Matvei Zakharov

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Matvei Vasilevich Zakharov
Marshal of the USSR 1978 CPA 4844.jpg
Marshal Matvei Zakharov, USSR stamp (1978).
Native name Матве́й Васи́льевич Заха́ров
Born (1898-08-17)August 17, 1898
Voylovo village, near Tver, Russian Empire
Died January 31, 1972(1972-01-31) (aged 73)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Buried at Kremlin Wall Necropolis
Allegiance  Soviet Union
Service/branch Red Army
Years of service 1917 — 1971
Rank Marshal of the Soviet Union
Commands held

Matvei Vasilevich Zakharov (Russian: Матве́й Васи́льевич Заха́ров, August 17, 1898 – January 31, 1972), Marshal of the Soviet Union, Chief of General Staff, Deputy Defense Minister, was born in Voylovo, a village in Kalininsky District, Tver Oblast to peasant parents. Zakharov joined the Red Guards (precursor to the Red Army) in 1917. He served under Kliment Voroshilov during the Russian Civil War. Zakharov graduated from the Frunze Military Academy in 1928, and from Soviet General Staff Academy in 1937 (his graduation was actually a year ahead of schedule, due to the lack of officers in the Red Army because of the explosive growth of the army, as well as Stalin's purges.) Zakharov held a number of high-ranking positions before World War II even began. In 1937 he was made the Chief of Staff of the Leningrad Military District, then from 1938-1940 he was the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, and then the Chief of Staff of the Odessa Military District.

By the end of 1941, after the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, he was moved north, where he was made the Chief of Staff of the Northwestern Theatre. Soon thereafter, he was made the Chief of Staff of the Kalinin Front, a role he held for most of 1942. In 1943, he was made the Chief of Staff of the Steppe Front, which was renamed the 2nd Ukrainian Front around mid-year. It was in this capacity that Zakharov proved himself as one of the Soviet Union’s top military commanders. He helped plan a number of brilliant operations against German forces, first as a subordinate to Marshal Ivan Konev, and then under Marshal Rodion Malinovsky. After the cessation of hostilities with Germany, Zakharov was transferred east, where he was made the Chief of Staff of the Transbaikal Front, and helped plan the subsequent Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.

After the war, Zakharov held a number of key positions in the army. Between 1945-1960, Zakharov was the Commandant of the General Staff Academy, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Chief Inspector of the Army, Commander in Chief of the Leningrad Military District and Commander in Chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. On May 8, 1959, Zakharov was made a Marshal of the Soviet Union. After attaining that rank, Zakharov was simultaneously made Chief of the General Staff and Deputy Minister of Defence from 1960-63. He then briefly went back to the General Staff Academy where he was once again the commandant until 1964, when he was made the Deputy Minister of Defense, a post he held until his retirement in 1971.

Marshal M. V. Zakharov died on January 31, 1972. The urn containing his ashes is buried by the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.

Honours and awards

Further reading

  • Колпакиди А., Север А. ГРУ. Уникальная энциклопедия. — М.: Яуза Эксмо, 2009. — С. 692-693. — 720 с. — (Энциклопедия спецназа). — 5000 экз. — ISBN 978-5-699-30920-7
  • Richard Woff: Matvei Vasilievich Zakharov, in: Shukman Harold: Stalin's Generals (New York 1993). (See also Shukman, Harold (2001). Stalin's Generals. Phoenix Press. ISBN 1-84212-513-3.)
  • B.Z. Gryaznow: Marschall Sacharow (Moskau 1979) -russisch
Military offices
Preceded by
Vasily Sokolovsky
Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union
April 1960- March 1963
Succeeded by
Sergey Biryuzov
Preceded by
Sergey Biryuzov
Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union
November 1964- September 1971
Succeeded by
Viktor Kulikov