Joined the Red Army, 1941. During World War II, junior commander at the Volkhov and Leningrad fronts. In the early 1960s, served in the Leningrad military district.
Worked in the Personnel Department of the Ministry of Defence, 1974-1976. First Deputy Commander of the Far Eastern military district, 1976. Commander of the Central Group of Armies (in Czechoslovakia), 1979-1980.
Commander of the Central Asian military district, 1980. Non-voting member of the Cen Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 1981. Commander of the Far Eastern military district, 1984.
After Gorbachev’s reorganization of the military leadership, appointed Minister of Defence of the USSR, 1987.