Dmitry Yazov, the last appointed Marshal of the Soviet Union, died on Tuesday in Moscow after a long illness. He was 95 years old.
His career extends from the Siege of Leningrad to the formation of the State Committee on the State of Emergency (SCSE, GKChP) which tried to prevent the domination of the counterrevolutionary forces in 1991.
Born in 1924 in the Omsk oblast, Yazov enlisted in the Red Army in 1941 at age 17. During World War II he would be honored for his service on the Volkhov and Leningrad fronts, thus laying the groundwork for his ascension through the ranks of the Soviet military. He participated in the battles of the Siege of Leningrad, in the offensive operations of Soviet troops in the Baltic states, in the blockade of the Courland Pocket.
Over the next 50 years, Yazov would make a brilliant military career, holding a number of high positions and serving as Minister of Defense.
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.
From June 1987 to July 1990, Yazov was a candidate member of the Politburo.
He was a member of the State Committee on State of Emergency (SCSE) which was formed on August 19, 1991 by eight high-level Soviet officials. The SCSE unsuccessfully tried to block the spread of the reactionary counterrevolution that Gorbachev's Perestroika had incited.
However, the SCSE neither opened an ideological and political confrontation with the opportunists nor addressed the masses of the workers who, in their vast majority, were in favor of socialism and supportive of the USSR's preservation (as the March 1991 referendum results had indicated).
Despite the noble motives of the SCSE members, the Committee failed to proceed decisively, with concrete political actions, for the protection of the Soviet Union. In August 22, 1991, the bourgeois forces, under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin, began the process for the demise of the CPSU and subsequently the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The bourgeois media labeled the SCSE effort to prevent the dissolution of the Soviet Union as "coup d' etat". Yazov was arrested and imprisoned following the failure of the SCSE and remained in detention for 18 months before being granted amnesty in 1994.
Apart from Dmitry Yazov, the other members of the SCSE were: Gennady Yanayev, Valentin Pavlov, Boris Yugo, Oleg Baklanov, Vladimir Kryuchkov, Vasily Starodubtsev and Alexander Tizyakov.