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|Birth name||Pavel Fyodorovich Batitsky|
|Born||27 June 1910
Kharkiv, Russian Empire
|Died||17 February 1984
Moscow, Soviet Union
|Years of service||1924–1978|
|Commands held||Moscow Military District|
Pavel Fyodorovich Batitsky (27 June 1910 – 17 February 1984) was a Soviet military leader awarded the highest honorary title of Hero of the Soviet Union in 1965 and promoted to Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1968. Batitsky served in the Red Army from 1924 and was commander-in-chief of the Air Defense Forces from 1966 to 1978. Following the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953, he was chosen to execute Lavrenty Beria, the former head of the NKVD.
He was born in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv and served in the Red Army from October 1924. At the age of 14, he entered the Kharkiv military prep school and in 1926 he was sent to study at the Military Cavalry School, graduating in 1929. From March 1929 to May 1935 he served in the cavalry and commanded a platoon and squad in the Belorussian Military District.
In 1938 he graduated with honors from the Frunze Military Academy. From September 1939 to December 1940 he was on a business trip in China and was Chief of Staff of Soviet military advisers at the headquarters of Chiang Kai-shek. Upon returning he was made Chief of Staff of the Motorized Brigade of Kaunas in the Baltic Special Military District. In March 1941 he was appointed Chief of Staff of the 202nd Motorised Division. Later that year he took command of the 254th Rifle Division. Later, during World War II, he commanded the 73rd Rifle Corps (1943–1944) and the 128th Rifle Corps (1944–1945). After World War II he was Chief of the Air Staff (1950–1953).
In December 1953 he was chosen to personally execute Lavrenty Beria as part of a plot led by Nikita Khrushchev and assisted by the military forces of Marshal Georgy Zhukov (Batitsky was Colonel-General and Deputy Commander of the Moscow Military District at the time). Thus, he was a future Marshal of the Soviet Union who personally killed a former Marshal of the Soviet Union (Beria also held this rank from 1945 until he was arrested in June 1953).
He died in Moscow in 1984.
Honours and awards
- Hero of the Soviet Union
- Five Orders of Lenin
- Order of the October Revolution
- Five Orders of the Red Banner
- Order of Kutuzov 1st class
- Order of Suvorov 2nd class
- Order of Kutuzov 2nd class
- Order for Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces of the USSR 3rd class
- Jubilee Medal "In Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary since the Birth of Vladimir Il'ich Lenin"
- Medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"
- Jubilee Medal "Twenty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
- Jubilee Medal "Thirty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
- Medal "For the Capture of Berlin"
- Medal "For the Liberation of Prague"
- Medal "For the Liberation of Warsaw"
- Medal "For Strengthening Military Cooperation"
- Medal "Veteran of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- Jubilee Medal "XX Years of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army"
- Jubilee Medal "30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy"
- Jubilee Medal "40 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- Jubilee Medal "60 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- 16 foreign decorations
- Pavel Batitsky at the "Герои страны" ("Heroes of the Country") website (Russian)
- Лаврентия Берию в 1953 году расстрелял лично советский маршал