First published in 1933 in Lenin Miscellany XXIV.
Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1975, Moscow, Volume 44, page 328b.
Translated: Clemens Dutt
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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12. I. 1920
R.M.C. of the 3rd Army
I fully approve your proposals. I welcome the initiative. Am submitting the question to the Council of People’s Commissars. Start on the job, on condition of the strictest co-ordination with the civil authorities, and devote all energies to the collection of all food surpluses and the restoration of transport.
 Written in reply to a telegram to Lenin from the Revolutionary Military Council of the 3rd Army on January 10, 1920, which proposed that the army be switched over to the work of restoring the national economy. On January 13, 1920, in its decision on Lenin’s report concerning the organisation of the 1st Labour Army, the Council of People’s Commissars welcomed the proposal of the Revolutionary Military Council of the 3rd Army. A commission consisting of Lenin, Krasin, Rykov, Tomsky, Trotsky and Tsyurupa was set up to draft proposals for the most expedient ways of utilising the 3rd Army. By its decree of January 15, 1920, the Council of Defence converted the 3rd Army into the 1st Labour Army and set up a Revolutionary Council of the 1st Labour Army from among members of the Revolutionary Military Council, representatives of the People’s Commissariats for Food, Agriculture, Railways, and Labour, and representatives of the Supreme Economic Council. On January 17 and 18, the question of using military units on the economic front was discussed in the Politbureau of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.). The Politbureau approved the decision of the Council of Defence to convert the 3rd Army into the 1st Labour Army and passed a decision calling for plans to be drawn up for the creation of Kuban-Grozny, Ukrainian, Kazan, and Petrograd Labour Armies. On January 21, 1920, the Council of People’s Commissars of the R.S.F.S.R. by agreement with the All-Ukraine Revolutionary Committee passed a decision to form a Ukrainian Labour Army in the area of the South-Western Front. On February 10, the Council of Defence decreed that the 7th Army was to be renamed the Petrograd Revolutionary Army of Labour. At the end of January and beginning of February, the Reserve Army of the Republic and units of the 2nd Army were drawn into the work of economic construction, the troops of the 8th Army in March, and certain other military formations somewhat later. With the outbreak of the war against bourgeois-landowner Poland and Wrangel, the labour armies had to be switched back to battle readiness.