch tyēməshĕnˈkə) [key], 1895–1970, Soviet marshal. He served in the civil war of 1918–20 as a cavalry commander and subsequently rose in the Soviet army. He commanded the Soviet troops in their final victorious offensive in the Finnish-Soviet War (1940). In May, 1940, he succeeded General Voroshilov as commissar for defense and held that position until it was assumed by Joseph Stalin in July, 1941. Having replaced Marshal Budenny on the southern front, he led the recapture (Nov., 1941) of Rostov-na-Donu from the Germans and helped in the relief of Moscow. Later he commanded on the northwest front (1942), in the Caucasus (1943), and in Bessarabia (1944). After the war, he served as chief of the Belorussian military.