Member of the Soviet Army from 1938. Served in an engineers’ regiment on the Western front. Senior engineer at the Karelian front, regiment engineer in the 289th Rifles, brigade engineer in the 61st Marine Rifles, assistant chief-of-staff of the Engineers of the 32nd Army, assistant chief of the Operations Department of Engineer Troop Forces, division engineer with the 122nd Rifles at the Karelian front and 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian fronts, 1941-1945.
Senior positions in the Carpathian military district, and the Primor’e military district, 1945-1948. Commander-inchief of Far Eastern troops, 1948-1953, and its deputy chief-of-staff, 1955-1959. Commander of the Motorized Rifle Division of Soviet Troops in Germany, 1959-1961.
Chief-of-staff, deputy commander of troops of Belorussian military district, 1963. Candidate member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 1966-1971, full member from 1971. Commander of troops of Volga military district, 1965-1968.
1st deputy chief of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces, 1968-1977, chief, 1977, Deputy Minister of Defence, 1974-1977. 1st Deputy Minister of Defence from 1977. Marshal, 1976. Soviet chief-of-staff until Sep.
1984. Dismissed from both posts at the time of the power struggle, possibly on the orders of K. Chernenko. Vigorously demanded that the army’s need for expensive hightechnology conventional weapons be satisfied. His dismissal was accompanied by editorials in Pravda and Red Star, the Soviet Army newspaper, saying that social programmes could not be sacrified to meet defence needs.