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Marshal Chuikov's Leadership in the Kiev Military District: Part 1

Text: XXI Congress of the Communist Party of Ukraine Delegates from Kharkiv region 16 – 19 February 1960; Marshal V. I. Chuikov attended the Congress of the Communist Party of Ukraine as a delegate from the Kharkiv region during his final months of his tenure in the Kiev Military District (he is on the front row, 6th from the left).

Exploring the rich life experiences of Marshal Chuikov has been a fascinating study of the factors that influenced his personal leadership style. Moreover, following his career path and learning more about the places where he served and the world events at the time has been very rewarding. In considering the various times of service during his career, it was interesting to learn more about what took place during his time at Kiev as the Military District Commander. His transition to this post occurred after his service in Germany and lasted from May 1953 until April 1960, when he was recalled to Moscow. (More specifics on this military leadership position will be provided in a future blog post.)

In Marshal N. I. Krylov’s biography written by Ilya G. Dragan, Marshal Malinovsky shared that the duties of the commanders of the military districts included not only the required military functions of troop training and commanding, but also work and social life within the surrounding communities to help support the local Communist Party and Soviet bodies (157). Leadership in the military districts also meant visiting all the garrisons forming a part of the district, which involved extensive travel as well. Considering that Marshal Chuikov also served as a Deputy of the Supreme Soviet (and was later elected as a full member of the Central Committee), wrote memoirs, crafted articles for journals and newspapers, spoke at special commemorative events for the Great Patriotic War, was actively involved in the 62nd (8th Guards) Army Veterans Council, engaged with Komsomol groups (the youth of the Communist Party) and spent time with his family among other activities, one must wonder at the tireless energy he exuded. Vasily Ivanovich was truly a force of nature, an indefatigable charismatic leader who was a living legend and national treasure.

When many working professionals look forward to reaching their senior years with the expectation of full retirement, it was not the case with Marshals of the Soviet Union, especially Chuikov. Even after an official retirement in 1972 from his position overseeing the civil defense, he still maintained an active lifestyle, continuing to write, speak, and engage with public life. He served as a General Inspector of the Soviet Union Ministry of Defense and continued his work with the Communist Party as a Central Committee member, a Deputy, and a delegate in the 26th Congress (February-March 1981, one year before his passing).


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