Last Soviet Minister of Defense Dead at 78

December 8, 2020 /TASS/ – The last Minister of Defense of the USSR, Marshal of Aviation Yevgeny Shaposhnikov, died at the age of 78.

This was reported to TASS by Nikolai Deryabin, chief of staff of the Military Leaders’ Club.

“Unfortunately, yes, Yevgeny Ivanovich Shaposhnikov died,” the agency’s interlocutor said.

He did not name the cause of the commander’s death.

A source in medical circles said that Shaposhnikov died due to coronavirus infection.

Origin, education
Evgeny Ivanovich Shaposhnikov was born on February 3, 1942 on the farm Bolshoi Log in the Aksay district of the Rostov region.

In 1963 he graduated from the Kharkov Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots named after S.I. Gritsevets, in 1969 – the Air Force Academy named after Yu.A. Gagarin (now – the Air Force Academy named after Professor N.E. Zhukovsky and Yu.A. Gagarin), in 1984 – the Military Academy of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces (now – the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation).

Service in Soviet aviation
Since 1959 he served in the Air Force (Air Force) of the Armed Forces of the USSR. He was a fighter pilot, mastered the MiG-15, MiG-17, MiG-21, MiG-23 aircraft.

In 1963-1966 – pilot, senior pilot, flight commander in parts of the Carpathian Military District.

In 1969-1971 – navigator of the regiment, squadron commander, since 1971 – deputy regiment commander for political affairs.

In 1973-1975, he was the commander of the 787th Fighter Aviation Regiment in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (GSVG), which was based at the Finow airfield (Eberswalde Finow, Frankfurt district, German Democratic Republic; now Eberswalde, Brandenburg, Germany).

1975-1979 – Deputy Commander, Commander of the Fighter Air Division in the Carpathian Military District.

1979-1984 – Deputy Commander of the Air Force of the Carpathian Military District for combat training.

From 1984 to 1987 – Deputy Commander of the Odessa Military District – Commander of the Air Force of the District.

1987-1988 – Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany for Aviation – Air Force Commander of the GSVG.

In 1988, he commanded the 16th Air Force as part of the GSVG.

From 1988 to 1990 – First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force Alexander Efimov.

From July 1990 to August 1991, he held the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force – Deputy Minister of Defense of the USSR Marshal of the Soviet Union Dmitry Yazov. During the same period he was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU; elected at the XVIII Party Congress).

The collapse of the USSR
During the so-called August 1991 putsch, Yevgeny Shaposhnikov spoke out against the State Committee for Emergency Situations (GKChP) and supported the President of the RSFSR Boris Yeltsin. According to Shaposhnikov’s recollections, on August 19-21, he consulted with Yeltsin through one of the officers of the Air Force General Staff, who was an adviser to the Russian leader on disabled people.

On August 23, 1991, he left the CPSU.

From August 23 to December 26, 1991, he served as the Minister of Defense of the USSR. Appointed by the President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev at the suggestion of Boris Yeltsin. In this position, Yevgeny Shaposhnikov eliminated the control of the CPSU over the army, in particular, the institution of deputy commanders of units for political affairs. Also on September 5, 1991, he established a commission in the Ministry of Defense to verify the actions of the leadership of the Armed Forces on August 19-21, 1991 (chairman – State Defense Adviser of the RSFSR Konstantin Kobets). As a result of her activities, a number of senior officers who sympathized with the Emergency Committee were dismissed.

During the period of Shaposhnikov’s leadership of the Soviet Armed Forces, the process of seizing army equipment, weapons and military property by the authorities of the union and autonomous republics of the USSR, striving for independence, began. In particular, in November 1991, the presidents of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the presidents of Moldova, Mircea Snegur, and the self-proclaimed Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Dzhokhar Dudayev announced the nationalization of the property of the Soviet army on the territory of their republics.

From October 1 to December 25, 1991 – Member of the Defense Council under the President of the USSR.

On December 8, 1991, he supported the Belovezhsky agreement on the dissolution of the USSR and the creation of the Union of Independent States (CIS). On December 21, 1991, simultaneously with the signing of the Alma-Ata declaration on the goals and basic principles of the CIS, the heads of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine signed a protocol on the imposition of command on Yevgeny Shaposhnikov The armed forces of the USSR “until a decision is made on their reform.”

On December 26, 1991, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev terminated his powers. Initially, he planned to transfer the terminal of the automated control system for strategic nuclear forces (“nuclear briefcase”) to Russian President Boris Yeltsin. However, the Russian head of state did not appear at the meeting, as a result Marshal Shaposhnikov received the “nuclear briefcase” from the former USSR president, who then handed it over to Yeltsin.

From February 14, 1992 to September 24, 1993, Yevgeny Shaposhnikov held the post of Commander-in-Chief of the United Armed Forces of the CIS. At the same time, he did not actually control most of the units located on the territory of the former Soviet republics. In January – March 1992, the presidents of Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan subdued all units stationed on their territory and formed their own military departments. Following this, similar decisions were made in other former Soviet republics. On June 15, 1993, a meeting of the Council of Defense Ministers of the CIS countries was held in Moscow, at which it was decided to abolish the post of Commander-in-Chief of the CIS Joint Armed Forces. The corresponding decision was made in September 1993.

Career since 1993
From June 11 to September 18, 1993 – Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. He replaced Yuri Skokov in this post.

On November 6, 1993, he was approved by the political council of the Russian Movement for Democratic Reforms (RDRM; leader – ex-mayor of Moscow Gavriil Popov) as a candidate for the first convocation of the State Duma of the Russian Federation. On December 12, 1993, he ran for the Duma on the list of the RDRR, was the ninth number in its federal part (together with the mayor of St. Petersburg Anatoly Sobchak, former member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU Alexander Yakovlev, actor Oleg Basilashvili, and others). He did not get into the Duma, as the list of the movement received 4.08% (without breaking the 5% barrier).

From January 26, 1994 to August 26, 1996, he served as the representative of the President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin in the state company for the export and import of weapons and military equipment “Rosvooruzhenie”.

Since August 1996 – in the reserve of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

From October 1995 to March 1997 – General Director of Aeroflot-Russian International Airlines. After his resignation, he was a witness in the case of fraud of the company’s management and the failure to return funds in foreign currency from abroad.

In 1997-2004, Evgeny Shaposhnikov worked in the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation. From March 11, 1997 to March 30, 2004 – Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation for the Development of Space and Aviation. The post of the head of state at that time was held by Boris Yeltsin (until December 31, 1999), Vladimir Putin.

In 2004-2009 – Advisor to the General Director of JSC Sukhoi Company. Until 2007, the company was headed by Mikhail Pogosyan, then Igor Ozar.

2005-2009 – Member of the Board of Directors of CJSC Sukhoi Civil Aircraft.

He was a member of the Boards of Directors of PJSC Aeroflot-Russian Airlines, OJSC Aviakor (Samara).

Titles, awards, personal information
Marshal of Aviation of the USSR (August 26, 1991). He became the last military leader in the Soviet Union to receive the rank of Marshal.

He was awarded the Orders of the Red Star, Honor (2002), “For service to the Motherland in the Armed Forces of the USSR, II and III degrees.

Honored Military Pilot of the Russian Federation (1992).

Author of the book “Choice. Notes of the Commander-in-Chief” (1993).

Spouse Zemfira, a doctor by profession, three children.