The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Fight for Petrograd

ORDER No.163

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs to the Seventh Army, November 2, 1919, No.163, Petrograd

Transcribed and HTML markup for the Trotsky Internet Archive by David Walters

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The overwhelming majority of the commanders of the Seventh Army are honourably doing their duty to Soviet Russia. A certain number of traitors, agents of Yudenich, have, nevertheless, revealed themselves among the junior commanders. These hirelings of foreign capital have in some cases intentionally caused confusion and alarm, have sown panic in their units, and taking advantage of this, have gone over to the camp of the Whites, betraying some Red Army men into the hands of the latter.

I order commanders and commissars to carry out a rigorous investigation, so that none of these cases of treachery may be left unpunished.

The traitors’ families must be arrested at once.

The traitors themselves must be entered in the Army’s Black Book, so that, after the approaching final triumph of the revolution, not a single one of them may escape punishment.

During battle, commanders, commissars and advanced Red Army men must keep a sharp look-out to ensure that traitors do not accomplish their task: anyone who tries to start a panic, calling on our men to throw down their arms and go over to the Whites, is to be killed on the spot.

The enemy, at his last breath, is resorting to bribery and provocation. In reply, we must redouble our vigilance and ruthlessness in relation to traitors and provocateurs.

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Last updated on: 24.12.2006