Pavel Batitsky

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Pavel Batitsky
Birth name Pavel Fyodorovich Batitsky
Born 27 June 1910
Died 17 February 1984(1984-02-17) (aged 73)
Allegiance  Soviet Union
Service/branch Red Army
Years of service 1924–1978
Commands held Moscow Military District

Pavel Fyodorovich Batitsky (27 June 1910 – 17 February 1984) was a Soviet military leader awarded the highest honorary title of Hero of the Soviet Union in 1965 and appointed Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1968. Batitsky served in the Red Army from 1924 and was commander-in-chief of the Air Defense Forces from 1966 to 1978. Following the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953, he was chosen to execute Lavrenty Beria, the former head of the NKVD.


He was born in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov and served in the Red Army from October 1924. At the age of 14, he entered the Kharkov military prep school and in 1926 he was sent to study at the Military Cavalry School, graduating in 1929. From March 1929 to May 1935 he served in the cavalry and commanded a platoon and squad in the Belorussian Military District.

In 1938 he graduated with honors from the Frunze Military Academy. From September 1939 to December 1940 he was on a business trip in China and was Chief of Staff of Soviet military advisers at the headquarters of Chiang Kai-shek. Upon returning he was made Chief of Staff of the Motorized Brigade of Kaunas in the Baltic Special Military District. In March 1941 he was appointed Chief of Staff of the 202nd Motorised Division. Later that year he took command of the 254th Rifle Division. Later, during World War II, he commanded the 73rd Rifle Corps (1943–1944) and the 128th Rifle Corps (1944–1945). After World War II he was Chief of the Air Staff (1950–1953).

In December 1953 he was chosen to personally execute Lavrenty Beria as part of a plot led by Nikita Khrushchev and assisted by the military forces of Marshal Georgy Zhukov (Batitsky was Colonel-General and Deputy Commander of the Moscow Military District at the time).[1][2] Thus, he was a future Marshal of the Soviet Union who personally killed a former Marshal of the Soviet Union (Beria also held this rank from 1945 until he was arrested in June 1953).

He died in Moscow in 1984.

Honours and awards