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|Matvei Vasilevich Zakharov|
Marshal Matvei Zakharov, USSR stamp (1978).
|Native name||Матве́й Васи́льевич Заха́ров|
August 17, 1898|
Voylovo village, near Tver, Russian Empire
|Died||January 31, 1972
Moscow, Soviet Union
|Buried at||Kremlin Wall Necropolis|
|Years of service||1917 — 1971|
|Rank||Marshal of the Soviet Union|
Matvei Vasilevich Zakharov (Russian: Матве́й Васи́льевич Заха́ров, August 17, 1898 – January 31, 1972) Marshal of the Soviet Union, Chief of General Staff, Deputy Defense Minister, was born in Tver, to peasant parents. Zakharov joined the Red Guards (precursor to the Red Army) in 1917. He served under Kliment Voroshilov during the Russian Civil War. Zakharov graduated from the Frunze Military Academy in 1928, and from Soviet General Staff Academy in 1937 (his graduation was actually a year ahead of schedule, due to the lack of officers in the Red Army because of the explosive growth of the army, as well as Stalin's purges.) Zakharov held a number of high-ranking positions before World War II even began. In 1937 he was made the Chief of Staff of the Leningrad Military District, then from 1938-1940 he was the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, and then the Chief of Staff of the Odessa Military District.
By the end of 1941, after the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, he was moved north, where he was made the Chief of Staff of the Northwestern Theatre. Soon thereafter, he was made the Chief of Staff of the Kalinin Front, a role he held for most of 1942. In 1943, he was made the Chief of Staff of the Steppe Front, which was renamed the 2nd Ukrainian Front around mid-year. It was in this capacity that Zakharov proved himself as one of the Soviet Union’s top military commanders. He helped plan a number of brilliant operations against German forces, first as a subordinate to Marshal Ivan Konev, and then under Marshal Rodion Malinovsky. After the cessation of hostilities with Germany, Zakharov was transferred east, where he was made the Chief of Staff of the Transbaikal Front, and helped plan the subsequent invasion of Manchuria.
After the war, Zakharov held a number of key positions in the army. Between 1945-1960, Zakharov was the Commandant of the General Staff Academy, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Chief Inspector of the Army, Commander in Chief of the Leningrad Military District and Commander in Chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. On May 8, 1959, Zakharov was made a Marshal of the Soviet Union. After attaining that rank, Zakarhov was simultaneously made Chief of the General Staff and Deputy Minister of Defence from 1960-63. He then briefly went back to the General Staff Academy where he was once again the commandant until 1964, when he was made the Deputy Minister of Defense, a post he held until his retirement in 1971.
Marshal M. V. Zakharov died on January 31, 1972. The urn containing his ashes is buried by the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.
Honours and awards 
- Hero of the Soviet Union (8 September 1945, 22 September 1971)
- Five Orders of Lenin ((21 February 1945, 8 September 1945, 21 June 1957, 2 February 1958, 22 February 1968)
- Order of the October Revolution (16 August 1968)
- Order of the Red Banner, four times (22 February 1938, 31 December 1942, 3 November 1944, 6 November 1947)
- Order of Suvorov, 1st class, twice (13 September 1944, 28 April 1945)
- Order of Kutuzov, 1st class, twice (27 August 1943, 22 February 1944)
- Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky, 1st class (17 May 1944)
- Order of the Red Star (31 December 1939)
- Honorary weapon with gold National Emblem of the Soviet Union (22 February 1968)
- Jubilee Medal "XX Years of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army"
- Hero of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (28 April 1970)
- Order of Klement Gottwald
Further reading 
- Колпакиди А., Север А. ГРУ. Уникальная энциклопедия. — М.: Яуза Эксмо, 2009. — С. 692-693. — 720 с. — (Энциклопедия спецназа). — 5000 экз. — ISBN 978-5-699-30920-7
- Richard Woff: Matvei Vasilievich Zakharov, in: Shukman Harold: Stalin's Generals (New York 1993). (See also Shukman, Harold (2001). Stalin's Generals. Phoenix Press. ISBN 1-84212-513-3.)
- B.Z. Gryaznow: Marschall Sacharow (Moskau 1979) -russisch
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