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Lev Yakovlevich Rokhlin (Russian: Лев Яковлевич Рохлин; 1947-1998) was a career officer in the Soviet and Russian armies. Rokhlin have reached the top of the Russian military, quickly rose through the ranks during and after the Soviet war in Afghanistan. In November 1988 Rokhlin became the commander of the 75th Motor Rifle Division of the 7th Guards Army 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.[1]

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.[2]

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,[3] saying he saw "nothing glorious" in it.[2]

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.[4] 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.[2][4]

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",[4] 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.[5] According to Alexander Litvinenko, a 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.[6]


  1. Андрей Антипов. Лев Рохлин: жизнь и смерть генерала. 1998. ISBN 504001676X, 9785040016761
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lev Rokhlin, Jewish general and critic of Yeltsin, 51, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 24, 1998
  3. Russian Military Seeks Louder Voice By Putting Officers Up for Parliament, The New York Times, November 24, 1995
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Lev Rokhlin, a Foe of Yeltsin, Is Slain at 51; Wife Is Accused, The New York Times, July 4, 1998
  5. Russian Court Says General Rokhlin's Widow Guilty Of Murder, Radio Free Europe, November 29, 2005
  6. "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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