Gen. Pavel Grachev, Fought Chechen Rebels, Dies at 64

September 23, 2012

MOSCOW (AP) — Gen. Pavel Grachev, a former Russian defense minister who led troops into Chechnya in the 1990s, died here on Sunday. He was 64.

He died in a hospital after being admitted on Sept. 12 in serious condition, the Russian government said. No cause of death was given.

General Grachev, who had served under President Boris N. Yeltsin from 1992 until 1996, is perhaps best remembered for promising in 1994 to crush Chechen separatist rebels “in a couple of hours with a single regiment of paratroopers.” The war instead stretched on for more than two years, with thousands of soldiers and tens of thousands of civilians killed, and ended with the Kremlin forced to sign a peace treaty.

General Grachev proved his loyalty to Mr. Yeltsin in August 1991 by switching sides during an attempted coup by hard-line Communists that hastened the fall of the Soviet Union and brought Mr. Yeltsin to power. He refused orders to attack Mr. Yeltsin’s headquarters and crush pro-democracy demonstrations. General Grachev also supported Mr. Yeltsin in his confrontation with Parliament in 1993, which led to the shelling of the Parliament building.

In 1993 General Grachev faced accusations of corruption connected with the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Eastern Europe. The accusations, although never proved in court, earned him the nickname Pasha Mercedes.

After Mr. Yeltsin was re-elected in the summer of 1996, he fired General Grachev, who had become unpopular both inside and outside the Russian military.

General Grachev was a commander of elite paratroopers from 1981 until 1988 during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.


Former Russian Defense Minister Grachev Dies
RIA Novosti | 23/09/2012

Former Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev died on 2.40 p.m. Moscow time on Sunday at the Vishnevsky military clinic near Moscow, a clinic representative told RIA Novosti.


Pavel Grachev"Pavel Sergeyevich Grachev died today at 2.40 p.m." the clinic said, but did not give a cause of death.

Grachev was admitted to the clinic on September 12 and was reported to be in a serious condition.

A career Airborne Forces soldier since 1965, Grachev oversaw the withdrawal of Soviet Forces from Germany after 1992.

Grachev held the post of Defense Minister under President Yeltsin from 1992-1996. He will always be remembered as one of the architects of the first Russian campaign in Chechnya against its breakaway ruler Dzhokar Dudayev.

Dismissive of the Chechens, Grachev said Russian control of Grozny could be restored "in a couple of hours with a single airborne regiment," a comment which came back to haunt him as the army’s attempts to retake the city floundered and casualties mounted.

He was fired from his post by President Yeltsin after Yeltsin’s reelection in 1996, and then briefly worked in the state arms exporter, Rusvooruzheniye.

From 2008 he served on the advisory board of a radio factory in Omsk.



A General Forever: Pavel Grachev Dies
Kommersant | 24/09/2012

Pavel Grachev, Russia’s former defense minister and the first General of the Army of Russia, died in Moscow on Sunday. He was 65. President Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov expressed their condolences to his family. The lying-in-state ceremony will take place in Moscow on September 25 at the Cultural Center of the Russian Armed Forces. The commission to organize the funeral is being headed by General of the Army Nikolai Makarov, Chief of the General Staff.

Pavel Grachev was taken to the hospital in critical condition on the night of September 12. Former minister Grachev was believed to have suffered a severe hypertensive crisis with possible brain damage. Food poisoning or a stroke were also considered. But no official statement had been issued as to the cause. General Grachev passed away in hospital on Sunday at 2:40 p.m.

He began his career in the Defense Ministry in 1965. In 1981-1983, he took part in military operations in Afghanistan, which earned him the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. In 1983, he was seconded to Kaunas as chief of staff and deputy commander of the 7th Guards Airborne Division. In the 1990s he became the 13th commander of the Soviet Airborne Troops, holding the rank of Major-General, although this post is, as a rule, occupied by a Colonel-General.

A highlight of his life was his role in the August 1991 coup, when commanding airborne troops under orders from the coup plotters, he joined Generals Boris Gromov and Vladislav Achalov in going over to Boris Yeltsin’s side.

On May 18, 1992 he was made Defense Minister in Viktor Chernomyrdin’s government. Shortly before that he became the first Russian general to be promoted to the rank of General of the Army.

Pavel Grachev also fought in the first Chechen war (1994-1996). On November 30, 1994 an executive order by President Boris Yeltsin included him in the group responsible for the liquidation of armed bands in Chechnya.

In the winter of 1994-1995, from headquarters in Mozdok, he personally led Russian army units fighting in the Chechen Republic. Following the failure of some offensive operations in Grozny he returned to Moscow.

General Grachev’s ideas are still being implemented today: for instance, he advocated a phased reduction of the armed forces, believing that the army should be formed on a mixed principle, with a subsequent transition to a contract basis.

He was forced to retire in June 1996 after severe criticism for his failure in the operation in Chechnya. But he was not transferred to the reserve until 2007, when he reached 60 years of age. Until then, he was employed with Rosvooruzheniye and later the Rosoboronexport arms agency. From 2007, he was adviser to the general director of the Popov Radio Plant Production Association in Omsk.


Russian army pays last respects to former defence minister Pavel Grachev

MOSCOW, September 25, 2012 (Itar-Tass) — The civil funeral of former Minister of Defence Pavel Grachev took place at the Cultural Centre of the Russian Armed Forces on Tuesday.


civil funeral of former Minister of Defence Pavel GracheAmong the persons who attended the ceremony were incumbent Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, his deputies, senior military officials, commanders-in-chief of branches of the armed forces, political leaders, representatives of former Soviet republics, and Grachev’s friends, acquaintances and former colleagues.

The people who came to pay last respect laid flowers and wreathes. Wreaths were sent by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian government, the Russian Defence Ministry and Defence Ministries of former Soviet republics and various military agencies.

Grachev’s friends and colleagues said they grieved over Pavel Grachev’s untimely death. Grachev died of acute encephalomeningitis.

General Vladimir Isakov, his former colleague, with whom Grachev had served in Afghanistan, said "Pavel Sergeyevich has always been noted for such qualities as readiness for self-sacrifice and courage. He never hid behind his subordinates’ backs and was awarded the high title of Hero of the Soviet Union for it. He was a true paratrooper, who prided himself of serving in the army. He was an excellent person."

The civil funeral ended at 13:00, Moscow time, whereupon the funeral procession headed for the Novodevichye cemetery.

Grachev died at the 3rd central military hospital named after Vishnevsky on September 23. He was 64.

President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov conveyed their condolences to Grachev’s widow and two sons.

Pavel Grachev was born in the village of Rvy, Tula region on January 1, 1948. He served in the armed forces’ airborne troops since 1964. In 1969, he graduated from the Ryazan Higher Paratrooper Command School. He commanded a reconnaissance platoon, a company of Ryazan school students, and a paratrooper’s battalion in training.

In 1981, he graduated from the Frunze Military Academy. He was a deputy commander in Afghanistan in 1981 through 1983 and commander of paratrooper’s regiment as part of the limited contingent of Soviet troops.

Following are the benchmarks in his military career:

June 1983 – commander of airborne division headquarters

1985-1988 – commander of 103rd paratroopers division in Afghanistan

1990 – graduated from the academy of the General Staff

June 1990 – deputy commander of airborne troops

December 1990 – commander of airborne troops

On August 19, 1991, he complied with the order by the State Committee on the State of Emergency /GKChP/ to bring troops into Moscow. Specifically, he arranged for the arrival in the Russian capital of the 106th Tula paratroopers division to take under protection the strategically important facilities. However, on August 20, he refused to obey the orders by the GKChP leadership and, together with Air Force Marshall Shaposhnikov, sided with Boris Yeltsin.

He was first deputy defence minister from August through December 19991, chairman of the state committee of the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic for defense issues. From January through April 1992, he was chairman of the State Committee for defense issues of the Russian Federation, first deputy commander of the unified CIS armed forces.

In April 1992, he was appointed first deputy defence minister. From May 18, 1992 through June 23 1996, he was Russian defence minister. In May 1992, Grachev became the first military commander in a new Russia to be awarded the rank of General of the Army.

As defence minister, Grachev opposed the quick withdrawal of Russian army units deployed outside of the former USSR /the Baltic region, Transcaucasia and several districts of Central Asia/. He argued that Russia had no resources at the time to resolve the welfare and housing problems of servicemen and members of their families. He banned the politicized army organizations, such as the all-Russian officers’ assembly, the independent trade union of servicemen etc.

In 1997-2006, he was adviser, chief military adviser to the director general of the Rosvooruzheniye state-owned weapons trading company /currently Rosoboronexport/. In 2007, he was discharged from the army, whereupon he occupied the post of advisor to the director general of the Omsk-based radio plant named after Popov.

Grachev, a Hero of the Soviet Union /1988/ was decorated with two orders of Lenin, orders of the Red Banner, orders of the Red Star, for Service to the Motherland in the Armed Forces of the USSR, an Honour Badge and the Order "For Personal Courage.”


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