A thing rare in recent times was announced today . . . the promotion of a general officer. In this case, Southern MD Commander, General-Lieutenant Aleksandr Galkin picked up his third star.
President Medvedev’s decree on General-Colonel Galkin was dated June 11, according to RIA Novosti.
Large, well-publicized general officer promotion ceremonies used to be the norm, but no longer.
Recall one of Defense Minister Serdyukov’s objectives was turning the “bloated egg” of the officer corps into a pyramid. As part of this, he planned to trim 1,100 generals to 900.
Of course, Serdyukov had to walk back part of his decision on cutting officers this year, but generally it’s clear that lots of O-6s now occupy billets once held by one-stars. Army commanders routinely two-stars in the past now wear only one. And MD commanders who typically wore three, have been wearing only two . . . at least until now.
Galkin joins Western MD Commander, General-Colonel Arkadiy Bakhin at the three-star rank.
Galkin’s promotion shows the team has to be rewarded for doing the heavy lifting of establishing the “new profile.” Three-star rank also extends his statutory retirement to 60.
Central MD Commander, General-Lieutenant Vladimir Chirkin and Eastern MD Commander, Vice-Admiral Konstantin Sidenko are both older than Galkin. They are likely serving on extensions right now, and might be better candidates for retirement than promotion. But another star can’t be ruled out. In Chirkin’s case, the recent arsenal explosions in his AOR won’t help him.
Aleksandr Viktorovich Galkin is especially strongly linked to General Staff Chief, Army General Nikolay Makarov through his service in the former Siberian MD in the 2000s. Bakhin and Chirkin are also “Siberians” with ties to Makarov.
Some details on Galkin: He was born March 22, 1958 in Ordzhonikidze (now Vladikavkaz), North-Ossetian ASSR. He graduated the Ordzhonikidze Higher Combined Arms Command School in 1979, and served in motorized rifle command posts up to chief of staff and deputy commander of a battalion in the GSFG. He was a battalion commander in the Far East MD. In 1990, he completed the Frunze Military Academy, and served as a motorized rifle regiment commander in the Transcaucasus, and chief of staff and deputy commander of a motorized rifle division in the Far East MD. On completing the General Staff Academy in 2003, he served as deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army (Novosibirsk), and chief of staff and first deputy commander of the 36th Combined Arms Army (Borzya). In 2006-2007, he commanded the 41st. In 2008, Galkin became deputy commander, then chief of staff and first deputy commander of the Siberian MD. In early 2010, he became commander of the North Caucasus MD, and the renamed Southern MD early this year.