“We lived for a reason, we fought not for nothing.” Russian General of the Army Makhmut Gareev passes away

Colleagues of the veteran of six wars honoured his memory with kind words

“We lived for a reason, we fought not for nothing.” Russian General of the Army Makhmut Gareev passes away
Photo: tatarstan.ru

On the morning of 25 December, Army General Makhmut Akhmetovich Gareev, well-known Soviet and Russian military commander, participant in six wars and armed conflicts, holder of many orders, historian, writer and educator, died in Moscow. For a quarter of a century, until his death, he had been the permanent leader of the Academy of Military Sciences of the Russian Federation. The merit of Gareev is great in perpetuating the memory of Tatar poet, Hero of the USSR Musa Dzhalil. Realnoe Vremya appealed to the people who knew Makhmut Akhmetovich. All of them remember General of the Army Gareev exclusively with kind words.

A veteran of six wars

Makhmut Gareev was born on July 23, 1923, in Chelyabinsk, in an ordinary Tatar family. His parents came from the Chishminsky district of Bashkiria. In 1939, he enlisted in the Red Army, after which he studied at the Tashkent Infantry Military School. He was an officer in the military units of Central Asia, and since 1942 he fought on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War. In 1945, he participated in the battles against Japan in the Far East. He finished the war as a major at the age of only 22.

After the war, he continued to serve in various units throughout the country, building a great military career. In 1950, he graduated from the Frunze Military Academy, in 1959 — the Military Academy of the General Staff. He headed divisions, was deputy commander of the army, chief of staff of the Ural military district, and since 1984 — deputy chief of the General Staff.

Gareev led Soviet military missions abroad: in the '70s in Egypt, in the '80s in Afghanistan.

After retiring in 1992, Makhmut Gareev was actively engaged in scientific, educational and social activities. In 1995, he founded the Academy of Military Sciences of the Russian Federation, the president of which he remained until his death.

In 2013, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary, Gareev was invited to a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, receiving from the Supreme Commander the order For Merit to the Motherland of the 3d degree. Photo: kremlin.ru

Makhmut Gareev is the author of many books and articles on history and military sciences.

He was an active participant in events organized under the auspices of the Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Tatarstan in Moscow, including meetings of the Officers' Club. He repeatedly visited Kazan, participated in the congresses of the World Congress of the Tatars. At the age of 96, he was included the book of records as the oldest General in the history of the Soviet Army.

Makhmut Akhmetovich is a knight of many orders. In 2013, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary, Gareev was invited to a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, receiving from the Supreme Commander the order For Merit to the Motherland of the 3d degree. In 2018, on the eve of his 95th birthday, Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu presented Gareev with the Order of Alexander Nevsky.

One of the issues of the TV project Compatriots on the TNV Channel is dedicated to Makhmut Gareev.

General of the Army Makhmut Gareev until his last day had a clear mind, the ability to critical analysis, closely followed the international agenda and remained an expert in the field of military science. For example, in February 2016, Makhmut Akhmetovich gave Realnoe Vrmeya an interview on the current situation of Russia on the world stage, the situation in Syria and Ukraine. In the conversation with our correspondent, the expert demonstrated a good awareness of the current agenda.

“We are mourning with you…"

President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov sent a telegram of condolences to the son of Makhmut Akhmetovich — Timur Gareev.

“Dear Timur Makhmutovich! We, the people of Tatarstan and personally I, condole with you for the grief that has befallen all of us — the death of your father, General of the Army Makhmut Akhmetovich Gareev," the telegram reads. “The legendary front-line soldier who devoted all his life to the service of the Motherland, experienced and authoritative military commander, recognized military theorist, the author of numerous books, he was a worthy officer of strong professional training, a man of high culture and strength of spirit, sincerely devoted to the interests of the country. He was among those who defended Moscow, participated in the bloody battles near Rzhev, liberated Europe and fought in the Far East. Behind him, there are Afghanistan and a number of other flashpoints, fruitful scientific activities, major fundamental research in the field of military science, works about outstanding Russian commanders — he will remain forever in the grateful memory of Tatarstan as courageous, multi-faceted, passionate and tireless. We are grieving with you, and we also ask you to convey our condolences to your sister Galiya Makhmutovna and all your family and friends. Strength to you and fortitude in these sad days.

“I have never met such a person, and it is unlikely that I will ever meet again”

According to Vice-President of the Academy of Military Sciences Sergey Modestov, Makhmut Gareev was the model of selfless service to the Motherland for him.

“For us, he was the most reliable, most authoritative leader, behind whom we at the Academy of Military Sciences felt like behind a stone wall. He was absolutely, completely reliable person, sincere, very honest and really selflessly served the Motherland all his life. He was the most reliable companion to whom you could turn with any question, he always found a solution. He was very caring, extremely friendly. A real military intellectual. Despite the fact that he came from an ordinary family, everything was achieved by himself. He went through hard life trials, the front. About three years ago, we went on a business trip to China, and the day before he had gathered us. I worried about how he would go: it was obvious that it was feeling bad. But when we arrived at the airport, I saw a combat officer who could mobilize himself and for whom the duty was paramount. For me, his death is a great loss because I have never met such a person, and it is unlikely that I will ever meet again. I sent my condolences to Timur Makhmutovich, his son," Sergey Modestov told Realnoe Vremya. “Makhmut Akhmetovich was with us and he will remain. I am preparing a large book for publication, to which he had written the introductory word. He was very modest. For me, he was and will remain the ideal leader.”

“You do not put me out of action ahead of time”

The staff of the Academy of Military Sciences tried to protect Makhmut Akhmetovich from stress, but the leader, despite his advanced age, took an active part in the work of the organization.

“We blame ourselves a little for not saving him. He had been very worried about the slightest problems lately. The other day, the reason for this feeling was that he did not have time to arrive at the board meeting of the ministry of defense in time, and he was very upset: at this age, people take everything very much to heart. His colleagues should have dissuaded him, saved... We are sorry because this trifling reason caused stress, which, perhaps, the body at the 97th year of life could not bear," added Sergey Modestov. “I remember how for the same reasons, the desire to save, I tried to dissuade him from active participation in business, offered to move to a specially created position of honourary president of the academy to free him from routine administrative work. He was offended and said: “No, do not put me out of action ahead of time.” And he remained at the helm of our academy until the end. By the way, next year we have planned the main celebrations on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the academy, it is a pity that they will be held without the participation of Makhmut Akhmetovich.”

As FSB General in Reserve Alexander Mikhailov noted in a conversation with Realnoe Vremya: “Makhmut Gareev was a great man, historian, specialist and recognized authority in the field of military science, who created and for a long time led the Academy of Military Sciences. He is a worthy man who did a lot for the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union and Russia.”

“The star of General Gareev's Army will certainly light up in the sky and in our memory”

Makhmut Gareev took an active part in perpetuating the memory of the Tatar poet, war hero Musa Dzhalil. As Alexander Furs, the vice-president of the Fund for Support of the Project 'Tribute to Memory' named after Musa Dzhalil, told Realnoe Vremya, it was Gareev who ensured that the Museum of Resistance to Nazism in Berlin opened the exhibition dedicated to Musa Dzhalil and his associates.

According to Furs, Makhmut Gareev did not divide people by ethnicity.

“For us, General of the Army Gareev was and will always remain a legend of service to Russia, Tatarstan, an internationalist, a Man with a capital letter, a hero in all respects. No wonder the defense minister listened to Gareev's advice, and at the celebrations on the occasion of the anniversary of the Victory, Russian President Vladimir Putin was next to Gareev. At the same time, Gareev was certainly unusually modest for a man with such a biography. And he didn't divide people by ethnicity. In his memoirs, he wrote that from the time when he studied at the military school in Tashkent, he remembered all his comrades by their place of residence, by their names, but did not remember who they were by ethnicity because it does not matter. He used to say there were are ethnicities: a good man and not very one," said Alexander Furs. “The fact that he was the co-chairman of the Board of Trustees of our fund together with Chulpan Museevna Zalilova, the daughter of Musa Dzhalil, and Alexander Inshakov, a famous actor and stuntman, was a great support and help for us in the implementation of the Tribute To Memory project. It is very sad that such people leave our lives. I think I will be supported by many of those who served with him in various parts of our vast country and abroad, all of them will be sad today. But people like Gareev do not pass away. As they said in Ancient Rome, when a famous person passes away, his star lights up in the sky. And today the star of General Gareev, the worthy son of our multi-ethnic, multi-confessional Russia, will surely light up in the sky and in our memory. Eternal memory to him, eternal rest and eternal glory.”

“He stood up with weapons and a pen in his hands “in defense of the Motherland”

The Plenipotentiary Mission of the Republic of Tatarstan in the Russian Federation expressed condolences in connection with the death of Makhmut Gareev.

The World Congress of the Tatars and the Council of Muftis of Russia joined the condolences in connection with the death of Gareev. The Chairman of the Council and the Muslim Spiritual Board of the Russian Federation Ravil Gaynutdin noted that the whole life path of Makhmut Akhmetovich is the path of a true warrior and a true patriot.

“The entire life path of the highly respected Mahmut Akhmetovich is the path of a true warrior, a true patriot. From the first days of the Great Patriotic War to the last breath, he was the defender of his Fatherland, our Fatherland. The boundless activity and creative energy inherent in Makhmut Gareev was reflected in every day of his life. In peacetime, Makhmut Akhmetovich brought up more than one generation of valiant defenders of the Fatherland," said Ravil khazrat.

“We lived for a reason, we fought not for nothing," said Makhmut Akhmetovich Gareev at the time. I suppose, all his whole life is absolute proof of that.

By Vitaly Akhmerov
Tatarstan