Lev Rokhlin

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Lev Rokhlin
Lev Rokhlin.jpg
Member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation
In office
16 January 1996 – 3 July 1998
Personal details
Born6 June 1947
Aralsk, Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union
Died3 July 1998 (51 years)
Klokovo, Moskovskaya oblast, Russia
Spouse(s)Tamara Pavlovna Rokhlina
ChildrenElena, Igor
AwardsHero of the Russian Federation (refused to accept)
Military service
RankLieutenant general
Battles/warsSoviet–Afghan War
Nagorno-Karabakh War
First Chechen War
Battle of Grozny (1994–95)

Lev Yakovlevich Rokhlin (Russian: Лев Яковлевич Рохлин; 1947–1998) was a career officer in the Soviet and Russian armies. Rokhlin reached the top of the Russian military, quickly rising through the ranks during and after the Soviet–Afghan War. He was a member of Russian State Duma and the chairman of State Duma's Defense Committee.

Biography, Earlier career[edit]

Lev Rokhlin was the youngest of three children in the family of a Great Patriotic War soldier, the political exile of Yakov Lvovich Rokhlin. In 1948, 8 months after the birth of his son, Yakov was arrested and apparently died in the Gulag prison. Mother, Ksenia Ivanovna Goncharova brought up three children alone.

10 years later Rokhlin family moved to Tashkent. Rokhlin studied there at school number 19 in the Old Town. after graduating from school, he worked at Tashkent aircraft factory, then he was drafted into the army.

In 1970 he graduated from the Tashkent Higher Military Command School with honors. Then he served in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, in Wurzen. Then he studied at the Frunze Military Academy, after its completion served in the Arctic, as well as in Leningrad, Turkestan, Transcaucasian Military Districts, where he was deputy commander of a corps.

Later service[edit]

In 1982–1984 served in Arganistan. First as the commander of 860 mechanised inf. regiment at Fayzabad, Badakhshan. In June 1983 he was released from this position for a failed operation and appointed the deputy commander of 191 mechanised inf. regiment in Ghazni. But in less than a year reappointed to the previous position. He was wounded two times, at the second time he was evacuated to Tashkent.

He Graduated from Military Academy of the General Staff with honors.

In March 1987 Rokhlin was appointed commander of the 152nd Motor Rifle Division, 31st Army Corps, in Kutaisi.[1] The 152nd was a cadre division.

In November 1988 Rokhlin became the commander of the 75th Motor Rifle Division of the 4th Army[2] in Nakhchivan. In early 1990 the division was transferred to the Soviet Border Troops of the KGB, and Rokhlin was promoted to major-general in February of the same year.[3]

In 1993, he became the head of Russia's 8th Guard Corps at Volgograd (former Stalingrad), at the rank of lieutenant general, as the only Jew to reach such a rank in Russia since World War II.[4]

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 state's highest medal and title of Hero of the Russian Federation for leading the Grozny offensive,[5] saying he saw "nothing glorious" in it.[4]

Political career[edit]

Following his retirement in 1995, Rokhlin was elected to the Russian parliament Duma (as a member of a pro-Boris Yeltsin party Our Home – Russia, which he later quit). Rokhlin chaired Duma's Defense Committee until President Yeltsin went into a rare agreement with the Communist Party to strip him out of the post.[6] In 1997, Rokhlin formed his own movement called In Defense of the Army, which blamed Yeltsin for the war in Chechnya and for low morale in the military, unsuccessfully seeking to organize the serving and retired servicemen into a political force that could force Yeltsin from office.[4][6]


On July 4, 1998, few months after he tried to stage an anti-government mass protest of army servicemen, Lev Rokhlin was killed in his bed by a gunshot to the head. Rokhlin's wife Tamara, who at first had briefly confessed to the killing "due to a hostile relationship",[6] 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.[7] She was given 4,5 years of suspended sentence.[8]

During the investigation in the windbreak near the scene of the crime, there were found three burned dead bodies. According to the officials, they were killed some time before the murder of the General, and had nothing to do with that. But many Rokhlin's colleagues thought that those were the real assassins, who were liquidated by Kremlin's special service.[9][10] According to Alexander Litvinenko, former KGB and FSB general Anatoly Trofimov (himself shot dead in 2005) told him that the murder appeared to be organized by Russian secret services.[11]


  1. ^ http://www.litmir.net/br/?b=109060&p=13. Source may say 4th Army, which appears incorrect.
  2. ^ Holm, Michael. "75th Motorised Rifle Division". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  3. ^ Андрей Антипов. Лев Рохлин: жизнь и смерть генерала. 1998. ISBN 504001676X, 9785040016761
  4. ^ a b c Lev Rokhlin, Jewish general and critic of Yeltsin, 51, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 24, 1998
  5. ^ Russian Military Seeks Louder Voice By Putting Officers Up for Parliament, The New York Times, November 24, 1995
  6. ^ a b c Lev Rokhlin, a Foe of Yeltsin, Is Slain at 51; Wife Is Accused, The New York Times, July 4, 1998
  7. ^ "Russian Court Says General Rokhlin's Widow Guilty Of Murder". Radio Free Europe. 29 November 2005. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  8. ^ Досье newsru.com Тамара Рохлина
  9. ^ «Мы должны были арестовать президента» Русский репортёр. 19 июля 2011, № 28 (206).
  10. ^ Как военные готовили переворот в России
  11. ^ "Don't you see? They killed Rokhlin; surely that was a Kontora job. Now the guy who came in [Putin] will have to cover that up. He cannot afford to solve the case. It is like an insurance policy", Alex Goldfarb and Marina Litvinenko. Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB, The Free Press (2007) ISBN 1-4165-5165-4, page 137.

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