28 December 2023

2023-12-28 Boris Vasilievich Kravtsov, Hero of the Soviet Union, receives the Imperial Military Order of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker on his 101st Birthday

On December 28, 2023, State Counselor of Justice 1st Class (ret.) Boris Vasilievich Kravtsov turned 101 years old. He is currently the oldest Hero of the Soviet Union by age and date of award, and the last living Hero of the Soviet Union to receive this title during the Second World War. He served as Minister of Justice of the USSR from 1984 to 1989.

On his birthday, a gathering of Boris Vasilievich’s relatives and colleagues was joined by Sergei Nikolaevich Baburin, a knight of the Imperial Military Order of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and Chairman of the Russian All-People’s Union; and by the Director of the Chancellery of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, Dr. Alexander Nikolaevich Zakatov. Also present was Andrei Mikhailovich Snegov, General Director of the International Public Foundation for the Defense of Human Dignity and Security. They all offered their congratulations to the veteran; and on behalf of the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, S. N. Baburin and A. N. Zakatov presented him with the Patent and Insignia of the Imperial Military Order of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, First Class (on the Order, see, in Russian: https://imperialhouse.ru/rus/monograph/articles/113.html).


In their congratulatory remarks to Boris Vasilievich, both S. N. Baburin and A. N. Zakatov noted how critically important it is for all patriots and defenders of the nation to be unified around Russia’s traditional values, the restoration of historical continuity, and the preservation of all the best elements of Russia’s previous historical eras, both before and after the Revolution. Boris Vasilievich warmly thanked Sergei Nikolaevich and Alexander Nikolaevich for their words and congratulations, and he asked that his thanks likewise be extended to the Head of the House of Romanoff. At the end of the visit, a toast and raised glasses were offered to Boris Vasilievich’s continued good health.


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Boris Vasilievich Kravtsov was born in Moscow on December 28, 1922. His father, Vasilii Alekseevich Kravtsov (1891-1942), was declared missing in action during the Second World War.


Boris Vasilievich studied at Moscow Public School No. 131, in the same class as the famous Russian poet Yulia Drunina. After graduating from high school in 1941, he was drafted into the Red Army. From October to August he received basic training in a combat engineering battalion in the city of Chebarkul, in the Chelyabinsk region.


In 1942, he graduated from the Odessa Artillery School (which had been relocated to the city of Sukhoi Log). He was then sent to the Southwestern Front with the rank of lieutenant. He fought in the Kharkov theater of operations, in the Battle of Stalingrad and the encirclement of the German 6th Army, and in the liberation of Pavlodar and Zaporozhye.


On October 24, 1943, as the commander of a reconnaissance unit of the 132nd Guards Artillery Regiment, First Lieutenant B. V. Kravtsov, along with a squad from his reconnaissance unit, crossed the Dnieper to the island of Khortitsa near Zaporozhye. His assignment was to be an artillery spotter against enemy positions on the island, and after establishing radio contact with his regiment, he was able to help target Soviet artillery against German positions. When the enemy counterattacked and surrounded his squad, Lieutenant Kravtsov called for artillery fire on his own position. First Lieutenant B. V. Kravtsov and his men survived the enemy assault and artillery barrage, and the island was cleared of the enemy. For his display of valour, on March 19, 1944, First Lieutenant B. V. Kravtsov was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union (badge No. 3636) by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.


On December 31, 1943, B. V. Kravtsov was seriously wounded underwent extended treatment in several hospitals. In June 1944, he was discharged from the Armed Forces due to disability with the rank of captain. He then entered the Moscow Automobile and Road Technical Institute, but was forced to abandon his studies because of ongoing complications from his wartime injuries.


In 1945, B. V. Kravtsov entered the Moscow Law School, and upon graduation, he enrolled in the All-Union Law Institute (currently the O. E. Kutafin Moscow State Law University). Beginning in 1950, he served in the Ministry of Justice of the USSR. Beginning 1960, he was 1st Deputy Prosecutor of the RSFSR, and in 1971, he was appointed Prosecutor of the RSFSR. He was a Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR for the 8th, 9th and 10th convocations. He then served as a Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR for the 11th convocation. From April 12, 1984, to June 7, 1989, he served as Minister of Justice of the USSR.


Even after retiring, Boris Vasilievich continued to participate in public life. He served as a member of the Board of the Club of Heroes of the Soviet Union, Heroes of Russia and Full Holders of the Order of Glory; legal advisor to the Guild of Russian Lawyers; and Vice-President of the Russian Association of Heroes. He is the author of scholarly monographs and articles, and a full member of the Academy of Military and Historical Sciences.


Boris Vasilievich Kravtsov has been decorated with many awards from the USSR and the Russian Federation. On November 24, 2021, by Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 671, he was awarded the Order of “For Merit to the Fatherland,” 1st Class, “for his significant contributions to the strengthening of the Russian state and for his many years of dedicated work.”


On December 6, 2023, on the feast of St. Alexander Nevsky, The Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. The Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, signed a decree in Moscow awarding Boris Vasilievich Kravtsov the Imperial Military Order of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, 1st Class, “for his service to ensure the military security of the nation and for his many activities that have increased its strength.”


(Photos courtesy V. G. Kuryshev.)

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