25 Feb 2020 13:37

Soviet Marshal Yazov passes away

MOSCOW. Feb 25 (Interfax) - Soviet Marshal Dmitry Yazov has passed away in Moscow at the age of 95, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"Soviet Marshal Dmitry Timofeyevich Yazov passed away in Moscow on February 25 at the age of 95 after a severe and long illness," the ministry said. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin extended condolences over the death of Yazov.

"I am saddened to learn about the death of Dmitry Timofeyevich Yazov. Marshal of the Soviet Union Dmitry Timofeyevich Yazov was a remarkable military commander, an outstanding representative of the legendary generation of victors, a volunteer, and a combatant. He was a man of unmatched courage and strength of mind," Putin said in a telegram to Yazov's family and friends, which was published on the Kremlin website.

Yazov "passed through the grave ordeals of the Great Patriotic War with dignity, and after the victory dedicated his life to the development of the Armed Forces, and the strengthening of the defense capacity and national security of the country. His loyalty to the oath and officer's duty, and high professional and personal qualities gained unquestionable respect and authority," Putin said.

"We will always cherish the memory of Dmitry Timofeyevich Yazov in our hearts," he said.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, for his part, said in a telegram that the marshal had served his fatherland for his entire life. Yazov "went to the front as a volunteer at the age of 17, he courageously fought for the fatherland, and demonstrated heroic behavior on multiple occasions."

"After the war, Dmitry Timofeyevich dedicated his entire strength, experience, and knowledge to the development of the Armed Forces and the effort to bolster combat preparedness of the forces and defense capacity of our country. A highly competent and open and principled person who put officer's honor above all else and was highly respected," Mishustin said.

The country will keep the memory of this strong and selfless person, a Russian officer and defender of the fatherland, alive, Mishustin said.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also offered his condolences to Yazov's family and friends.

"Please, accept my deepest condolences over the death of Marshal of the Soviet Union Dmitry Timofeyevich Yazov. I sincerely share your grief and the burden of this irreparable loss," Shoigu said, calling Yazov a true officer and a genuine patriot committed to his military duty.

"For all of us, he was and will remain a legendary personality, who fought throughout the Great Patriotic War and earned a reputation as a courageous and resolute soldier, as a wise and responsible commander. It was for good reason that he was appointed as the defense minister at a difficult time for the country and fulfilled his duties with dignity, at the same time staying true to his ideals and homeland," he said.

Shoigu additionally spoke of Yazov's contribution to the strengthening of the country's defense potential.

"The uncompromising fight against the falsification of Russia's history deserves the highest assessment and great respect," the minister said.

Yazov held the post of Soviet defense minister from May 1987 to August 1991. During his tenure, Yazov coordinated large-scale steps to boost the combat capabilities of the country's Armed Forces and oversaw the Soviet troops' organized withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Yazov was the last marshal of the USSR to be appointed before the Soviet collapse. The Red Star Order was bestowed upon him for his feats during the Great Patriotic War.

In early February 2020, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu presented Yazov with the Order for Merit to the Fatherland 3rd class and a jubilee medal dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the victory in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War.