Former Soviet defence minister dies

Sergei Sokolov, the Soviet defence minister fired by the Politburo after a German teenager landed his plane on Moscow’s Red Square in the 1980s, has died.

Former Soviet defence minister dies

Sergei Sokolov, the Soviet defence minister fired by the Politburo after a German teenager landed his plane on Moscow’s Red Square in the 1980s, has died.

He was 101.

Russian media reported Mr Sokolov’s death without specifying the date or place where he died.

Mr Sokolov was dismissed days after 19-year-old Mathias Rust landed his Cessna light aircraft in the square in May 1987.

Although Soviet radars and interceptors tracked Rust’s flight from Finland, the air force took no action.

Born in 1911, Mr Sokolov was a Red Army commander during the 1938 Soviet-Japanese military conflict and in the Second World War.

As deputy defence minister, he helped plan the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1979 and was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.

He was appointed defence minister in 1984.

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