Novikov managed to avoid the great purge of the military, although many of his colleagues were arrested and shot in 1937 and 1938. Novikov became chief of staff of the Karelian Front during the 1939–1940 Soviet-Finnish Winter War. As a major general, he commanded aviation in the Leningrad Military District, which became the Northern Front after the June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union.
Novikov became deputy commander of the Red Army Air Force in February 1942. Promoted to lieutenant general in April, he received command of the Red Army Air Force, a post he held until March 1946. In this position, Novikov was responsible for coordinating Soviet air assets in Stalingrad, Kursk, and Operation bagration. Promoted to colonel general in 1943, Novikov was the first Soviet marshal of aviation and one of only two officers to be made chief marshal of aviation in the war. Following the defeat of Germany, Novikov directed air actions against the Japanese Guandong (Kwantung) Army in Manchuria.
Arrested in March 1946 in a purge of the military as Stalin removed war heroes, Novikov was held under strict confinement from 1946 to 1953 but he was released in May 1953 following Josef Stalin's death. Rehabilitated the next month, he held a succession of important posts, including commander of long-range aviation units and deputy chief of staff of the now-independent Soviet air force in 1954–1955. Novikov retired in 1956 because of ill health. He died in Moscow on 3 February 1976.
Spencer C. Tucker
Erickson, John. "Alexandr Alexandrovich Novikov." In Harold Shukman, ed., Stalin's Generals, 155–174. New York: Grove Press, 1993.; Hardesty, Von. Red Phoenix: The Rise of Soviet Air Power, 1941–1945. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982.