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Marshal Yazov in 2013
|Minister of Defence|
30 May 1987 – 22 August 1991
|Preceded by||Sergei Sokolov|
|Succeeded by||Yevgeny Shaposhnikov|
|Born||8 November 1924|
Omsk Oblast, Soviet Union
|Communist Party of the Soviet Union|
|Allegiance|| Soviet Union|
Russian Ground Forces
|Years of service||1941–1994|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Dmitry Timofeyevich Yazov (Russian: Дми́трий Тимофе́евич Я́зов; born 8 November 1924) is the last Marshal of the Soviet Union to be appointed (on 28 April 1990) before the fall of the Soviet Union. He is the only Marshal of the Soviet Union to be born in Siberia. A veteran of the Great Patriotic War, Yazov is the last surviving Soviet Marshal and the only military marshal not to have been awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
In 1971–1973, he commanded the 32nd Army Corps in the Crimean region of the Odessa Military District. In 1979–1980, Yazov was commander of the Central Group of Forces in Czechoslovakia. He was commanding the Far East Military District in the northern summer of 1986, when, according to Time magazine, he made a favourable impression on General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, which led to later promotions. He held the post of Soviet Defence Minister from May 1987. From June 1987 to July 1990, Yazov was a candidate member of the Politburo. He was a key part of Black January. Yazov was responsible for deployment of Russian OMON commando units to Latvia and Lithuania in early 1991. During the August Coup of 1991, Yazov was a member of the State Emergency Committee, for which he was removed from his post by Gorbachev. During the Yeltsin period, Yazov was prosecuted and acquitted in 1994.
Yazov spent 18 months in Matrosskaya Tishina. According to the magazine Vlast' No. 41(85) of 14 October 1991 "...from the prison contacted the President with a recorded video message, where repented and called himself "an old fool"". Yazov denies ever doing so. He did accept the amnesty offered by Yeltsin, stating that he was not guilty. He was dismissed from the military service by Presidential Order and awarded a ceremonial weapon. He was awarded an order of Honor by the President of Russian Federation. Yazov later worked as a military adviser at the General Staff Academy.
Despite his selection by Gorbachev for the Defence Minister's position, William Odom, in his book The Collapse of the Soviet Military, repeats Alexander Yakovlev's description of Yazov as a "mediocre officer", "fit to command a division but nothing higher". Odom suggests Gorbachev was only looking for "careerists who would follow orders, any orders".
In March 2019, Yazov was tried in absentia and convicted of war crimes by a Lithuanian court for his role in the military crackdown in Lithuania in January 1991, and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Russia denounced the trial as politically motivated and refused to extradite Yazov.
In popular culture
Awards and honors
- Order of Lenin, twice
- Order of the October Revolution
- Order of the Red Banner
- Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class
- Order of the Red Star
- Order for Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces of the USSR, 3rd class
- Medal "For Military Merit"
- Medal "For Impeccable Service", 1st and 2nd classes
- Medal "For Distinction in Guarding the State Border of the USSR"
- Medal "Veteran of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
- Medal "For Strengthening Military Cooperation"
- Medal "For Development of the Virgin Lands"
- Medal "For the Defence of Leningrad"
- jubilee medals
- Order of Red Banner (Afghanistan)
- Order of "Friendship of Peoples" (Afghanistan)
- Medal "For the strengthening of friendship in Arms" (Bulgaria)
- Order of Che Guevara (Cuba)
- Order of Red Banner (Czechoslovakia)
- Scharnhorst Order (East Germany)
- Medal "20 years of independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan"
- Medal "30 years of Victory over Japan" (Mongolia)
- Medal "40 years of Khalkhin Gol Victory" (Mongolia)
- Medal "50 Years of the Mongolian People's Revolution" (Mongolia)
- Order of Civil Merit, 1st class (Syria)
- Order of St. Grand Prince Dmitry Donskoy (Russian Orthodox Church)
- "Dmitry Yazov". www.globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
- Odom, 1998, p. 111
- "Lithuania convicts Russians of war crimes under Soviet rule". BBC News. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
- 27. March 2019, Lithuania convicts Russians of war crimes under Soviet rule, bbc.com
| Minister of Defence of Soviet Union