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Soviet soldier in historic World War II photograph dies

February 17, 2010 |  3:50 pm


A Red Army soldier who appears in a historic photograph helping hoist a hammer-and-sickle flag over the Reichstag in Berlin in 1945 has died, officials said in Moscow.

Abdulkhakim Ismailov, 93, died of unspecified causes Tuesday in his native village of Chagar-Otar, the press office of the president of Russia’s southern province of Dagestan said Wednesday.

Ismailov was one of the three Soviet soldiers seen in a photograph taken three days after the fall of Berlin in May 1945. He stands beneath the man holding the flagpole.

The photo became an iconic image of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. It has often been compared with the 1945 Associated Press photograph of U.S. soldiers raising the American flag on Iwo Jima.

The Soviet photographer, Yevgeny Khaldei, said years later that the image was staged, and the flag was sewn from three tablecloths. He said the original hammer-and-sickle flag flown from the Reichstag was shot down by German snipers.

Ismailov was identified in the photograph only in 1996 and was awarded a Hero of Russia medal.

During WWII, he was part of a motorized infantry battalion and was wounded five times. After the war, he served as a chairman of a collective farm and as a Communist Party official.

-- Associated Press

Photo: In this image from May 2, 1945, Red Army soldiers hoist the Soviet flag over Berlin. Abdulkhakim Ismailov, just below the flag bearer, died Tuesday. Credit: Associated Press / ITAR-TASS, Yevgeny Khaldei