Akhromeyev, Sergei Fyodorovich

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(19231991), chief of the Soviet General Staff and first deputy minister of defense (19841988) and national security advisor to President Mikhail Gorbachev (19881991).

Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev played a key role in ending the Cold War and the negotiation of key arms control agreements: the INF (Inter-Mediate Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty (1987) and the CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe) Treaty (1990) between NATO and Warsaw Treaty Organization member states. He also oversaw the Soviet military withdrawal from Afghanistan. According to Admiral William Crowe, his American counterpart, "He was a communist, a patriot and a soldier." Dedicated to the rejuvenation of the Soviet system, Akhromeyev found that perestroika had unleashed deep conflicts within the USSR and undermined the system's legitimacy. After playing a part in the unsuccessful coup of August 1991, he committed suicide in his Kremlin office.

Born in 1923, Akhromeyev belonged to that cohort upon whom the burden of World War II fell most heavily. The war shaped both his career as a professional soldier and his understanding of the external threat to the Soviet regime. He enrolled in a naval school in Leningrad in 1940 and was in that city when the German invasion began. He served as an officer of naval infantry in 1942 at Stalingrad and fought with the Red Army from the Volga to Berlin. Akhromeyev advanced during the war to battalion command and joined the Communist Party in 1943.

In the postwar years Akhromeyev rose to prominence in the Soviet Armed Forces and General Staff. In 1952 he graduated from the Military Academy of the Armor Forces. In 1967 he graduated from the Military Academy of the General Staff. Thereafter, he held senior staff positions and served as head of a main directorate of the General Staff from 1974 to 1977 and then as first deputy chief of the General Staff from 1979 to 1984. As Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov's deputy, Akhromeyev sought to recast the Soviet Armed Forces to meet the challenge of the revolution in military affairs, which involved the application of automated troop control, electronic warfare, and precision strikes to modern combined arms combat.

See also: afghanistan, relations with; arms control; august 1991 putsch; cold war; military, soviet and post-soviet


Herspring, Dale. (1990). The Soviet High Command, 19641989: Politics and Personalities. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Kipp, Jacob W., Bruce W. Menning, David M. Glantz, and Graham H. Turbiville, Jr. "Marshal Akhromeev's Post-INF World" Journal of Soviet Military Studies 1(2):167187.

Odom, William E. (1998). The Collapse of the Soviet Military. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press

Zisk, Kimberly Marten. (1993). Engaging the Enemy: Organization Theory and Soviet Military Innovation, 19551991. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Jacob W. Kipp

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Akhromeyev, Sergei Fyodorovich

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