Dmitry Yazov

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Dmitry Yazov
Дми́трий Я́зов
Язов Дмитрий Тимофеевич, 1989 год.jpg
Yazov in 1989
Minister of Defence
In office
30 May 1987 – 22 August 1991
Premier Nikolai Ryzhkov
Valentin Pavlov
Preceded by Sergei Sokolov
Succeeded by Yevgeny Shaposhnikov
Personal details
Born (1924-11-08) November 8, 1924 (age 90)
Omsk Oblast, Soviet Union
Nationality Soviet/Russian
Other political
affiliations
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Military service
Allegiance Soviet Union/Russian Federation
Service/branch Soviet Army/Russian Ground Forces
Years of service 1941–1994
Rank Marshal
Battles/wars World War II, Soviet war in Afghanistan

Dmitry Timofeyevich Yazov (Russian: Дми́трий Тимофе́евич Я́зов; born November 8, 1924) was the last Marshal of the Soviet Union to be appointed before the collapse of the Soviet Union (on April 28, 1990). He was the only Marshal of the Soviet Union to be born in Siberia. A veteran of the Great Patriotic War, Yazov is the last surviving Marshal and the only one not to have been awarded Hero of the Soviet Union.

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. In 1987–1990, Yazov was a candidate for membership in 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 purged 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".[1] Odom suggests Gorbachev was only looking for "careerists who would follow orders, any orders".

In popular culture[edit]

Yazov appears in Tom Clancy's Cold War espionage thriller The Cardinal of the Kremlin in his capacity as Defence Minister and the superior of the titular spy Colonel Filitov.

Honours and awards[edit]

President Vladimir Putin shaking hands with Yazov on his 90th birthday, 8 November 2014

Soviet Orders and Medals[edit]

Order of Lenin ribbon bar.png Order of Lenin, twice
Order october revolution rib.png Order of the October Revolution
Order of Red Banner ribbon bar.png Order of the Red Banner
Order gpw1 rib.png Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class
Order redstar rib.png Order of the Red Star
Order service to the homeland3 rib.png Order for Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces of the USSR, 3rd class
CombatRibbon.png Medal "For Military Merit"
20YearsServiceUSSRRibbon.png Medal "For Impeccable Service", 1st and 2nd classes
GuardRibbon.png Medal "For Distinction in Guarding the State Border of the USSR"
MilitaryVeteranRibbon.png Medal "Veteran of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
CombatCooperationRibbon.jpg Medal "For Strengthening Military Cooperation"
Reclamining the virgin lands rib.png Medal "For Development of the Virgin Lands"
Defleningrad.png Medal "For the Defence of Leningrad"
OrderStGeorge4cl rib.png Medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"
20 years of victory rib.png Jubilee Medal "Twenty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
30 years of victory rib.png Jubilee Medal "Thirty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
40 years of victory rib.png Jubilee Medal "Forty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
50 years of victory rib.png Jubilee Medal "50 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"
60 years of victory rib.png Jubilee Medal "60 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"
65 ann WW2 ribbon.jpg Jubilee Medal "65 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"
30 years saf rib.png Jubilee Medal "30 Years of the Soviet Army and Navy"
40 years saf rib.png Jubilee Medal "40 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
50 years saf rib.png Jubilee Medal "50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
60 years saf rib.png Jubilee Medal "60 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
70 years saf rib.png Jubilee Medal "70 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR"
100 lenin rib.png Jubilee Medal "In Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary since the Birth of Vladimir Il'ich Lenin", "For Military Valour"
Soviet 250th Anniversary Of Leningrad Ribbon.jpg Medal "In Commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of Leningrad"
Ribbon Medal 300 years Saint-Petersburg.png Medal "In Commemoration of the 300th Anniversary of Saint Petersburg"

Russian Federation Orders and Medals[edit]

Orden for Service IV.png Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 4th class
Orden of Honour.png Order of Honour

Foreign awards[edit]

Order of red banner afg rib.PNG Order of Red Banner (Afghanistan)
Ord friendship rib.PNG Order of "Friendship of Peoples" (Afghanistan)
Bulgaria-Brotherhood-Arms-Medal-ribbon.png Medal "For the strengthening of friendship in Arms" (Bulgaria)
?
Order of Che Guevara (Cuba)
Order of the Red Banner (CSSR) Rib.png Order of Red Banner (Czechoslovakia)
GDR Scharnhorst-Order bar.png Scharnhorst Order (East Germany)
Medal20RK.png Medal "20 years of independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan"
Med 30th anniversary of victory over japan.PNG Medal "30 Years of Victory Over Japan" (Mongolia)
Med 40 year chalkin gol victory rib.PNG Medal "40 years Khalkhin Golskoy Victory" (Mongolia)
50 Years Anniversary of the Mongolian Revolution rib.PNG Medal "50 Years of the Mongolian People's Revolution" (Mongolia)
CivilMerit.Syria.png Order of Merit, 1st class (Syria)

Religious award[edit]

Орден Дмитрия Донского 2 степени.svg Order of St. Grand Prince Dmitry Donskoy (Russian Orthodox Church)

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Odom, 1998, p. 111
Political offices
Preceded by
Sergei Sokolov
Minister of Defence of Soviet Union
1987–1991
Succeeded by
Yevgeny Shaposhnikov