- Category : 1950-births
- Type : GP
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Laws 1
Russian politician and military leader. He participated in most of his country’s military conflicts in the last two decades of the 20th century.
The son of a metalworker, Lebed was born in the Novocherkassk, Rostov region of the U.S.S.R. He graduated from the Ryazan Higher Aviation School in 1973, and after completing his studies at the Frunze Military Academy, he joined the army, becoming the first member of his family to embark on a military career. As a paratrooper, he served in the Afghan War during 1981-82 and was honored with the Hero-of-the-Soviet-Union medal. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming deputy commander of the Soviet Airborne forces.
During a coup attempt in August 1991, Lebed allied himself with Boris Yeltsin who publicly thanked him for his defense of the Russian political center. The next year, Lebed led Russian troops in Moldova, negotiating a peace agreement and becoming a symbol of success and competence for his tired and war-torn country. Beginning in 1991, his relationship with Yeltsin grew strained, forcing his resignation from the Russian Defense Committee in July 1994. During 1996, he won Yeltsin’s gratitude again and was made national security advisor. On 31 August 1996, he brokered a peace agreement with the Chechen rebels, bringing an end to the civil war.
Toward the end of 1996, with Yeltsin ill with heart disease, their relationship again became strained. He was fired in October 1996 after only four months as national security chief, and in December 1996, calling for Yeltsin to step down for health reasons, Lebed formed his own political party, the Russian Popular Republican Party. The public saw him as an honest man and military hero, and his dry wit and no-nonsense manner set him apart from the political elite. He was criticized for presenting his ideas in "cryptic aphorisms," but charismatic and appealing, he promised the people that as president he would bring law and order to the country. He told the press that he was "sick and tired of guarding the sleep and safety of crooks." Despite this, his presidential bid failed, but Yeltsin appointed him as national security advisor and put him on the powerful Security Council.
Lebed is married with three children.
On 28 April 2002, Lebed, 52, was killed in a helicopter crash when his Mi-8 hit a power line in foul weather, Krasnoyarsk, along with seven other people.