top of page

Authentic Stewardship

Pictured: General Chuikov in post-war Germany, signed and dated 5 June 1948 (lower right-hand corner).

I have enjoyed reading about Marshal Chuikov’s work experience in post-war Germany, where he served in various leadership positions. My latest research focuses on his authentic stewardship and regard for scarce resources. Perhaps this was learned from his early years of lean living as a peasant in tsarist Russia. Forbes contributing author Rajeev Peshawaria wrote that authentic stewards “want to create value, but not at the expense of other stakeholders, society, future generations, or the environment.” Being an authentic steward involves a clear vision for the future and wise allocation of resources. It requires strategic planning as well as implementation of controls, both of which are functions of effective management.

The anecdote about Chuikov’s authentic stewardship provided in this blog entry is found in Vasily Pavlovich Bryukhov’s memoir titled True Tank Ace: Armour-piercing, Fire! He began service with Chuikov as his aide-de-camp in mid-1952. They worked together for only a few months—when Vasily Ivanovich transitioned to the Kiev Military District in 1953, Bryukhov remained in Germany to aid Marshal Grechko (then ranked a Colonel General) as he settled into the leadership position. Bryukhov wrote the following about Chuikov:

“Many great commanders, instilling fear in their subordinates, often fawned and groveled before their superiors. But Chuikov was not like that. He was tough, firm and determined in defending his opinions. In addition, if everyone treated the spending of public funds allocated to the army the way he did, then we would have fewer problems.

I remember there were many complaints from the families of the officers of the division located in the city of Halle. We went there to find out. The Commander-in-Chief asked the officers' wives to gather in the officers' house and addressed them with a speech:

– 'I have received many complaints from you about the living conditions. Indeed, you live in communal apartments, where each family is allocated one room. It’s hard to live in such conditions, but let’s look at this issue from a state perspective. Your husbands have been sent to serve in the Group of Forces for three years with subsequent replacement. They receive double salary, rations of high-quality food and 45 days of vacation.

Military personnel in the USSR do not have such benefits. You all dressed up, bought things not only for yourself, but also for your family and close relatives. Yes, you can build housing here, but why, when in our homeland recovery after the war is going on with such difficulty?! In addition, understand that we are occupation troops located on German territory temporarily. Sooner or later, we will leave here and abandon everything. So why are we going to build and leave it to the Germans?! Well, in the end I want to suggest: if it’s hard for someone, then tell me frankly right now, write a report, I’ll sign it right here, and you’ll be sent home early.'

The answer is silence.”


bottom of page