Sergey Akhromeyev

Sergey Fyodorovich Akhromeyev (Russian: Серге́й Фёдорович Ахроме́ев; May 5, 1923 – August 24, 1991[1]) was a Soviet military figure, Hero of the Soviet Union (1982) and Marshal of the Soviet Union (1983).

Sergey Akhromeyev
Sergey Akhromeyev (cropped).jpg
Born(1923-05-05)May 5, 1923
Vindrey village, Torbeyevsky District, Mordovia, Soviet Union
DiedAugust 24, 1991(1991-08-24) (aged 68)
Moscow, Soviet Union
AllegianceSoviet Union Soviet Union
Years of service1942–1991
RankMarshal of the Soviet Union (1983-1991)
Commands heldSoviet General Staff, Far Eastern Military District
Battles/warsWorld War II
Soviet–Afghan War
AwardsHero of the Soviet Union


Sergey Akhromeyev was born on 5 May in 1923 in Vindrey, a village in the Tambov Governorate of the Russian SFSR (now Mordovia), in a family of Russian[2] ethnicity. Akhromeyev was a Naval Infantry junior officer on the Eastern Front, serving with distinction during the Siege of Leningrad front. At one point he was ordered to guard and hold a road on which the German Army would be trying to advance. Despite a bloody battle, he was able to accomplish the task. Relating the story during a meal with Secretary of State George Shultz and Ambassador Ken Adelman in Reykjavík during the Reagan Administration, Akhromeyev told Shultz that his accomplishment was not only a great sign of his patriotism, as Shultz suggested, but also was because had he abandoned the road, Stalin would have had him shot.[3]

Between 1984 and 1989, Akhromeyev was Chief of the General Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces. In that capacity, he was heavily involved in the talks which brought an end to the Cold War. However, he grew increasingly dissatisfied with Mikhail Gorbachev's approach to reforming the military, in particular, his insistence on dismantling the newest and most accurate ballistic missile in the Soviet Army — the SS-23 Spider - under the tenets of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and resigned from that position.

In March 1990, he was made Advisor to the President of the USSR on military affairs.[4]


During the August Coup of 1991, Akhromeyev returned from a vacation in Sochi to offer his assistance to the coup leaders. After its failure, Akhromeyev died by suicide[5] in his Kremlin office, hanging himself with a length of curtain cord. In addition to personal messages to his family, he left a note explaining that he could not continue living when the institutions to which he had devoted his life were disintegrating.[6]

Shortly after his death, his grave was vandalized and his corpse stripped of the uniform in which it had been buried. The culprits were never found, and it is uncertain whether it was an act of pure desecration or if the grave-robbers hoped to sell the stolen uniform or its adornments for profit.[7]

Admiral William Crowe, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and later the ambassador to the United Kingdom knew Marshal Akhromeyev[5] and once called him a communist, a patriot, and a friend in that order.

Akhromeyev's memoirs were released posthumously in 1992.[8]

Honours and awardsEdit

Soviet awards
Foreign Awards
  • Order of Sukhbaatar (Mongolia, 1981)
  • Medal "30 Years of Victory over Japan" (Mongolia, 1975)
  • Medal "40 Years of Victory in Khalkhin-Gol" (Mongolia, 1979)
  • Medal "60 Years of the Armed Forces of the MPR" (Mongolia, 1981)
  • Scharnhorst Order (German Democratic Republic, 1983)
  • Medal "Brotherhood in Arms", 1st class (GDR, 1980)
  • Medal "30 Years of the People's Army of the GDR" (GDR, 1986)
  • Order of Georgi Dimitrov (Bulgaria, 1988)
  • Order "The People's Republic of Bulgaria", 1st class (Bulgaria, 1985)
  • Order "September 9, 1944", 1st class with Swords (Bulgaria, 1974)
  • Medal "For Strengthening brotherhood in arms" (Bulgaria, 1977)
  • Medal "30 Years of Victory over Nazi Germany" (Bulgaria, 1975)
  • Medal "40 Years of Victory over Fascism" (Bulgaria, 1985)
  • Medal "90th anniversary of the birth of Georgi Dimitrov" (Bulgaria, 1974)
  • Medal "100th Anniversary of Birth of Georgi Dimitrov" (Bulgaria, 1984)
  • Medal "100 years of the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman yoke" (Bulgaria, 1978)
  • Order of the Red Banner (Czechoslovakia, 1982)
  • Order of 25 February 1948 (Czechoslovakia, 1985)
  • Medal "30 Years of the Slovak National Uprising" (Czechoslovakia, 1974)
  • Medal "40 Years of the Slovak National Uprising" (Czechoslovakia, 1984)
  • Order "For Military Merit" grade 1 (Socialist Republic of Vietnam, 1985)
  • Order of the Red Banner (Afghanistan, 1982)
  • Order Saur Revolution (Afghanistan, 1984)
  • Medal "From a grateful Afghan people" (Afghanistan, 1988)
  • Medal "20 years of the Revolutionary Armed Forces" (Cuba, 1976)
  • Medal "30 Years of Revolutionary Armed Forces" (Cuba, 1986)
  • Medal "40 Years of Liberation of Korea" (DPRK, 1985)
  • Medal "For Military Merit" (Romania, 1985)
  • Medal of Sino-Soviet Friendship (China, 1955)
  • Medal "Brotherhood in Arms" (Poland, 1988)


  1. ^ Список депутатов Верховного Совета СССР 11 созыва
  2. ^ Герои Страны
  3. ^ "After Words with Ken Adleman". After Words. May 7, 2014. C-SPAN.
  4. ^ Новая и новейшая история
  5. ^ a b Jackson, Robert L. (August 16, 1991). "Friend's Suicide Saddens Retired Adm. Crowe - Military: 'We grew to be quite close,' former Joint Chiefs chairman says of Soviet Marshal Akhromeyev". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 30, 2009.
  6. ^ Вечерний Тбилиси Archived 2012-09-18 at
  7. ^ Pleshakov, Constantine (October 27, 2009). There Is No Freedom Without Bread!: 1989 and the Civil War That Brought Down Communism. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 231. ISBN 978-1429942294.
  8. ^ Glazami marshala i diplomata: Kriticheskii vzgliad na vneshniuiu politiku SSSR do i posle 1985 goda in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
Military offices
Preceded by
Nikolai Ogarkov
Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union
September 1984 – 2 November 1989
Succeeded by
Mikhail Moiseyev