Sergey Leonidovich Sokolov (Russian: ? ; 1 July 1911 – 31 August 2012) was a Soviet military commander, Hero of the Soviet Union, and served as Minister of Defence of the Soviet Union from 22 December 1984 until 30 May 1987.
The son of a Russian tsarist army officer, Sokolov served in the Battle of Lake Khasan during the Soviet-Japanese Border Wars and also fought against Nazi Germany during World War II.
He was Commander of the Leningrad Military District from 1965 to 1967 and First Deputy Defense Minister from 1967 to 1984.
Sokolov was promoted to Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1978. He was in charge of Soviet ground forces during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He personally led the main Soviet incursion of ground forces on December 27, 1979. His actions and command strategies during the war made him one of the Soviet Union's most respected Marshals. On April 28, 1980 he was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
Sokolov was appointed Minister of Defense of the Soviet Union in 1984 and held this post until 1987, when he was dismissed by Mikhail Gorbachev as a result of the Mathias Rust affair. He was also a candidate (non-voting) member of the Politburo from 1985 to 1987.
From 1992, Sokolov was an advisor to the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation. In July 2001, he became an honorary citizen of Crimea, Ukraine.
On turning 100 he stated, "Military service prestige will regain the importance it once had."
Sokolov died of undisclosed causes on 31 August 2012, at the age of 101. He was buried on 3 September with full military honors at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, next to his wife of 70 years, Maria Samojlovna Sokolova (19 December 1920 - 28 August 2012) who had predeceased him three days prior.
He was survived by two sons, Colonel-General (Retd.) Valery Sergeyevich (born September 30, 1940), now a lecturer at the Faculty of Command and General Staff Military Academy, and Colonel-General (Retd.) Vladimir Sergeyevich (born January 21, 1947), who had retired during the war in Afghanistan and was chief of staff of the 40th Army.
Dates of rank
From the corresponding article in the Russian Wikipedia
- Cadet (May 1932 - November 1934)
- Platoon Commander - November 1934
- Junior Lieutenant - 1935
- Lieutenant to Captain - to 1941
- Major - before 1943
- Lieutenant Colonel - before 1943
- Colonel - 9 September 1943
- Major General - 3 August 1953
- Lieutenant General - 25 May 1959
- Colonel General - 13 April 1963
- General of the Army - 12 April 1967
- Marshal of the Soviet Union - 17 February 1978
Honours and awards
- Order of Merit for the Fatherland;
- 2nd class (21 June 2001) - for outstanding contribution to strengthening national defense and active in the patriotic education of young people
- 3rd class (30 June 1996) - for services to the state and personal contribution to the development and reform of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
- 4th class (2 November 2009)
- Order of Alexander Nevsky (23 June 2011) - contribution to strengthening national defense and long-term public activities
- Order of Honour (1 July 2006) - for services to strengthen national defense and work on the patriotic education of youth
- Order of Zhukov (25 April 1995) - for actions in the leadership of the troops in combat operations during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945
- Soviet Union
- Hero of the Soviet Union (28 April 1980) - for personal courage and the management of troops, manifested in the provision of international assistance to the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
- Three Orders of Lenin (30 June 1971, 28 April 1980, 30 June 1986)
- Order of the Red Banner, twice (20 April 1953, 22 February 1968)
- Order of Suvorov, 1st class (6 May 1982)
- Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class (6 April 1985)
- Order of the Red Star, twice (14 January 1943, 6 November 1947)
- Order for Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces of the USSR, 3rd class (30 April 1975)
- Medal For Courage
- Medal for Combat Service
- Jubilee Medal "In Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary since the Birth of Vladimir Il'ich Lenin"
- Medal "For Distinction in Guarding the State Border of the USSR"
- Medal "For the Defence of the Soviet Transarctic"
- Medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
- Medal "For Impeccable Service" 1st class
- jubilee medals
- Russian; non-governmental
- Order of Georgi Dimitrov, twice (1985, 1986)
- Order "The People's Republic of Bulgaria" I degree (1974)
- Medal "25 Years of the Bulgarian People's Army" (1969)
- Medal "30 Years of Victory over Fascism" (1975)
- Medal "30 Years of the Bulgarian People's Army" (1974)
- The medal "For Strengthening Brotherhood in Arms" (1977)
- Medal "100 years of the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman yoke" (1978)
- The medal "90th anniversary of the birth of Georgi Dimitrov" (1974)
- Medal "100th Anniversary of Birth of Georgi Dimitrov" (1983)
- Medal "1300 years Bulgaria" (1982)
- Medal "40 Years of Victory over Fascism" (1985)
- East Germany
- North Korea
In July 2001, on the day of his 90th birthday, was awarded the title "Honorary krymchanin" and made an honorary citizen of Evpatoria.