Russian ex-defence minister who led army in Chechen war dies at 64
24.09.12 11:44 By Ksenia Solyanskaya, edited by Karina Ayvazova
Pavel Grachev was Russia's first Minister of Defense after the collapse of the Soviet Union Photo: kremerphoto.ru
Former Russian Defence Minister Pavel Grachev died on Sunday in the Vishnevskiy military hospital near Moscow. He was 64.
Grachev was Russia's first defence minister after the collapse of the Soviet Union and served under Russia's first President, Boris Yeltsin, in 1992-1996.
Grachev was the one who said that army should not be involved in inner political issues, however the Russian army under his lead supported Boris Yeltsin in his confrontation with parliament in 1993 which led to firing its building.
Russia withdrew its troops from the Eastern Europe under Grachev's command. For that he was accused of corruption and got a nickname "Pasha the Mercedes".
In 1994, Grachev led army into the rebellious Chechen region where separatists were ruling. Grachev then became famous for promising to crush Chechen separatist rebels "in a couple of hours with a single regiment of paratroopers."
In December 1994 the first Chechen war started and Grachev was severely criticized as the Russian army was not prepared for military actions. The war stretched for over two years, killing tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians, before the signing of a treaty in August 1996 that called for the withdrawal of federal forces and left the region in the hands of separatist leaders.
By the end of Yeltsin's presidential term in 1996, Grachev was one of the most unpopular ministers of the cabinet.
Grachev was sacked in 1996 right after Yeltsin was-re-elected.
Login with Facebook to share content with your friends
25.10.12 13:41 By Gazeta.ru editorial
24.10.12 12:26 By Gazeta.ru editorial
23.10.12 12:37 By Gazeta.ru editorial