Andrei Antonovich Grechko was born in October in the small village of Golodayevka of the Kuibyshev district of the Rostov region in October 1903. He participated in the Civil War, joining the Red Army in 1919. In 1926, Grechko graduated from a cavalry school, in 1936, the Military Academy named after MV Frunze, and just before the war in 1941, the Military Academy of the General Staff. In the early days of World War II, he worked at the General Staff, but in July 1941 headed the 34 Cavalry Division, which in the first half of August of the same year engaged the Germans south of the capital of Ukraine.
During World War II he successively commanded a division, corps (from January 1942 of the year), operational group of troops (from March of 1942 of the year), army (from April of 1942 of the year). Andrei Grechko ended the war as commander of the 1 Guards Army, which he accepted in December 1943. After the war, he continued his way up the army career, reaching the very top. In 1967, Andrei Antonovich Grechko became Minister of Defense of the Soviet Union.
The commander of the 1 Guards Army, Colonel-General A. A. Grechko (center) on the line of Arpad. 1944 year
The version that the defense minister was helped to die was largely based only on the fact that Andrei Antonovich was distinguished by excellent health, and there were simply no prerequisites for his sudden death. The version of the "conspiracy theory", in particular, was considered by Vitaly Karyukov in an article published on the portal "Free Press". In general, on the Internet you can find some more authors who also develop this version.
Marshal of the Soviet Union Andrei Antonovich Grechko was really a sporty and healthy person. By the time of his death, at his dacha, the marshal was perfectly healthy and led an active lifestyle, taking quite long walks. Grechko was a passionate fan and often attended football and hockey matches for his company with Leonid Brezhnev. Moreover, he did play sports himself: he played tennis and volleyball well and with pleasure.
“After graduating from the institute, I was sent by special order to serve at CSKA, although I had to get into the landing forces. It so happened that before I was sent to a part, they asked me to play with Marshal Grechko, who, after the end of the match, ordered me to come to the person next day. So in the end I was left at CSKA, ”recalls Shamil Tarpishchev, President of the Russian Tennis Federation. According to him, for his age, Andrei Antonovich was a very decent tennis player. He told about the tragicomic event that once occurred on a tennis court. Korotkov, who played with me (the marshal preferred to play only in pairs), accidentally got Grechko right in the stomach. While the defense minister regained consciousness, two officers managed to jump out on the court, who quickly tied up the athlete. However, they did not have time to drag him off the court. Catching his breath, the marshal ordered them to leave, explaining that what was happening was just a game. After this curious incident, the same adjutants accompanied the marshal in civilian clothes. Apparently, they decided that uniformed officers, who twist the tennis player's hands, are too sinister, especially if viewed from the side.
At the same time, Andrei Antonovich not only kept himself in good physical shape, but also attracted his direct subordinates to regular physical training. Even marshals of the Soviet Union played volleyball with him. Regardless of their positions, they met early in the morning twice a week in the Weightlifting Palace of CSKA, where they trained together for the full program for one and a half hours. The Minister of Defense himself liked to play volleyball along with everyone, demonstrating by personal example that you shouldn’t part with physical training, no matter what age you are. Therefore, it seems strange, like a smart, strong, health-breathing marshal so suddenly passed away at the age of 72.
According to the memoirs of Yevgeny Rodionov, the officer of the "nine" (guard), who was attached to the marshal, the corpse of the Minister of Defense was discovered by them on the morning of April 26 of 1976. The charges for the meeting were already coming to an end, but Andrei Antonovich never came to the table, although he always had breakfast before the start of the working day. Worried about the lack of a marshal, the guard asked his relatives to check what was wrong with him. And since the Minister of Defense strictly forbade anyone to enter his room, it was decided to send his great-granddaughter to the outhouse where Grechko lived. She found her already cold great-grandfather: he seemed to have fallen asleep while sitting in the chair.
After the discovery of the body, everything began to turn: the death of the marshal was reported where necessary preparations began, and on the same day, information was given to the media about the death of the country's defense minister. By the way, an autopsy carried out later showed only that the marshal had died the day before, roughly at 9 in the evening. No more autopsy showed. It would seem that all supporters of the conspiracy can rest, but if it is still assumed that Grechko, for some reason, was decided to be eliminated, then for this there were a sufficient number of sophisticated methods.
Ever since 1937, under the direction of Professor Grigory Moiseevich Majranovsky, and in the future Colonel of Medical Service in the USSR, a toxicology laboratory (“Laboratory-X”), which was part of the Twelfth Division of the State Department of Internal Affairs of the NKVD of the USSR, was already working. In 40 years of continuous development, Soviet toxicology was able to achieve truly transcendental peaks. For example, in the Soviet Union poisons were created that could not be detected by any analyzes or tests. Such poisons did not even need to be poured into food or sprayed into the air. There was a sufficient number of filigree ways of "transfer" of such poisons. For example, it was enough just to shake hands with a person. Before that, the alleged killer put poison on his arm just before the handshake. After that, he wiped his hand with an antidote. But his vis-a-vis through 3-4 of the day could have passed away: just fall asleep and never wake up again, which is what happened to Andrei Antonovich.
It is worth noting that Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev was a very subtle psychologist and strategist. He tried to place only well-known, loyal and close to him people to all leading posts in the country. Grechko in this regard was no special exception. First, because both of them were peers with a difference in the age of the entire 3 year. Secondly, both fought on the territory of the Kuban during World War II, in particular, in the armies that liberated Novorossiysk from the fascists (Grechko commanded the 56 army, the future general secretary served in 18). Thirdly, the future Minister of Defense of the Soviet Union was an active participant in the conspiracy against Khrushchev. However, could the general secretary be offended by his marshal to such an extent as to “sentence” him. Most likely, no, and Leonid Ilyich was never famous for his bloodthirstiness.
However, in the 1976 year, which was a jubilee anniversary for Brezhnev, in December, the general secretary was 70 years old, they began to prepare for the holiday in advance, from the very beginning of the year. And when in the spring of 1976, one of the members of the Central Committee of the party suggested Andrei Antonovich to assign Leonid Ilyich a Marshal's title, he flatly refused to fulfill this whim, saying the very phrase. Grechko remembered very well that at the height of the battle in the Kuban the future general secretary was just a colonel, while he himself at that time commanded the army and wore shoulder straps for the colonel general. Most likely, Grechko until the very last moment considered this undertaking of Brezhnev to be utter nonsense. But in this he was greatly mistaken, as the secretary general simply loved the stars on his chest and shoulder straps until he was selfless. Depriving Brezhnev of his favorite "toys" was rather rash.
Military ranks and truth were a certain point of Brezhnev. Even during the war years, Leonid Ilyich dreamed of being promoted to general and was very worried about this. Only in November 1944, he managed to get long-awaited general's epaulets for himself. At the same time, he had a certain inferiority complex for a long time, especially when he was standing on the podium of the Mausoleum surrounded by marshals. At that time, the general secretary was "only" a lieutenant general. Probably for this reason, even in 1974, Leonid Ilyich decided to jump over the rank of colonel-general and immediately become a general of the army. In this aspect, the Secretary General’s negative reaction to Grechko’s objections is quite predictable. And the phrase “Only over my dead body!” Dropped by the marshal could have become what prompted the secretary general to think badly.
It is also worth noting that due to the fact that during the war Leonid Brezhnev served almost under the command of the future marshal, Andrei Grechko more than once torpedoed all decisions of the general secretary. This was not surprising. Andrei Antonovich was a handsome handsome man, with almost two-meter height, this man by his vocation and should have been a commander. Sometimes it came to the direct attacks of the marshal at the address of the general secretary right at the meetings of the Politburo. Brezhnev meekly endured this criticism.
But do not forget that by the year 1976, Leonid Ilyich was already a sick man who had suffered a clinical death not so long ago. Sometimes, in some conditions, he was not fully aware of what he was doing. At the same time, Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev was not the only one who could “take offense” at the marshal. Andrei Antonovich did not have direct problems with the KGB of the USSR, but he didn’t hide his negative attitude to the growth of bureaucratic structures of the KGB in the USSR and the increasing influence of the department. These views were the cause of a certain tension in the relationship of the marshal with Andropov. He hardly shared the sphere of influence with the Minister of Defense and Ustinov, who in June 1941 received the post of people's commissar of armaments. This allowed Ustinov to consider himself a man who did a lot to strengthen the country's defense and did not need any advice from anyone.
It is believed that the department headed by Andropov could have been involved in the death of Andrei Grechko in his own summer cottage. The strange deaths that accompanied the leadership of the Politburo for several years after the death of the marshal speak in favor of this version. So in 1978, the secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU on agricultural issues Fyodor Davydovich Kulakov came to his dacha, sat there with the guests, after which he went to bed and did not wake up. People close to him noted his excellent health. It was also strange that on the eve of his death his personal doctor and guards left his dacha. In the future, Semyon Kuzmich Tsvigun and Mikhail Andreevich Suslov left not the most obvious ways.
In any case, whether the death of Marshal Grechko was natural, or if someone put his hand to it (perhaps literally), we can only find out when all the archives are open. Unless, of course, documents that could shed information on the death of a marshal exist in general.