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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ex-Minister Injured in Crash




Former Defense Minister Pavel Grachev suffered serious injuries when the vehicle in which he was riding overturned, Interfax reported Friday.


The agency, quoting unidentified sources, said Grachev was admitted to a hospital Thursday in the central Russian city of Ryazan. Doctors said he is conscious but in a serious condition, and is likely to be moved to a Moscow hospital soon. There was no official confirmation of the report Friday night.


Interfax quoted sources as saying the former minister, who was fired in June 1996, was in an accident on the outskirts of Ryazan. NTV television reported Friday night that another vehicle had collided with Grachev's.


Grachev, 50, has in recent days been linked to an investigation into the 1994 killing of journalist Dmitry Kholodov. The Prosecutor General's Office on Friday charged Colonel Pavel Popovskikh, the retired head of the intelligence for Russia's airborne troops, with organizing Kholodov's murder.


Grachev headed the airborne troops from 1990 to 1992 when President Boris Yeltsin appointed him defense minister. Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper said Wednesday that Grachev was questioned this week by investigators in the Kholodov case. It added that Grachev and Popovskikh were acquainted and had previously worked closely together.


Kholodov, a military correspondent for the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets, was killed Oct. 17, 1994, when a booby-trapped briefcase exploded in his office just days before he was due to testify to the State Duma, parliament's lower house, on corruption in the military.


Grachev, often called "Pasha Mercedes" in the media, has frequently been associated with military graft, but the allegations have never been proved.