top of page

Marshal Chuikov’s Bases of Leadership Power

Pictured: From the publication titled “Glorified Warriors of the Red Army—Candidates of the People to the Supreme Council of the USSR,” Guards Colonel-General V. I. Chuikov examined the targets of the fighters after firing training and enjoyed a meeting with his Guards voters. The text reads:

“Servant to the Homeland, Father to Soldiers! The name of twice Hero of the Soviet Union Guards Colonel-General Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov is inextricably linked with the heroic Stalingrad epic. Under his command, the hero-guardsmen stood to death at the walls of the Volga stronghold and did not miss the enemy.

From Stalingrad, Chuikov's Guards, crushing the enemy, traveled a long and difficult path to Berlin and participated in the assault on the German capital. The soldiers of the Special Electoral District nominated the faithful son of the Soviet people, twice Hero of the Soviet Union Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov as [their] candidate for Deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Now the hero-guards are tirelessly studying the experience of war, improving their combat skills day by day.”

Leadership can be loosely defined as having the influence over another group of people to cause them to do what is wanted. This influence is tied to the power associated with an individual. Social psychologists French and Raven (1959) indicated 5 power bases in their research: legitimate, reward, expert, referent, and coercive. A newer list of bases includes 3 more—physical, resource, and network power. In studying Marshal Chuikov’s life, work, and writings, it appears that he possessed numerous power bases. Legitimate power came from his rank and authority. As a leader, he had the power to reward, provide resources, and serve as an expert with informational power.

Chuikov was also physically tough—he had to be to withstand the severe conditions of heavy combat, for he was actively present with his soldiers at the front lines of battle. And, Vasily Ivanovich was able to inspire his soldiers through his warmth and ability to connect with them—his referent power is evident in photographs as well. Case in point—the photos attached with this blog post feature a patient Colonel-General Chuikov carefully observing his soldiers during target practice, reviewing the results of their firing automatic weapons; and another with Chuikov surrounded by voters who supported his candidacy as a Deputy of the Supreme Soviet. While one may argue that the photographs were staged by the photographer, there remain elements of body language occurring naturally which cannot be dictated or fabricated. It is obvious to the viewer that the connection between Chuikov and his soldiers is genuine.

While Marshal Chuikov is most widely known for his heroism during the Great Patriotic War, his career spanned over several decades and included numerous offices. His election as a Deputy to the Supreme Soviet led to many years of fruitful service for the public which lasted through Convocations 2 – 9. Soviets, in the form of freely elected deputies, exercised state power on behalf of the people of the Soviet Union. The deputies were fully authorized and responsible representatives of people who, based on trust, worked to represent the public interest in the state, address and examine the government's work, and direct and monitor social and economic development. It is a fair assessment to state that Marshal Chuikov positively impacted the lives of countless people and brought tangible benefits through his participation in the work of the Supreme Soviet.


bottom of page