Monday, 05 October 2009 04:39
Lev Yakovlevich Rokhlin
Born: 1947, Kazakhstan
Died: 1998, Moscow
Cause of death: Gunshot wound to head.
Notable because: Fierce and vocal critic trying to depose President Boris Yeltsin gets shot in the head with a gun presented to him for good military service. His wife is convicted 2 years later, sentenced to 8 years but it seems unlikely she is the killer.
Lev Yakovlevich Rokhlin was a Lieutenant-General in the Soviet and Russian armies.
Rokhlin, one of the few Jews to reach the top of the Russian military, quickly rose through the ranks during and after the Soviet war in Afghanistan. In 1993, he became the head of Russia's 8th Guard Corps from Volgograd, as the only Jew to reach such a rank in Russia since World War II.
During the First Chechen War, Rokhlin was credited with reorganizing the Russian forces in Chechnya and finally taking the Chechen capital of Grozny in 1995. Frustrated with the bloodshed, he left the army a few weeks later. He then refused to accept the Hero of the Russian Federation medal for leading the Grozny offensive, saying he saw "nothing glorious" in the war against the citiziens of Russia.
Following his retirement, Rokhlin was elected to Duma (as a member of a pro-Boris Yeltsin party Our Home – Russia, which he later quit), where he chaired the Defense Committee. He also formed his own movement called In Defense of the Army, which consistently criticized Yeltsin for the war in Chechnya and for low morale in the military.
On July 4, 1998, few months after he tried to stage a mass protest of army servicemen, Lev Rokhlin was shot dead in his bed. Rokhlin's wife Tamara was convicted by the Russian court for her husband's murder in 2005, but she continued to insist he was killed by a group of masked men who broke into their home. According to Alexander Litvinenko, the murder was actually organized by Russian secret services
Last Updated on Monday, 05 October 2009 04:49