Last marshal of Soviet Union Dmitry Yazov passes away

Photo by lenta.ru
Photo by lenta.ru

The last marshal of the Soviet Union Dmitry Yazov has passed away today.

Russia's defence ministry said in a statement carried by news agencies that Yazov had died in Moscow on February 25 at the age of 95 following a "serious and prolonged illness".

Yazov joined the Red Army voluntarily in November 1941, a seventeen-year-old young man, not having time to finish high school. When he joined the army, he attributed to himself a year. 

After graduating from the military school, Yazov fought in the Great Patriotic War, where he was injured twice. Between 1942 and 1945, he led an infantry squad, and later a company at Volkhov and Leningrad fronts. He took part in the defense of Leningrad, and Soviet offensive in the Baltic and the Army Group Courland blockade.

Yazov was a key part of Black January (January 19-20).

Defence minister between 1987 and 1991, Yazov participated in a coup against then USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991, a year after being awarded the rank of marshal.

The coup failed and its leaders were arrested three days later, but the attempted overthrow heralded the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was finally dissolved in December 1991.

Yazov was released from prison in 1993 and granted amnesty for his role in the failed coup in 1994.

Yazov remained a revered figure in Russia. On February 4, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu awarded him the "For Merit to the Fatherland" award. He was also decorated by President Vladimir Putin, who awarded him the Order of Honor in 2004 and the Order Alexander Nevsky in 2014.

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