MOSCOW, February 3 (RIA Novosti) – Vasily Petrov, one of two remaining marshals of the Soviet Union, the highest Soviet military rank, died on Saturday at the age of 98.
“We’ve suffered a great loss,” the head of the Russian Military Commanders Society, Nikolai Deryabin, told RIA Novosti.
Petrov, born in the Russian Empire’s North Caucasus just months before the 1917 Revolution, entered into the Soviet Army in 1939 and completed officer training in 1941.
During World War II he rapidly rose through the ranks by proving himself a capable commander in battles with Nazi German forces in the defense of Odessa, Sevastopol and the Caucasus and later in the liberations of Romania and Hungary.
After the war he served in a series of positions overseeing troops in the Far East, before being appointed head of the Soviet Army in 1980 and deputy minister of defense in 1985.
Petrov was awarded the title hero of the Soviet Union in 1982 and was appointed marshal in 1983.
The last surviving marshal, Dmitry Yazov, a former Soviet minister of defense who took part in the 1991 August Coup, is 89.