Zakharov, Matvei Vasilevich, born 17-08-1898 in Voylovo village, near Tver, Russian Empire, to peasant parents, joined the Red Guards (precursor to the Red Army) in 1917. He served under Kliment Voroshilov during the Russian Civil War. Zakharov graduated from the Frunze Military Academy in 1928, and from Soviet General Staff Academy in 1937 (his graduation was actually a year ahead of schedule, due to the lack of officers in the Red Army because of the explosive growth of the army, as well as Stalin’s purges.) Zakharov held a number of high-ranking positions before World War II even began. In 1937 he was made the Chief of Staff of the Leningrad Military District, then in 1938–1940 he was the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, and then the Chief of Staff of the Odessa Military District.
By the end of 1941, after the beginning of , he was moved north, where he was made the Chief of Staff of the Northwestern Theatre. Soon thereafter, he was made the Chief of Staff of the Kalinin Front, a role he held for most of 1942. In 1943, he was made the Chief of Staff of the Steppe Front, which was renamed the 2nd Ukrainian Front around mid-year. It was in this capacity that Zakharov proved himself as one of the Soviet Union’s top military commanders. He helped plan a number of brilliant operations against German forces, first as a subordinate to Marshal Ivan Konev, and then under Marshal Rodion Malinovsky. After the cessation of hostilities with Germany, Zakharov was transferred east, where he was made the Chief of Staff of the Transbaikal Front, and helped plan the subsequent Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.
After the war, Zakharov held a number of key positions in the army. In 1945–1960, Zakharov was the Commandant of the General Staff Academy, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Chief Inspector of the Army, Commanding General of the Leningrad Military District and Commander in Chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. On 08-05-1959, Zakharov was made a Marshal of the Soviet Union. After attaining that rank, Zakharov was simultaneously made Chief of the General Staff and Deputy Minister of Defence in 1960–1963. He, here on the left, then briefly went back to the General Staff Academy where he was once again the commandant until 1964, when he was made the Deputy Minister of Defense and again Chief of the General Staff, a post he held until his retirement in 1971.
Death and burial ground of Zakharov, Matvei Vasilevich.
Marshal Matvei Vasilevich Zakharov died on 31-01-1972, age 73, in Moscow. The urn containing his ashes is buried by the Kremlin Wall Necropolis. My friend Radek Hroch on his travel, on his bicycle, throught Russia and Moscow, made the grave photo’s for me