Valery Zaluzhny, the kind general who put the Russian army in trouble

Who is the commander in chief of the Kiev army, who in 7 months has transformed what seemed like an inevitable defeat into a possible victory against the mighty Russian Army? Story of a predestined and a soldier daughter

  Ukrainian general Ukrainian general Valery Fedorovich Zaluzhny

A type with cordial manners, always cheerful, ready for a joke and quite social. Despite his super tough face, the forty-nine-year-old General Valery Fedorovic Zaluzhny, the Rambo of Ukraine, commander-in-chief of the Kiev army, that is, the one who in 7 months transformed what seemed an inevitable defeat into a possible victory against the mighty Russian Army, is a man made of a dough that you would never expect. Logical that his soldiers and his fellow citizens love him with that total love that is paid to national superheroes: as well as good, he is also nice. Equally logical that his enemies instead fear him like the plague, especially as they feel mocked by history: against them, the Ukrainian commander used the identical strategy of General Michail Ilarionovic Kutuzov, prince of Smolensk, the one who at the time of the The Napoleonic invasion made the Russian army great, leading to the defeat of the French army, considered invincible. When Moscow's troops crossed the borders with Ukraine, Zaluhzny too, like Kutuzov, chose not to defend the homeland's soil meter by meter, but made the enemy columns penetrate deeply and then hit them head and tail blocking and destroying them. The Russians totally fell for it. Even today, from Kharkiv to Donbass to Kherson, the battlefields are like tragic chessboards where Putin's generals move the pieces in search of the winning strategy; then he arrives, the tough guy with a good heart, and in two or three checkmate moves.

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SIMPLE AND HUMBLE - What's his secret? Simplicity and humility. Senior Russian officers attend the front with chests full of medals and the haughty manner of tsarist times. Zaluzhny, on the other hand, wears the same uniform as simple soldiers, the same for everyone, and runs continuously from one side to the other of the 2500 km front, meeting the troops. For everyone he has a word of comfort and encouragement, a pat on the back. If he can, he stops to have meals with his fellow soldiers, where he happens and when it happens. In the Ukrainian trenches, Zaluzhny introduced a code of behavior similar to the one in force in the NATO armies: the commander, be he sergeant, captain or colonel, is free to decide what is best for his soldiers and for the country: if necessary, yes he fights to the death, otherwise he folds. This makes morale, without which battles are not won.

THE SOLDIER'S DAUGHTER - Simplicity and humility, we said, are the cardinal points of Generalissimo Valery's compass. Despite being the second most important Ukrainian after President Volodymir Zelensky, he does not give up his 70-square-meter house with garden in Odessa Oblast. He has a wife, Olena, a financial analyst at Ukrgasbank, two daughters (the eldest followed in her father's footsteps and is a soldier in the Kiev garrison; the youngest is studying to become a doctor), a grandson, a cat, two cars (a modest Chinese SUV Chery Tiggo and an old Nissan Patrol) and a tax return identical to that of any middle-class Ukrainian family who gets by without spending money. July 24 is the day Valery Fedorovic became a national superstar. On the occasion of his wife's birthday, he posted a selfie on his Facebook page in which he and she appear smiling and relaxed, complete with a heartfelt dedication: «Happy birthday, my love. I love you'. Within minutes, thousands of loving posts and shares rained down from the four corners of Ukraine. “I wish you all the best for your family. Be happy!», wrote Irina from Kiev; «Bright days and happy smiles», commented Oleksander from Odessa; 'May all your dreams come true and God bless you,' said Sofiya from Lutsk. Selfies embraced by his wife, soap and water, at the shopping mall, when leaving a restaurant or wherever it happens, in a ten euro t-shirt, sweatshirt or cheap duvet, like ordinary citizens grappling with dear life, are a recurring event on Ukrainian social networks: there is no doubt that they are spontaneous manifestations of simple hearts, but if it were a precise strategy, Valery Fedorovic would be a genius of the battlefields, but also of communication. Even so, today, wars are won.

STORY OF A PREDESTINATED - Born in 1973, in the Novograd-Volynsky military base because his father and grandfather were soldiers before him, Zaluzhny is predestined to have a uniform in his DNA: there are few photos of him without it, from an early age. He attended the main Ukrainian military schools, always graduating and graduating with honors. He had his baptism of fire in 2014, participating in the battles against the pro-Russian militias in the Luhansk Oblast. Right there he developed and perfected his personal philosophy of respect and consideration for the subordinates and the weakest. It is no coincidence that his favorite poet is Bohdan Golov, suffering from a severe form of cerebral palsy which has forced him into almost total immobility since he was 12, except for a finger of his right hand with which he writes his poems on the keyboard . 'That such an unfortunate creature has such a sensitive soul and wide open to life fills my heart with light,' said Zaluzhny, sincerely moved. Another sentence of him that is the most popular: 'I make war, but I love peace and I dream of returning soon to my life as a husband, father, grandfather and my hobbies'. As far as we know, it has two: fishing in rivers and lakes and hiking, walks, even lasting several days, open air in nature, among meadows, woods and mountain paths, hand in hand with the beloved Olena. We hope that this wish can come true as soon as possible.