Galkin Promoted

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.

5 responses to “Galkin Promoted

  1. Roger McDermott

    Interesting…They were talking about a “new look” for the officer corps, meaning real reform, and even introducing fitness tests for officers. In this case, they promoted the fattest OSK commander. What signal does that send for the “new look?” Eat your way to success?

  2. Dale Herspring

    The question I have is where does he stand vis-a-vis corruption. What has he done or not done to fight corruption?

  3. Serdyukov’s emphasis on PT and fitness actually preceded the announcement that officers would be cut. It might have been considered a way to find large numbers in violation of their contracts. Services and branches are still sporadically reporting their PT testing results. As noted above, the key seems to be the General Staff Chief’s good graces.

    As for Galkin and corruption, most commanders would probably say fighting it is way down the list of their responsibilities, yet they know they can take the heat for it. Galkin didn’t inherit the NCMD / SMD until the beginning of 2010, so he got a command already legendary for corruption. Look for the post entitled Military-Theft Forces. Even if he were a great corruption fighter, he wouldn’t have made much headway yet.

  4. Roger McDermott

    There is some mixing up here, of a serious nature. Serdyukov’s emphasis on “PT” should not be confused with real combat training, or raising fitness levels. As one retired officer said to me recently, if Serdyukov exercised for five hours per day, he would look like a marathon runner, rather than a furniture salesman. We are all grown adults reading this material, and to argue that they give soldiers “five hours” PT per day is ridiculous. They make no comment on officer fitness levels. And when the “figures” are reported [made up?] it does not appear they are making any progress. I recently went to the showcase 5th MRB in moscow, and the first thing I noticed was the brigade commander’s gut hanging over his belt. To pretend that means nothing, is to misunderstand the nature of a modern military.
    Serdyukov is clearly a clown. That much is known, even his advisors boast he knows little about the military. My point is the reform of the officer corps does not yet really exist. They talked about it, played with numbers, even considered how to stop them stealing so much much money, etc.
    Why did they promote the fattest officer? Do they hold contests to see is so unfit? How does it work?

  5. Dale Herspring

    I think Roger is right. I have the figures on PT, and they claim to be making progress, but even using nothing more than fingersptizengefuhl, looking at pictures of senior officers is often an embarrassment. Compare senior US or UK officers with senior Russian officers.

    Second, to return to corruption, given the rapidity with which MEdvedev is tossing out officers supposedly involved in corrupt practices, it will be interesting to see what happens in his command.

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