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Soviet Military Commander and
Marshal of the Soviet Union

Marshal Chuikov’s personal story sounds like a plot for an action-adventure screenplay, and this is no exaggeration. He was a Red Army Calvary Regimental Commander by the age of 19 and sustained four wounds from combat in the Russian Civil War, conducted military intelligence activities and worked closely with Chiang Kai-shek in China, survived a plane crash and car wreck, experienced concussions from enemy bombs during WW2, was nearly incinerated in Stalingrad, was a highly decorated veteran of heavy combat, and was twice awarded the prestigious title of Hero of the Soviet Union.


He also experienced more than his fair share of tragedy—he witnessed the murder of a close family member with a bullet also intended for him. The 62nd (later 8th Guards) Army, for which he was the Commander until after the end of the Great Patriotic War, liberated war-ravaged towns and cities in Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia, and Poland. Chuikov and his soldiers were eyewitnesses to the horror of the Nazi concentration camps in Poland and saw death and destruction all the way into Berlin.


Striking in appearance with wavy black hair and steel-gray eyes, he was a literal force of nature. He was physically tough, a natural-born fighter and leader, and had a strong work ethic due to his humble beginnings as the eighth of twelve children in a large peasant family in Tsarist Russia. Vasily Ivanovich was once described by an American colonel in post-war Berlin as being a most powerfully built man with “hands as large as hams" (Newsweek 11 April 1949). People immediately took notice when he walked into the room due to his natural charisma and infectious humor.


Chuikov's comrades celebrated him while his enemies feared him. Given the nickname “General Storm” for his personal bravery, depth of resolve, and mercurial temperament, Vasily Ivanovich was also a diplomat, an intellectual, and a prolific writer, authoring numerous books, journal pieces, and newspaper articles. In addition to all of his achievements, he was married for 56 years to the lovely Valentina Petrovna and had a family whom he loved. 

Marshal Chuikov was present at numerous significant events in modern history, such as the surrender of the German forces in Berlin, the signing of the Instrument of Surrender on 9 May 1945, and the birth of the German Democratic Republic (known to Westerners as East Germany). He took part in Operation Anadyr and developed a comprehensive program for civil defense in the Soviet Union. Interestingly enough, Marshal Chuikov even visited Washington, D.C. in March 1969 as part of a delegation from the USSR to attend former President Eisenhower's funeral.


As a Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Communist Party and member of the Central Committee, Vasily Ivanovich was a civic leader who spent many years serving the public. There are numerous monuments erected in his honor in Russia and Europe, and he is considered to be a true international hero. However, even with his legendary status, Chuikov's soldiers were always at the forefront of his thoughts. His story continues to inspire both military warriors and civilians alike.


Links of Interest:

Memorial House-Museum of Marshal V. I. Chuikov

The Battle for Stalingrad Panoramic Museum of Volgograd 

Youtube Video of Marshal Chuikov's Grandson Nikolay

*Many thanks to Vasily Koshkin for providing Marshal Chuikov's obituary and photo of his gravesite and special carnations, taken 23 March 2022. "Eternal Glory"

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