Military Wiki
Nikolai Vasilyevich Ogarkov
Native name Николай Васильевич Огарков
Nickname "Formidable soldier"
«грозный солдат»
Born (1917-10-30)October 30, 1917
Died January 23, 1994(1994-01-23) (aged 76)
Place of birth Molokovo, near Tver, Russia
Place of death Moscow, Russia
Allegiance Soviet Union Soviet Union
Years of service 1938-1994
Rank Marshal of the Soviet Union
Commands held Soviet General Staff
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union Order of Lenin

Nikolai Vasilyevich Ogarkov (Russian: Николай Васильевич Огарков; October 30, 1917 in the village of Molokovo, Tver Governorate - January 23, 1994), was promoted to Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1977. Between 1977 and 1984 he was Chief of the General Staff of the USSR. He became widely known in the West when he became the Soviet military's spokesman following the shootdown of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 near Moneron Island in September 1983. He was fired by General Secretary Konstantin Chernenko in 1984 for his association with Grigory Romanov (see below).

The Revolution in Military Affairs and Ogarkov's Ouster

In 1984, Romanov was Gorbachev's main rival for the succession of the ailing Konstantin Chernenko. Romanov had been trying to force a crisis of succession where his control of the armed forces, via Ogarkov, would have tipped a spilt within the Politburo to his favor. Furthermore, the Politburo was worried about Ogarkov's rapid ascension: Ogarkov had already weakened the power of the Main Political Administration, the organisation tasked with keeping the military under party control, and he had gained access to the Defense Council, though not as a voting member.[1] Ogarkov's ouster from his powerful position was triggered by an article he released in May 1984 in the military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda, wherein he stressed how western developments in rapid information gathering and dissemination in the battlefield had changed the way wars would be fought (see above), and how woefully unprepared the Soviet Army was for such warfare. His call that the "demand" for all-around efforts to adapt the Soviet Army to the new technologies should "be unconditionally met" was interpreted as a challenge to the civilian party leadership. Romanov, who was preparing for a diplomatic mission, could not protect Ogarkov from being dismissed from his positions for "unpartylike tendencies".[2] Ogarkov was later made operational commander of the Western theater of the Soviet strategic forces, i.e. of the forces directly posed against NATO forces.



In 2003, a regional museum was opened in Molokovo. The museum is named after Ogarkov and presents expositions about his life.[3]


  1. Zemcov, Ilja: Chernenko: The Last Bolshevik: The Soviet Union on the Eve of Perestroika. Transaction Publishers, 1988. ISBN 0887382606
  2. Mitchell, Judson: Getting to the Top in the USSR: Cyclical Patterns in the Leadership Succession Process. Hoover Institution Press, 1990. ISBN 0817989226
  3. "Культура" (in Russian). Администрация Молоковского района. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 

External links

|- ! colspan="3" style="border-top: 5px solid #CF9C65;" | Military offices

|- style="text-align: center;" |- style="text-align:center;" |style="width:30%;" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
Viktor Kulikov |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union
1977-1984 | style="width: 30%; text-align: center;" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
Sergey Akhromeyev |- |}

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