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General Batyuk's Active Leadership

Pictured: General Batyuk (left) and General Chuikov at an observation post in Stalingrad, early 1943. On 19 September 1942, Batyuk's 284th Rifle Division was transferred to the right bank of the Volga and incorporated into the 62nd Army.

Leaders who practice active leadership must be directly involved with their team members or employees. Throughout the process, they encourage, engage, and cheer on the team. Active leaders connect with their subordinates on a personal level, forming a genuine connection. Leadership is no longer about standing on the sidelines, but being an integral part of the organization.

In his numerous memoirs, Marshal Chuikov was quick to recognize outstanding soldiers within the 62nd – 8th Guards Army. One such person whom Chuikov admired, General Batyuk, practiced active leadership with his soldiers in Stalingrad. Although Batyuk was killed in action in Ukraine in July 1943 and did not live to see the end of the war, his influence and leadership example made a very strong impression on Vasily Ivanovich. In his book titled The Battle for Stalingrad, Marshal Chuikov wrote the following:

“A few words about Divisional Commander Nikolay Filippovich Batyuk. He arrived in the city a Lieutenant-Colonel and left it, after Paulus’s army had been smashed, a General.

He combined three invaluable qualities—the tenacity of a commander, courage, and Party spirit. He could be strict and just, he was feared and loved. His men saw him frequently. He suffered with his legs, and at times could scarcely walk, but he did not sit comfortably in his dug-out: he went out to the front line, to his observation posts, using a stick, but he returned to his dug-out on his aide-de-camp’s shoulders, but only at night, so that no one should see. Batyuk did everything he could to conceal his illness, and I found out about it only in January, when he could virtually not walk at all without assistance. He would not hesitate to tell any chief of staff or subordinate the truth to his face, however bitter it might be. His reports required neither clarification nor verification; they were always correct.

[…] General Batyuk did not accompany us to Berlin. He was killed in the Ukraine, Slavyansk. We buried him on the bank of the northern Donets. It would be just to remove his remains to Volgograd, to Mamayev Kurgan, where the division he commanded fought. This was something he earned, because he was a driving force in the battle for Mamayev Kurgan, for the city on the Volga.” (277-278)


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