Thursday, 17 December 2015


Last surviving Soviet Second World War hero to storm the Reichstag dies aged 93: Veteran's regiment raised the Red Flag over the parliament

- Nikolay Belyaev led troops as they stormed the Reichstag in April 1945
- The Soviet-era war hero has now died aged 93 in St Petersburg, Russia
- USSR troops overran the building in the final days of the Battle of Berlin


The last of the Second World War veterans to have taken part in the storming of the Reichstag in Berlin has died, aged 93.

Soviet-era hero Nikolay Belyaev was the last survivor of the feared 3rd Shock Army troops who spearheaded the taking of the German capital.

It was Belyaev's 756th regiment that tore down the Nazi swastika and raised the Soviet red flag over the parliament's broken roof on May 1, 1945.

Russian news outlets announced yesterday that the veteran died peacefully in St Petersburg, in western Russia.

His long-term friend Valentina Ilyina told local media he was still leading a very active life, while a book about his wartime heroics is expected to be published next year.

The Reichstag building - which translates to the 'Imperial Diet Building' - is a historical edifice in Berlin which opened in 1894.

This housed the government of the day until 1933, before it was taken over by the pseudo-parliament of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945.

Ironically, the building was no longer used as the regime's headquarters after a fire in 1933, but the Soviets always considered it a symbolic centre of the Nazi party.

The storming of the building began in the early hours of April 30, 1945, after Stalin declared it must be taken by May 1 so news of its capture could be broadcast during Moscow's May Day parades.

Although it was later claimed to have been captured by about 11pm on April 30, fighting actually continued into the early hours of the following day.

When the Soviets did erect the red star flag on top of the building, there was said to still be fighting in its basement.

About 200 German soldiers died during almost 24 hours of fighting in and around the building, while hundreds more were wounded.

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