Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Blagonravov

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Blagonravov (Russian: Александр Александрович Благонравов; 24 May 1933 – 1 January 2020) was a Soviet and later Russian military engineer and designer who worked on the designs of armoured vehicles.

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Blagonravov
Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Blagonravov

24 May 1933
Died1 January 2020(2020-01-01) (aged 86)
Resting placeKetovo Cemetery, Ketovo
NationalitySoviet Union
EducationMilitary Academy of the Armoured Forces
Parent(s)Aleksandr Ivanovich Blagonravov
Engineering career
DisciplineMilitary engineering
Armoured vehicle design
AwardsOrder of Honour
Order of Lenin
Order of the Red Banner of Labour
Medal "For Battle Merit"

Born the son of a military engineer who worked on tank designs during the time of the Second World War, Blagonravov followed in his father's footsteps. After studying at the Military Academy of the Armoured Forces, he began a long association with the academic study of problems relating to mechanised military vehicles. He taught and researched at the academy after graduation, and also served briefly as a deputy battalion commander in the 4th Guards Tank Division. Blagonravov left the academy in 1974, taking up the position of chief designer at Kurganmashzavod, a state enterprise that designed and produced infantry fighting vehicles. Under his leadership the designs of the BMP-2 and BMP-3 were brought to fruition, entering service with the Soviet Armed Forces.

Stepping down as chief designer in 1989, Blagonravov continued to live and work in Kurgan, teaching at Kurgan State University and producing a number of academic works. Over his career he had received awards from both the Soviet and Russian governments, including the Order of Honour, the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labour, and the Medal "For Battle Merit".

Family and early lifeEdit

Blagonravov was born on 24 May 1933 in Moscow, then part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, in the Soviet Union.[1] He was the son of Aleksandr Ivanovich Blagonravov, a military engineer who worked on the T-34 and IS-2 tank designs, and had been awarded the Stalin Prize.[2] He entered the Military Academy of the Armoured Forces in 1951, eventually working on the theory of turning tracked vehicles, and then in the field of transmissions, turning mechanisms, and continuously variable transmissions for his dissertation.[1] He graduated in 1957 as a military mechanical engineer.[3] From 1957 to 1961 he was a junior research fellow at the Academy, and then from 1961 to 1962 was a deputy battalion commander in the 4th Guards Tank Division, based in the city of Naro-Fominsk.[3]

Academia and KurganmashzavodEdit

BMP-3s on parade in Moscow

From 1962 Blagonravov was back at the Military Academy of the Armoured Forces, serving as a senior researcher, and then senior lecturer, until 1974.[3] In 1974 he was appointed chief designer at Kurganmashzavod, which specialised in producing lightly armoured vehicles, paricularly infantry fighting vehicles. Blagonravov led the design of the enterprise's BMP-2 design, which entered general service with the Soviet Armed Forces in 1980.[1] Alongside work to finalise the BMP-2 and bring it into mass production, Blagonravov and the team of designers at Kurganmashzavod began work on a next-generation version of the vehicle in 1976, which was finalised and entered service in 1987 as the BMP-3.[1]

Retirement, studies and awardsEdit

Blagonravov served as Kurganmashzavod's chief designer until 1989, and in retirement continued to participate in academic work and engineering studies. He eventually authored some 140 printed works and four monographs.[1] After 1989 he spent ten years as Head of the Department of Tracked Vehicles at Kurgan State University.[3] He was a Doctor of Technical Sciences.[1] Over his career he received numerous awards and honours. He was presented with the Order of Honour by the Russian Federation, while his Soviet awards included the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labour and the Medal "For Battle Merit".[1][4] He was also given the title of Honoured Science and Technology Worker of Russia [ru], Honorary Citizen of the Order of the Red Banner of Labor of Kurgan in 2000, and Honorary Citizen of Kurgan Oblast [ru].[1] He had retired with the military rank of major general.[1]

Death and funeralEdit

Blagonravov died in Kurgan on 1 January 2020, at the age of 86.[1] Condolences were offered by Vadim Shumkov [ru], the governor of Kurgan Oblast, and by Andrey Potapov [ru], head of the city of Kurgan.[1] A memorial ceremony was held on 6 January in the sports complex "Zauralets" in Kurgan.[1] It was attended by some 300 people, including members of Kurganmashzavod and former members of the government of the Kurgan region, including ex-governor Oleg Bogomolov and his former deputy Aleksandr Bukhtoyarov [ru].[2] Blagonravov was then interred in the village cemetery in Ketovo.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Budris, Nina (2 January 2020). "Ушел из жизни главный конструктор боевых машин пехоты Александр Благонравов" (in Russian). Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Telizhenko, Nikita (6 January 2020). "«Ушла эпоха» В Кургане простились с главным конструктором КМЗ Александром Благонравовым". (in Russian). Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Благонравов, Александр Александрович" (in Russian). Правительство Курганской области: Официальный сайт. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  4. ^ Dobrynina, Svetlana (2 January 2020). "В Кургане скончался всемирно известный конструктор БМП" (in Russian). Русское оружие. Retrieved 8 January 2020.