Valery Ivanovich Flyustikov was born on May 6, 1967, in Alchevsk, Lugansk Oblast, Ukrainian SSR (according to other sources, he was born in Riga, the Latvian SSR, where his paternal grandfather and grandmother Flyustikov Ivan Stefanovich (1923 – 2004) and Flyustikova Evdokia Mikhailovna (1926 – 2009) lived until 1998. His grandmother is Ukrainian, a native of the Luhansk Oblast. The elder Flyustikovs received Russian citizenship according to the decree of the President of the Russian Federation only in 1998. It is known that both the father and grandfather of Valery Flyustikov were military personnel.
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After graduating from school, Valery Flyustikov joined the Ryazan Guards Higher Airborne Order of Suvorov twice Red Banner Command School named after General of the Army V. Margelov. Since 1989 he has served in the army. He began his service in Tajikistan, later – in the North Caucasus.
According to available information, he is related to Lieutenant General Dmitry Gerasimov, who headed the FSB Special Operations Directorate from 1994-1995 (according to unconfirmed reports, son-in-law).
He took part in the First Chechen War. But the details are not disclosed in open sources. It is known that the current governor of the Volgograd region Andrei Bocharov, who received the title Hero of the Russian Federation on July 20, 1996, fought in the reconnaissance company commanded by Flyustikov.
Zaripov, who served in a neighbouring company, wrote about Flyustikov’s service in Chechnya in his autobiographical novel The Dembel Chord. In particular, on January 17-18, 1996, Flyustikov took part in the battles for the village of Pervomayskoye against Salman Raduev. The military operation ended in failure for the Russian side.
After the First Chechen War, Flyustikov goes to work in the Federal Security Service and has been making a career in this structure for more than ten years. In particular, for some time, he worked in the protection of the President of the Russian Federation. He met and became friends with Alexei Dyumin, the current governor of the Tula region, who also worked in the presidential guard at that time.
After the presidential elections of 2008 and the arrival of Dmitry Medvedev in the Kremlin, a group of former guards of Vladimir Putin was partially transferred to other areas of work. Flyustikov briefly led a group of Russian special forces sent to the Gulf of Aden to escort Russian merchant ships and fight Somali pirates.
In 2009, Flyustikov was deputy commander of military unit 11659 (Urban settlement Stepnoye, Aksai district, Rostov region) of the 22nd Separate Special Purpose Guards Brigade. This was believed to be a temporary appointment since Flyustikov came to the attention of international human rights agencies, who accused Russian officers of mistreating pirates and killing several people.
It was then, in 2009, in the course of the military reform, that it was proposed to create the Special Operations Forces (SOF): a structural unit of the Russian Armed Forces. The SOF of the Russian Armed Forces is a highly mobile, specially trained, technically equipped, well-equipped army group of forces of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation (Russian Ministry of Defense), designed to perform particular tasks to protect the interests of Russia (if necessary, using military force) both within the country and abroad, both in peacetime and in wartime, being in constant and high readiness for immediate use.
The Russian Ministry of Defense defines the term “special operation” as follows:
“Special operations of troops (forces) are a set of special actions of troops (forces) coordinated in terms of goals, tasks, place and time, carried out according to a single plan and plan to achieve certain goals. Special actions of troops (forces) are activities carried out by specially designated, organised, trained and equipped forces that use methods and methods of combat operations that are not typical for conventional forces (reconnaissance and sabotage, subversive, counter-terrorist, counter-sabotage, counterintelligence, partisan, anti-partisan and other actions)”.
The competence of the SOF includes:
- Anti-sabotage work.
- Eliminating citizens and sources of danger to national interests.
- Identifying and eliminating threats to the social order.
Since 2013, Colonel Flyustikov has been the commander of the military unit 92154 (the 322nd centre of special operations “Senezh” (Moscow region, Solnechnogorsk district, Senezh village). He was considered a person who was brought into the structure by the commander of the Special Operations Forces, General Alexei Dyumin (Flyustikov defiantly refused to take part in intrigues and in every possible way emphasised that he was only interested in military service; Dyumin did not see Flyustikov as a potential danger to himself personally). In addition, Putin personally knew Flyustikov since he repeatedly accompanied Putin on trips in the 2000s. An important point: The special operations forces are personally supervised by Vladimir Putin; he also makes the final decision on specific actions of the SOF and the necessary steps that the SOF should take.
In 2013, Flyustikov took part in special exercises on Elbrus at an altitude of 4500 meters.
In 2014, Flyustikov led a group responsible for seizing the building of the Crimean Supreme Council. For this operation, he received the rank of Major General. It is considered one of the key figures responsible in February 2014 for the annexation of Crimea. In fact, he led a group of “green men” (“polite people”) during the operation in Crimea.
In 2015, he was seconded to Syria as a senior adviser. Since 2015, units of the Special Operations Forces of the Russian Armed Forces have been used in the Russian military operation in Syria to guide Russian aircraft to targets and destroy the leaders of illegal armed groups behind enemy lines. Flyustikov prepared several terrorist attacks, as a result of which the leaders of ISIS and the Syrian opposition were destroyed. At the end of 2017, he was slightly wounded in East Homs and returned to Moscow after undergoing treatment.
After returning, he headed the military unit 99450 in Solnechnogorsk-2 (Command of the Special Operations Forces of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation) – instead of General Alexander Matovnikov.
The events of 2018 contributed to the rise of Flyustikov. In November, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, Igor Korobov, died. In the last months of his life, he suffered from cancer. In his inner circle, even during the life of the general, a struggle began for the post of the new head of the GRU. The leading contender for this post was the commander of the special operations forces, Lieutenant General Alexander Matovnikov. However, his primary opponent, Admiral Igor Kostyukov, led his game. Through Valentina Matvienko (with whom he had worked since the 1990s), he ensured that on June 28, 2018, Matovnikov was appointed Presidential Plenipotentiary Representative in the North Caucasus Federal District by presidential decree. The general could not refuse the president. They threw him in such a problematic direction, realising that he could not stay in his chair for a long time with his straightforwardness. Indeed: on January 22, 2020, Matovnikov was dismissed from his post (the former Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika was appointed in his place), and Matovnikov was appointed Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces (General Oleg Salyukov).
Kostyukov needed his own personnel, of which he would be sure. Flyustikov became a member of Kostyukov’s team. It is Kostyukov who, in June 2018, promoted Flyustikov to the post of commander of the Special Operations Forces, and in December 2018, promoted his appointment as deputy chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces – while maintaining his previous position.
But at the same time, we should not forget that Flyustikov is directly accountable to Putin, and Kostyukov wonderfully understands that this is the team member with whom you need to keep your eyes open. He helped Kostyukov gain a foothold, but at the same time, Kostyukov realised that Flyustikov was a channel of information through which one could reach Putin directly. That is why Kostyukov is interested in having Flyustikov next to him.
Flyustikov is subordinate to the Senezh Special Purpose Center, the Kubinka-2 Special Purpose Center, the 561st Emergency Rescue Center and the Specialist Training Center. There are about 14,000 people in total.
The command structure of the Special Operations Forces is as follows. Directly subordinate to Flyustikov are:
- Military unit 92154 (322nd Special Operations Center “Senezh”). The commander of the unit is Major General Aleksey Viktorovich Galkin.
- Military unit 29155 (161st Center for training specialists for particular purposes, Center for Special Operations for Special Purposes). Partially located at the following addresses: Moscow, 38-A, 11th Parkovaya Street, VG No. 387 Moscow region, Khimki, md. Skhodnya, Gornaya Street, ow. 4, VG No 4 Moscow region, Odintsovo district, Razdory village, ow. 53, VG No 13. Commander of the unit – Guards Major General Averyanov Andrey Vladimirovich. It is believed that this unit’s employees poisoned the Skripals in the UK and later Alexei Navalny.
- Military unit 01355 (Special Purpose Center “Zazaborye”). Address: Moscow region, Odintsovsky district, Kubinka-2, st. General Votintsev, d. 27, VG No. 120. Unit commander – Colonel Savitsky A.A.
- Military unit 00317 (317th Special Operations Center (Marine), 516th Navy Emergency Rescue Center). Located at the address Sevastopol, cape Khersones, 2 Katernaya Street. Until recently, the centre was headed by Colonel Vadim Baikulov, but according to the latest data, he was removed after the sinking of the Moskva cruiser by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the summer of 2022.
- Military unit 43292 (Training Center for Special Operations Forces). Address – Moscow region, Solnechnogorsk-2, Redino village. Commander – Colonel Gridnev Vadim Alekseevich.
According to Ascolta, Valery Flyustikov is the shadow curator of most Russian PMCs, including the direct curator of the Wagner PMC. First of all, we are talking about the activities of Wagner PMC in Syria and several African states. At the same time, after the so-called “Prigozhin’s rebellion”, Flyustikov’s position did not shake, which may also be an additional confirmation of Ascolta’s position, according to which all the actions of Prigozhin and PMC “Wagner” were staged.
He is believed to have either directly commanded and/or otherwise participated in deploying Russian troops involved in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Thus, there are grounds to suspect that Flyustikov is a person engaged as he is responsible for, participates in, supports or promotes any policy or action that destabilises Ukraine or undermines or threatens Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence.
The Vzglyad newspaper wrote in March 2022: “The head of the SOF of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Major General Valery Flyustikov… His subordinates, known since March 2014 in Crimea as “polite people”, are rather “invisible people”, whose work becomes known only after the task is completed, or even not disclosed at all for many years. Nevertheless, it is known that Russian units of the SOF are taking part in a special operation in Ukraine; it is possible that they appeared there before February 24 – the tasks of the special forces also include reconnaissance behind the front line.”
He came into conflict with the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, because during the invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, he demanded that Putin subordinate the Akhmat detachment directly to the Special Operations Forces to avoid anarchy and freemen. Putin accepted Flyustikov’s arguments and, from May 2022, subordinated Akhmat to the leadership of the SOF for the duration of the “special operation”; however, without introducing the “Akhmatovites” into the SOF. Many see the move as Putin’s attempt to neutralise Kadyrov’s possible rise in Chechnya. On the sidelines, Kadyrov himself was indignant at the fact that the Chechens had to fight under the command of “the one who slaughtered them in the 90s.”
Flyustikov’s structure prepared sabotage and reconnaissance groups and threw them into Ukraine at the very beginning of the war.
Several countries imposed sanctions against Flyustikov: the UK (from April 21, 2022), Canada (from May 6, 2022), Ukraine (from October 19, 2022), and New Zealand (from November 1, 2022).
He is fond of bench shooting and hand-to-hand combat. Collects edged weapons.
Permanently lives in the village of Solnechnogorsk-2. He is characterised as an ascetic, which is not typical for most Russian generals. He leads a modest and secluded life. The closest friends are Major General Alexei Galkin (a native of the Cherkasy region, Ukraine) and Major General Andrey Averyanov.
In army circles in Russia, he has the nickname “Skorzeny “. He is the most secret general – all his photographs, as well as details of his biography, and information about awards, have been carefully cleaned on the Internet. It is known that in 2014, by a closed decree of the President of the Russian Federation, he was awarded the Order of Courage.
Personal number – T-012879.
Married, has a son and a daughter.