Nikolay Erastovich
Berzarin

1904-1945


Nikolai Erastovich Berzarin was a Soviet military commander, Colonel-General (1945), the Hero of the Soviet Union (1945). He was a member of the CPSU since 1926. He was in the Soviet Army since 1918. He completed the Leningrad command courses (1923), machine gun courses at the “Shot” (1925) and the courses of the SibVO command staff (1927). He was born into a working-class family. He began his military service as a Red Army soldier of the 17th Army of the Petrograd combat area. During the Civil War, he fought on the Northern Front against the Anglo-American interventionists (1920), participated in the suppression of the Kronstadt mutiny (1921) and as an assistant chief of the machine gun team – in the defeat of gangs in the Amur region (1924). He served as a platoon commander, course commander and company commander, assistant to the head of the combat Training department of the headquarters of the Special Red Banner Far Eastern Army (OKDVA), he was the commander and commissar commander of the regiment of the 26th Infantry Division (1935-37). In 1938, as the commander of the 32nd Infantry Division, he participated in the battles near Lake Hassan. In December 1938 he was appointed as the commander of the 59th Rifle Corps of the OKDVA, and in July 1940 – the Deputy Commander of the 1st Red Banner Army of the Far Eastern Front. He entered the Great Patriotic War as the commander of the 27th Army of the Baltic Special Military District, then commanded the 34th Army of the Northwestern Front; he was the deputy commander of the 61st Army, 20th Army, the commander of the 39th Army, respectively, on the Western, Kaliningrad and 1st Baltic Fronts. Since May 1944 he commanded the 5th Shock Army in the offensive operations of the Soviet Armed Forces: the Iasi-Kishinev, Vistula-Oder, Berlin. In the storming of Berlin, the 5th Shock Army under the command of Berzarin was entrusted with a combat task of particular importance — to seize the government area, the quarters located in the centre of the city, including the Imperial chancellery, where Adolf Hitler’s headquarters was located. Taking into account the most successful advance of the 5th Shock Army during the storming of Berlin, as well as the outstanding personal qualities of its commander, who was awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union on the eve of the Berlin operation, the command appointed Berzarin on April 24, 1945 as the first Soviet commandant and head of the Soviet garrison of Berlin. On April 28, 1945, Order No. 1 signed by Berzarin was published on the transfer of full power in Berlin into the hands of the Soviet military commandant’s office. In a difficult situation, under the leadership of Berzarin, it began to solve the difficult tasks of establishing a normal life in the city. In the midst of this work, Berzarin died in the line of duty. He was awarded 2 Orders of Lenin, 2 Orders of the Red Banner, Orders of Suvorov 1st degree, Kutuzov 1st degree, Bogdan Khmelnitsky 1st degree, Suvorov 2nd degree, Red Star and medals.

Address: Moscow, Berzarina str., 16