Soviet Marshal Who Led Warsaw Pact Dead at 91
- The Moscow Times
- May. 30 2013 00:00
- Last edited 22:38
Soviet Marshal Viktor Kulikov, who commanded theáWarsaw Pact forces forámore then 20 years, has died after aálengthy illness, theáDefense Ministry said. He was 91.
His death on Tuesday leaves theácountry with only two Soviet marshals, Dmitry Yazov, 88, andáVasily Petrov, 96, Interfax reported,
Kulikov, who served ináWorld War II, was aácareer military officer who rose toáthe rank ofáSoviet deputy defense minister iná1971.
But he is best remembered forácommanding theáarmed forces ofáthe Warsaw Pactá— aámilitary bloc formed toácounterbalance NATO that included Eastern European countries under theáSoviet umbrellaá— fromá1977 toá1989.
It was under his watch that cracks began toáappear ináthe Soviet bloc, with Poland imposing martial law against theáSolidarity freedom movement iná1981.
TheáPolish Institute ofáNational Remembrance published aáconversation between Kulikov andáPoland's last Communist leader, Wojciech Jaruzelski, iná2009 that indicated that Jaruzelski appealed toáKulikov toásend Soviet troops intoáPoland toáprop up theágovernment iná1981.
But Jaruzelski, now 89, has maintained that he prevented aáSoviet military intervention andáa bloodbath, saying that Moscow was ready toáuse force toápreserve its control ofáPoland.
Thousands ofádissidents were arrested, andásome 100 people were killed during theá18 months ofáthe clampdown.
Poor health prevents Jaruzelski fromástanding trial onácharges that he violated theálaw byáimposing military rule andáwas theáleader ofáan armed criminal group, as his military Cabinet ofáthe time is described ináthe indictment.
His daughter Monika Jaruzelska, ináa new book about her family titled "Comrade Miss," writes that her father's "pessimism andáa sense ofáfear determined many decisions … including that most important one."
Kulikov was born onáJuly 5, 1921, intoáa peasant family ináa village ináthe Oryol region. He graduated fromáthe Grozny military infantry school iná1941 andáheld various positions ináthe armored division during World War II.
He most recently served as aáSoviet lawmaker andáthen aáState Duma deputy, retiring fromáthe Duma iná2003.
He lived ináMoscow andáis survived byáhis wife, Maria, two daughters andáa number ofágrandchildren andágreat-grandchildren, RIA Novosti reported.
He is toábe buried onáMay 31 atáMoscow's Novodevichy Cemetery.
Material from The Associated Press was included in this report.