Sergei Sokolov | Ex-Soviet official, 101

Posted: September 03, 2012

Sergei Sokolov, 101, the Soviet defense minister fired by the Politburo after a German teenager landed his plane on Moscow's Red Square in the 1980s, died in Moscow on Friday.

Russian media reported Mr. Sokolov's death without specifying the cause. Russian television reported that his wife of 70 years, Mariya, died Wednesday and that the two will be buried together.

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 the flight from Finland, air forces took no action. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev fired Mr. Sokolov along with dozens of other defense officials.

Mr. Sokolov is survived by two sons. - AP

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