Dmitry Yazov
Dmitry Timofeyevich Yazov was the last Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union
Marshal of the Soviet Union was the de facto highest military rank of the Soviet Union. ....

 to be appointed before the collapse of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 (on April 28, 1990). He was the only Marshal of the Soviet Union to be born in Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...


In 1979-1980, Yazov was commander of the Central Group of Forces
Central Group of Forces
The Central Group of Forces was a Soviet military formation used to control Soviet troops in Central Europe on two occasions: in Austria and Hungary from 1945-55 and troops stationed in Czechoslovakia after the Prague Spring of 1968....

 in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

. He was commanding the Far East Military District in the northern summer of 1986, when, according to Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine, he made a favourable impression on General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

, which led to later promotions. He held the post of Soviet Defense Minister from May 1987. In 1987-1990, Yazov was a candidate for membership in Politburo
Politburo , literally "Political Bureau [of the Central Committee]," is the executive committee for a number of communist political parties.-Marxist-Leninist states:...

. Yazov was responsible for deployment of Russian OMON
OMOH is a generic name for the system of special units of militsiya within the Russian and earlier the Soviet MVD...

 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
Matrosskaya Tishina
Matrosskaya Tishina is a detention facility located in northern Moscow, known by the name of the street on which it is located...

. 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
General Staff Academy (Russia)
The General Staff Academy of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation was founded in 1936 in Moscow by Leonid Govorov. It was the senior Soviet and now Russian professional school for officers....


Despite his selection by Gorbachev for the Defence Minister's position, William E. Odom
William Eldridge Odom
William Eldridge Odom was a retired U.S. Army 3-star general, and former Director of the NSA under President Ronald Reagan, which culminated a 31 year career in military intelligence, mainly specializing in matters relating to the Soviet Union...

, in his book 'The Collapse of the Soviet Military,' repeats Alexander Yakovlev
Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev
Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev was a Soviet politician and historian who was a Soviet governmental official in the 1980s and a member of the Politburo and Secretariat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union...

's description of Yazov as a 'mediocre officer', 'fit to command a division but nothing higher'. (Odom, 1998, p. 111) Odom suggests Gorbachev was only looking for 'careerists who would follow orders, any orders.'

In popular culture

Yazov appears in Tom Clancy
Tom Clancy
Thomas Leo "Tom" Clancy, Jr. is an American author, best known for his technically detailed espionage, military science, and techno thriller storylines set during and in the aftermath of the Cold War, along with video games on which he did not work, but which bear his name for licensing and...

's Cold War espionage thriller The Cardinal of the Kremlin
The Cardinal of the Kremlin
The Cardinal of the Kremlin is a novel by Tom Clancy, featuring his character Jack Ryan. It is a sequel to The Hunt for Red October, based on the development of the Strategic Defense Initiative and its Soviet equivalent, covering themes including intelligence gathering and counterintelligence,...

 in his capacity as Defence Minister and the superior of the titular spy Colonel Filitov.


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