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posted: 8/31/2012 9:29 AM

Russian marshal fired over Red Square landing dies

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  • In this 2007 file photo, former Soviet Defense Minister, Marshal Sergei Sokolov, left, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, right. Sergei Sokolov, the Soviet defense 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.

      In this 2007 file photo, former Soviet Defense Minister, Marshal Sergei Sokolov, left, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, right. Sergei Sokolov, the Soviet defense 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.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

MOSCOW -- Sergei Sokolov, the Soviet defense minister fired by the Politburo after a German teenager landed his plane on Moscow's Red Square, has died. He was 101.

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

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Sokolov was dismissed days after Mathias Rust, a 19-year-old German, landed his Cessna light aircraft in the square in May 1987. Although Soviet radars and interceptors tracked Rust's flight from Finland, air forces took no action.

Born in 1911, Sokolov was a Red Army commander during the 1938 Soviet-Japanese military conflict and in World War II. As deputy defense minister, he helped plan the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1979 and was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.

He was appointed defense minister in 1984.

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