Grachev accused of corruption
Saturday 04 February 1995
The liberal daily Sevodnya (Today) accused General Grachev of retiring to bed with "trench disease" or cowardice, not over the army's failure in Chechnya, but over the discovery of an undeclared bank account in Germany full of money which belonged in Russian state coffers.
The article was written by Sergei Parkhomenko, a usually reliable journalist who made his name during the hardline uprising of October 1993 by revealing that the Kremlin had been in disarray for hours until General Grachev stopped dithering and decided to back President Yeltsin in his assault on the White House. Gratitude for that loyalty apparently made Mr Yeltsin overlook accusations of corruption levelled at the defence minister last autumn, when his symptoms of stress first appeared.
The general was admitted to hospital this week for a check-up. The daily Izvestia speculated on Thursday that President Boris Yeltsin, unhappy in the way in which the army has become bogged down in Chechnya, might use his minister's illness as a pretext for sacking him and revising his policy towards the separatist Caucasian region.
But Sevodnya reported that, based on information from "various unrelated sources, President Yeltsin had, at a meeting of the Security Council on 25 January, confronted General Grachev with an embarrassing document showing that, when the former Soviet army was withdrawing from eastern Europe, defence ministry officials had opened a bank account in Berlin in 1992 to siphon off the proceeds from the sale of military equipment. For example, money from the sale of army fuel in Bulgaria went into the account.
"The diagnosis of General Grachev's illness is ``trench disease'', a term used for plain cowardice since the First World War" Sevodnya said. "But it is not the mess in Grozny which makes him panic, rather events of another kind, political and criminal."
Those accusations were serious - that General Grachev had presided over widespread corruption among army officers leaving Germany in the summer of 1994 and, specifically, that he had accepted a Mercedes car bought from a fund which should have gone to house returning Russian soldiers.
An investigative reporter, Dmitry Kholodov of the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets, was killed by a briefcase bomb after digging too deeply into this affair. General Grachov's deputy Matvei Burlakov fell in the public furore which surrounded Kholodov's death but the defence minister hung on by the skin of his teeth.
Then the war in Chechnya began, diverting attention from the army's shame.
General Grachev boasted that his men could subdue the Chechen rebels in a matter of hours. But since Russian troops have failed to take Grozny, his position looks weaker than ever.
- 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
- 2 Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
Bali Nine executions live: Indonesian firing squad shoots dead eight drug offenders despite outcry around world, but a ninth is spared
Keith Harris dead: Orville the Duck ventriloquist dies aged 67 following battle with cancer
The four utterly contradictory polls that tell the story of this election and why it is pointless trying to predict the outcome
Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
General Election 2015: Prospect of Labour-SNP coalition makes one in four voters less likely to support Ed Miliband, says survey
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...
£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...
£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...