Ukraine Army Commander Valery Zaluzhny: Time to Erase “Soviet Thinking” – KyivPost

Ukraine’s 48-year-old Commander-in-Chief, Valery Zaluzhny, has been main the Armed Forces of Ukraine for lower than a 12 months. Nevertheless, the media already name him a mythical determine within the historical past of Ukraine.

Before Russia’s full-scale invasion, his identify used to be recognized principally to mavens, however now Zaluzhny is credited as a key determine in Russia’s failure to fulfil any of its army goals, together with shooting Kyiv inside 48 hours and occupying the Donbas through May 9.

Valery Zaluzhny. Facebook web page

Zaluzhny have been all for Donbas army operations since 2014, then headed the operational command prior to changing into commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in July 2021.

A unique way

Zaluzhny differs from his Russian counterpart, Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu, in each and every imaginable approach. This comprises the use of army staff who possess sensible revel in, a specialised training and suitable conduct.

Sergei Shoigu on Russian parade on May 9 (Screenshot Russian TV)

While Shoigu promulgates Soviet stereotypes with a stern demeanor flanked through an array of medals, Zaluzhny is a lot more fashionable – steadily noticed smiling and taking selfies with army staff.

Ukrainian officials describe Zaluzhny as an overly open normal who understands the issues that may beset infantrymen and junior officials, and as any individual who does no longer permit the trend of glossy stars on uniforms to create a way of conceitedness.

In distinction to Shoigu, who lacks any more or less sensible army revel in and an army training, Zaluzhny rose up during the ranks to the perfect place within the defense force.

Background and profession

Zaluzhny used to be born on July 8, 1973 in Novohrad-Volynskyi to a circle of relatives of service-people. In 1997, he graduated with honors from the General Military Faculty of the Odesa Higher Command School. After that, he handed all phases of army carrier, commanding a coaching unit, a struggle unit, cadets and a battalion.

In 2007, Zaluzhny gained his 2nd upper army training on the National Defense Academy, then in 2014 graduated from the Ivan Chernyakhovsky National Defense University of Ukraine.

In the summer season of 2014, Zaluzhny used to be reassigned to jap Ukraine the place the warfare started. He used to be deputy commander of Sector C in Debaltseve, the place one of the vital bloodiest preventing came about. Since then, he has led nearly all army teams within the area.

In 2017, Zaluzhny gained the rank of normal however endured to paintings on the entrance.

In 2018, he used to be appointed leader of the joint operational personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Under his management, the Ukrainian army liberated a number of settlements, together with the village of Pivdenne close to Russian-controlled Horlivka.

On July 27, 2021, President Volodymyr Zelensky appointed Zaluzhny commander-in-chief. Immediately following his appointment, Zaluzhny mentioned that his precedence used to be the transition of the defense force from Soviet to NATO requirements.

Zaluzhny participating in a gathering of the NATO Military Committee, January 13 2022. Source: Ukrinform

One of Zaluzhny’s first steps as commander used to be to permit the Ukrainian army in what used to be then recognized formally because the Anti-Terrorist Operation Zone to open hearth according to an assault with out the consent of senior control. Thus, the entrance removed useless paperwork and started to combat extra successfully.

Zaluzhny is a key facilitator of the Ukrainian military’s modernization and to do away with “Soviet thinking” altogether.

He has summarized his way as follows in his recommendation to the defense force which he gave in July 202: “The overall course of reforming Ukraine’s Armed Forces in line with NATO principles and standards remains irreversible. And the key here is the principles – Changes must take place primarily in the worldview and attitude towards people. I would like you to turn your face to the people, to your subordinates. My attitude towards people has not changed throughout my service.”

Ukraine’s best soldier is married and has two daughters. The eldest serves within the Kyiv army garrison, and the youngest is finding out in Odesa and plans to turn out to be a medic.

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