Mikhail Frunze, the son of a peasant, was born in Turkestan in 1885. After studying at his local school he continued his education at the Gymnasium at Verny and the Polytechnical Institute in St. Petersburg.
At the Second Congress of the Social Democratic Party in London in 1903, there was a dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov, two of the party's main leaders. Lenin argued for a small party of professional revolutionaries with alarge fringe of non-party sympathisers and supporters. Martov disagreed believing it was better to have a large party of activists. Martov won the vote 28-23 but Lenin was unwilling to accept the result and formed a faction known as the Bolsheviks. Those who remained loyal to Martov became known as Mensheviks.
Frunze joined the Bolsheviks. So also did Gregory Zinoviev, Anatoli Lunacharsky, Joseph Stalin, Mikhail Lashevich, Nadezhda Krupskaya, Alexei Rykov, Yakov Sverdlov, Lev Kamenev, Maxim Litvinov, Vladimir Antonov, Felix Dzerzhinsky, Gregory Ordzhonikidze, and Alexander Bogdanov. Whereas George Plekhanov, Pavel Axelrod, Leon Trotsky, Lev Deich, Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko, Irakli Tsereteli, Moisei Uritsky, Noi Zhordania and Fedor Dan supported Julius Martov.
After the meeting in London Frunze went to Inanovo-Voznesensk where he was one of the leaders of the 1905 Textile Workers Strike. Later that year he was arrested during the Moscow Uprising. Sentenced death, he was reprieved and it was changed to ten years hard labour. He served his sentence in Vladimir, Nikolaev and Alexandrov in Siberia.
In 1915 Frunze managed to escape from Siberia and reached Chita where he edited the Bolshevik weekly, Vostochnoe Obozrenie. During the February Revolution Frunze led the Bolsheviks in Minsk and became chief of the city's civilian militia before being elected President of the Byelorussian Soviet.
In 1918 Frunze became Military Commissar for the Voznesensk Province. During the early days of the Civil War, Frunze was appointed as head of the Southern Army Group. After defeating Alexander Kolchak and the White Army in Omsk, Leon Trotsky gave him command of the whole of the Eastern Front. Frunze went on to clear Turkestan of anti-Bolshevik forces.
In 1921 Frunze was elected to the Central Committee and in January, 1925, became the Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council. As a close supporter of Gregory Zinoviev, this brought him into conflict with Joseph Stalin. Mikhail Frunze died during an operation for stomach ulcers on 31st October, 1925. Some historians have argued that Stalin was involved in arranging Frunze's death.