The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Fight for Petrograd


Report to the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, November 7, 1919

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

* * *

Comrades! Allow me to begin with a communication which has just reached us from Comrade Zinoviev, in Petrograd. The Seventh Army, together with the neighbouring Fifteenth Army – the two armies which are waging the struggle against Yudenich’s White bands – have advanced successfully and recovered the only town which really served as a strongpoint for Yudenich, namely, Gdov: If you recall, comrades, that, four weeks ago, our military Situation not only seemed but was in fact extremely threatening, it can be said that the Red Army has in the last month achieved great successes on all fronts.

On our very anniversary, yesterday and today, the Red Army has won back for us Chernigov, Syevsk[Syevsk stands at an important crossroads about half-way between Bryansk and Sumy and between Orel and Konotop.] and Gdov.

On the most important front, the Southern front, we have not yet completed our main task, we have not yet crushed the basic nucleus of Denikin’s forces, but we have already done heavy damage to it. The enemy is launching no more attacks, apart from isolated attempts by small units. On the contrary, Denikin’s retreat is taking place along a line of enormous length, and the Anglo-French press is wondering, with natural and legitimate concern, about what the causes of this retreat can be. ‘What has happened to Denikin?’, the British and American wireless wonders: who, they want to know, has, so to speak, put the evil eye on this Denikin who not long ago was winning victories? They have learnt something in the last two years, have those gentlemen: they saw how Kolchak who had almost been anointed Tsar by all the stock-exchange speculators and usurers of both hemispheres, how that Kolchak, who had reached out his hand to take Moscow, rolled smartly back eastward, and, according to our information, has transferred his residence from Omsk to Irkutsk – closer to his colleagues, the stockbrokers of Tokyo and New York.

We have done well in the North-West, too. Just before the second anniversary of Soviet power, a blow was struck at us from that corner from which we had ceased to expect one – I refer to the North-Western Army, the army of Yudenich, whom Comrade Demyan Byedny, with or without justification, considers to be a descendant of Judas. Yudenich had hardly any rear, in which respect he was in a weaker position than the two other candidates, Kolchak and Denikin. But he did have plentiful aid from the Entente, he was nearer, more accessible from the sea, and he relied upon the newly formed Baltic states. After his May offensive Yudenich was beaten off by our forces – beaten off but not finished off. In tranquillity, on the territory of Estonia, and backed first and foremost by the Entente, he restored his forces and began an offensive.

Our efforts were strained to the highest pitch, we were busy with Denikin and had been obliged, in order to defend the road to Tula and Moscow, to weaken the Seventh Army, before Petrograd. It was just at that moment, when our position in the South improved and the immediate threat to Tula and Moscow disappeared, that the blow was struck from Yamburg towards Petrograd. Things had so worked out that all the hopes, appetites and yearnings of all our foes were, so to speak, focused on the question of Petrograd, as though the fate of the Soviet power depended on that. In reality, this was not the case, and now, when the threat to Petrograd has passed, we can say with assurance that even if we had been obliged to surrender Petrograd for a time, we should not, of course, have perished as a. result. But the bourgeois classes of all lands, who had been fighting us for two years and were awaiting our downfall with impatience, said to themselves at that moment, when Petrograd seemed to them to be in their grasp: this is the beginning of the end for the Soviet power – from Petrograd it is not far to Moscow. They talked so much about the march on Petrograd, they riveted the whole world’s attention so firmly on that campaign, that our victory was a real catastrophe for them.

I have here some interesting and instructive evidence taken from the bourgeois press, mainly that of Scandinavia, from which it can be seen how carefully prepared, both materially and as regards ideas – if one can call ideas what amounted to lies, baiting and slander – how carefully prepared was Yudenich’s last campaign. A Finnish bourgeois newspaper tells, in its issue of October 15, how lengthy and thorough the preparation was, and how great the confidence that it would succeed. They mobilised everything they could: Estonian and Ingrian [Ingria (or Ingermanland) is the name of the territory between Petrograd and the Estonian border. Some speakers of Ingrian, a language akin to Finnish and Estonian, still survive there, and extreme nationalists in both Finland and Estonia laid claim to the territory in this period.] units, the British fleet, and Yudenich’s army, which they reinforced with the crack battalion commanded by ‘His Serene Highness’ Prince Lieven (as he was called in orders) and also with units brought from the Archangel Front. All these were, in their way, crack units, in many of which every section was commanded by an officer – that is, there was one officer for every seven or eight soldiers. A soldier who took one step back would be killed there and then.

The advantages enjoyed by the forces of the bourgeois counter-revolution in their fight against us consisted in their being very well supplied with all that they needed, and, of course, in their having greater technical possibilities at their disposal than we had. Who brought those legions from Archangel? The British fleet, of course. Yudenich had tanks. Who supplied those tanks? Britain. Who operated the tanks? Qualified British military specialists. Who bombarded Kras naya Gorka with big guns? British vessels, monitors, armed with 15-inch guns, the last word in naval artillery technique, which came in only in 1916. Our sailors defended Krasnaya Gorka under a hail of those terrible shells. I have here a wireless report stating that Krasnaya Gorka was to be taken that day or the next, and a report that Kronstadt had fallen to the Wells of the British monitors. They thought our sailors would not stand up to a bombardment by 15-inch guns, but our sailors held firm, and Krasnaya Gorka and Kronstadt are now more firmly in our hands than ever.

I repeat, they prepared for this campaign, they looked for ward to it, they thirsted for this decisive moment. In the first days of October, even before Yudenich’s blow from Yamburg, one of the bourgeois papers wrote that an offensive by Yudenich against Petrograd was in prospect in the next few days, and would prove decisive: we did not know this at the time, as the newspaper reached us later The British newspaper was, of course, giving away a military secret, but they are so eager to promise and proclaim the overthrow of the Soviet power that they do this even when it means going against their own military interests. British imperialists of the Churchill type have linked their fate too closely with that of the intervention, and the desperate bourgeoisie press hard on Churchill saying: ‘You have squandered over two milliard francs on the campaigns of the Russian bourgeoisie – that is the figure for the purely military expenditure of British imperialism – and it has all produced nothing except a strengthening of the military power of the Red Army.’ Churchill answered: ‘Just wait a bit – in a week, or two, or three, General Yudenich will do what Kolchak, who disappointed us, didn’t do, and what Denikin didn’t finish doing. He will capture Petrograd, and there, in Petrograd, his first task will be to form a mighty army that will advance into the heart of Russia.’ A Swedish paper wrote about this plan, at the beginning of the campaign: a short decisive blow at Petrograd, the capture of Petrograd, securing a base, the forming of an army, and then the blow to be struck from Petrograd against Moscow. Everything had been carefully prepared.

True, Britain wanted the blow to be struck from two directions at once, from Estonia and from Finland. And during October the whole British press was egging Finland on – for example, the British newspaper The Times wrote in a leading article about Finland’s ‘moral obligation’ to take part in the brigand campaign, saying that this would enhance that country’s international prestige. Mighty Britain, in whose hands are all favours and all chastisements, brought the full force of its threats and its promises to bear in order to draw Finland into an adventure in aid of Yudenich. Finland hesitated and wavered all that time, she has still not made up her mind, and we find the reason for this indecision in the Finnish bourgeois press. I have some very interesting evidence regarding the growth and revival of the Communist movement in Finland. This is what the newspaper Karlala writes: ‘Until recent months Bolshevik newspapers have been circulated here clandestinely, publications have come in from Petrograd, but in the last few months our own workers’ press has acquired a purely Bolshevik tone. There is a whole series of legal publications which directly and openly threaten revolution in the event of an attack on Soviet Russia.’

There, comrades, is the most important circumstance which has tied the Finnish bourgeoisie hand and foot. To be sure, we read a wireless message about the question having been ‘settled’, and that General Mannerheim was already on his way from Europe to Finland, and then suddenly things changed again. General Mannerheim has decided against, the Finnish weather would be bad for his gout, and he is remaining in Paris. He has remained in Paris to this moment. And what the Petrograd proletariat and the army did in those critical days allows us to say with complete confidence that even if Finland had attacked we should have held Petrograd. Now, after Yudenich has been thrown back, we no longer fear any attack by the Mannerheimites.

But, of course we were nevertheless profoundly concerned that Finland should not attack. The steps that were taken by Soviet diplomacy were dictated, naturally, by real interests and real considerations, and not by any sympathy with the Finnish bourgeoisie. We never gave anyone any delusions on that score – neither our friends nor our enemies. But it is to the interest of the Finnish bourgeoisie – if, in general, history is going to allow them a certain period of further existence – that a country which is situated only one or two days’ march from such a very important centre of our Republic as Petrograd, that this country, in the persons of its bourgeois ruling classes, should say to herself that she will not thrust her head into the crack into which Anglo-French imperialism is pushing her, because it is obvious to the most obtuse Viborg [Viborg (Viipuri) was then the nearest Finnish town to Petrograd. It is now included in the Leningrad Region of the RSFSR.] petty-bourgeois that we cannot live year after year under the constant menace that General Mannerheim, or somebody else, is going to ‘take’ Petrograd from us.

In so far as Finland is independent – and we frankly and honourably, without any mental reservation, recognised her independence – the direct responsibility for this independence, for Finland’s survival as a country, lies with the Finnish bourgeoisie now in power. And we, considering that history will make its way in Finland too, are getting on with our own work inside our country, and the Finnish proletariat does not and will not demand of us that we engage in armed intervention, because it understands that such intervention would do nothing but harm to the cause of the Finnish revolution in the present epoch. This is what explains why peaceful relations, peaceful co-existence, can exist between us and Finland. But, on the other hand, we repeat that a city in which there are now more than ten thousand working men and women, a city which has been weakened and bled, but which remains, as before, a splendid centre of revolutionary energy – this city cannot live under the Damocles’ sword of an attack from Finland, and if the scales were to tip towards intervention by the Finnish bourgeoisie (which we do not want to happen), then we should say to ourselves that, this rime, the matter must be settled once and for all.

And so, Yudenich has been driven even from his Gdov ...; yet success had seemed so possible and so near. One of Yudemch’s ministers, the Petrograd barrister Margulies, who was Minister of Supply and of Food in the former Gdov Government, had stocked up everything in Finland, even down to steam candles for almost-conquered Petrograd.They haggled over prices there with the Finnish suppliers, in the name of various governmental institutions. The question seemed already settled. And it must be said that those gentlemen did have some chances of success. Our army fell back to the Pulkovo Heights, to a line only one day’s march from Petrograd. From the Pulkovo Heights the city is laid out as though on the palm of a hand: by night it resembles a sea of light – even now, with the shortage of illumination, it represents after dark a large and attractive patch of light. There was Dyetskoye Syelo, which used to be called Tsarskoye Syelo, and which by its very name attracted the attention of the entire international bourgeoisie, so that every little petty-bourgeois, every shopkeeper in Paris knew that Tsarskoye Syelo was the Tsar’s summer residence, almost Petrograd itself – and Yudenich and Rodzyanko were there! What a victory! They say that General Rodzyanko came on October 20 to Tsarskoye Syclo, and when he was offered binoculars with which to look at Petrograd, said: ‘I don’t need to – tomorrow or the next day we’ll be strolling down the Nevsky Prospect and we’ll be able to see it without binoculars.’ Now, comrades, he would need glasses of very high magnifying power.

What caused our retreat? There were a whole number of reasons. War, comrades, as is clear to all of us here who have seen it close to – and which of us has not seen it more or less close to? – war is not so much a material process as a mental one. In that respect the situation of our Seventh Army was made extremely unfavourable. Yudenich hid his tail in Estonia and Finland, and his main base was the British Isles. We were not fighting Finland or Estonia – on the contrary, we were carrying on negotiations with those countries. Estonia seemed to be very interested in peace talks with us. Who was deceiving whom in that case, or whether they were jointly and consciously trying to deceive Russia, so as to facilitate the success of Yudenich’s attack, is something that you won’t soon discover, because where the international policy of the Estonian rulers is concerned it is extremely hard to make out where they are being deceived and where it is they who are doing the deceiving. But the fact is that these negotiations, the positive significance of which none of us can deny, since they influence the Estonian population, showing them in a practical way that we do not want to coerce Estonia – these negotiations were taken by the soldiers of our Seventh Army as meaning that peace was an accomplished fact. Some said that they were going to be transferred to the Southern Front, while others simply took a rest, letting their vigilance be dulled, never thinking of the blow that threatened them.

I have already mentioned that we had taken a number or workers and commissars from the Seventh Army for the Southern Front. This state of the army – waiting, slack, not keyed-up – with a front resting on Estonia and Finland, with whom we were not at war, made the army somewhat friable, and that enabled Yudenich to exploit the situation and to use with great success a new mechanical weapon, tanks. Here, again, tanks are not frightening in themselves. In the last analysis, tanks merely operate machine-guns and cannon, and on a battlefield their significance is not great, but their very shape, their way of moving, the aureole surrounding tanks, produced at once a big Impression on our soldiers, often evoking real panic. This new technical means, the tanks: clever commanders, especially in the battalions of ‘His Serene Highness’ Prince Lieven, in the best shock units – all that, together with the limp, waiting posture of our forces, constituted the general preconditions for a campaign which gave the counter-revolution grounds for declaring that they would be in Petrograd no later than the end of October or the beginning of November. However, they did not take account of that moral factor which our army possesses in the form of the advanced workers, the Communists, our great ability to mobilise the army’s spirit, to raise and draw taut its will-power within a short space of time.

This ability is not possessed, we can say with confidence, by any other army in the world. We have many shortcomings and deficiencies, though we are striving to eliminate them. We are now armed even with tanks, which operated against Yudenich, and operated with great success. This produced a tremendous impression on our Red Army. Our Red Army men said, gaily:

’Now we have our own Tanka [Tanka is both the Russian word for tank and a diminutive of the girl’s name Tanya (itself derived from Tatyana).] at the front.’

But, all the same, we have very many technical deficiencies, and there are cases when, here and there, we have to plug these gaps with bast wisp. But, as against that, we have our irreplaceable, reliable, staunch apparatus of proletarian Communists: the place of our Communist commanders and commissars cannot be taken, on Yudenich’s side, by the officers who are so numerous in his principal units. They are, of course, capable of heroism. Many of these officers were killed in the fierce fighting: but they are, all the same, representatives of the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia, capable of making a breakthrough, easily encouraged by success, but losing heart after the first setback. The proletarians of Moscow and Petrograd are quite different: the more they are stricken by the blows of fate, the tougher they become.

We have now experienced this afresh. Every time we are obliged to undergo such a trial we are once more convinced of the strength of the proletariat. Just look at Petrograd ... What a lot of workers we have extorted from Petrograd, how many of them have perished on all our fronts, and yet in the hour of danger Petrograd put forward fresh thousands, who did not let the enemy overthrow them. We divided the task of defending Petrograd into two parts. The enemy was on the Pulkovo Heights, our field army was struggling there, it had fallen back, got into a state where it was unable to fight, and it had to be strengthened, re-grouped and tempered. On the other hand, though, if the field army should nevertheless give up its positions, and Yudenich should break into Petrograd, we decided to transform the whole city into one armed camp, in which every district, every sector, would be ready to do battle. The Petrograd workers were split into two groups. One group was assigned to the battle-line, with the task of restoring the units of the Seventh Army, while the other was told to fortify the city, dig trenches, form fighting squads, assemble machine gunners and grenade-throwers, form detachments, find suitable buildings, organise command-posts there, occupy the cellars, supply the workers, both men and women, with rifles and grenades with which to greet the enemy in the proper way if he should break in for a few hours. Within a few days we had divided the city into districts, and the districts into subdistricts, organised and distributed the fighting squads, undertaken the necessary fortifications work – and if the Whites had managed to break into Petrograd, they would have had to tear with their teeth at every single quarter, every sector, every district. If the field army had retreated, that would not have meant that Petrograd had fallen. It would merely have meant that the struggle shifted to the streets of the city, and here, in the streets of Petrograd, we did not doubt, Yudenich’s army would have been totally exterminated.

But things did not come to that pass. The taking of Dyetskoye Syclo and Pavlovsk was Yudemch’s last success. On October 21 his offensive was halted. On the 22nd we went over to the offensive. On the 23rd we took Dyetskoye and Pavlovsk, and, a few days later, Krasnoye Syclo. Our capture of the first two villages already possessed decisive importance. It showed that the Seventh Army had been reborn, that it had recovered its resilience and tenacity, that it had shaken off the weakness of will that had been manifest when it was unexpectedly thrust out of Yamburg, and fell back. Our task consisted in bringing about a turn in morale. Gatchina was taken by the enemy by means of a skilful night raid. A very small unit, possibly only a company – this has not yet been established – got into the park, opened fire under cover of darkness, and thereby created panic. With the skill of trained guerrillas, the enemy exploited the effect of surprise. A single company produced the greatest confusion ... It was necessary, at any cost, to make our units pull themselves together, every soldier had to be made to realise that the enemy was weak and we were strong, the Reds had to be shown the Whites, every soldier in the army had to be filled with confidence in his strength – and that was done by the workers of Petrograd and Moscow. It was necessary to show that tanks are nothing more than iron boxes in which sit some men who are armed with the same weapons as ordinary machine gunners and gunners, and this we were able to do only thanks to the manpower that arrived from Moscow and Petrograd, and which, having arrived, at once set about its tremendous task. But when they had taken their two or three first villages, the question was settled, because we were more numerous, we were well armed, and we wanted to crush the enemy.

We succeeded in effecting the turn. Within a few days we began to take prisoners from among the enemy, and there were even men coming over to us, whereas during our retreat there had been none, precisely because the Seventh Army was steadily retreating. The turn had been made. This fact, comrades, we have had occasion to observe on more than one of our fronts, when one or other of our armies, improvised, that is, created in a short time in a more or less amateurish way, and not well united, lost its distinctiveness as a military body, lost its self-possession, just because it lacked sufficient skill, sufficient training, sometimes because it lacked the commanders it needed, and it went to pieces, so to speak, the ground beneath its feet seeming to fall away. But it was enough to bring into that army a certain number of courageous proletarians who declared firmly that they would die rather than retreat, and the turn came about. This new factor in war which the old armies of imperialism did not know, and which the British stock exchange has not yet recognised, this new revolutionary tank of ours, the proletariat of Moscow and Petrograd, works wonders.

This tank will overcome all obstacles. All that is needed is that it should understand that the danger is great. The whole heart of the matter is there. When, comrades, we suffer some setbacks at the front, the Petrograd and Moscow workers sometimes say: ‘Never mind, we’ll cope, we’ve coped more than once before ...’ And then often some calamity occurs; but when these workers discover for themselves that the danger is great and immediate, then they always find, hidden somewhere within them, a source of fresh strength, which proves, each time, to be greater than all the strength that they had previously expended. And the fight before Petrograd had a dual significance for us. On the one hand, the stock-exchange had staked a great deal on the Yudemch card, had convinced itself that this attack would be decisive – first Petrograd,then Moscow. Consequently, not to surrender Petrograd would mean dealing a hard blow to the European stock-exchange, discrediting it, making it a laughing-stock in the eyes of the mass of the workers in Europe and America. On the other hand, the question of Petrograd bore the character of an internal test. Is there still some powder in the powder-flask of the Russian revolution and, in particular, in the Petrograd proletariat, after we have expended this revolutionary powder so mercilessly? It has turned out that there is – that Petrograd can defend itself.

The fact that we did not surrender Petrograd is of immense importance for the attitude of the European proletariat towards us and, by repercussion, for the attitude taken up towards us by the European bourgeoisie.

The European proletariat has not begun its revolution precisely because the European bourgeoisie is stronger than ours. There is a certain inertia, a sluggishness in class relations, which prevents an old working class from revolting against an old and powerful bourgeoisie. The European proletariat is moving towards revolt, but by a slower road. Its bourgeoisie, taking advantage of the slow development of the revolution, is fighting us with all the weapons and means it is capable of setting in motion. True, Britain has not hurled her divisions on to our territory, but only her 15-inch shells. Why not? Because she cannot. But if she cannot do that, then even less can she fight the British workers. The proletariat of London, who have threatened the bourgeoisie with a general strike if the war with Russia is continued, who have prudently and cautiously asked themselves whether they are strong enough openly to revolt against the British stock-exchange, will now say to that stock- exchange: ‘So, then, you started a fight against Petrograd, against Russia, you promised to set the Baltic Sea on fire. You promised you would take Red Petrograd, but you have failed. Petrograd was and remains a proletarian city.’ That is what the British worker will say.

And the more the world’s press did to stir up interest in the question of the taking of Petrograd, the more strongly, the more cruelly will world imperialism be discredited in the consciousness of the world proletariat, not only from the moral angle (it has long been without any credit in that respect) but also as regards its real military power. And that interest in the question of the fate of Petrograd was at a high level of intensity we see from that same bourgeois press. A Swedish paper writes in so many words: ‘World-wide week of Petrograd fever.’ Taking Petrograd, wrote the bourgeois journalists, means opening a new chapter in world history. Thus, under the Pulkovo Heights,where we fought with Yudenich, those comparatively small armies constituted two detachments of the two greatest forces in the world: on the one hand, the world bourgeoisie, which had contributed everything it could at that moment to the fight against us: on the other, the European proletariat, which at that moment could contribute nothing but its ardent sympathy, since the sea, the ships, the cables and the wireless are not yet in its hands. The struggle acquired, therefore, not only a material but also a symbolic character: it was a trial of strength between the world revolution and the world bourgeoisie. This happened precisely on the eve of the second anniversary of Soviet power. It was as though history was trying, on the day of our festival, to test us, on the one hand, and, on the other, the world stock-exchange, so as to find out by giving a shove, how firmly each was planted on its feet. In the battles before Petrograd the Soviet power showed that it stands firm and unconquerable. Consequently, the Petrograd battles have very great principled and agitational importance, which will take effect in the coming weeks and months.

This does not mean that our task has been completed – no, it has not yet been completed even on the Petrograd front. It has been fundamentally completed, perhaps, only on the Eastern front, where the enemy has been smashed, and where our task now consists in occupying those boundless spaces extending to the Pacific Ocean, organising and consolidating Soviet power there, a task that is already nine-tenths non-military in character. In the South our military task has not been completed. Nor has it been completed yet in the North-West. Petrograd is out of danger, that is beyond doubt, and the enemy has been hit hard, but he has not yet been broken: he is retreating but is not yet fleeing, and, in any case, has not yet been crushed. This task we must perform, and Yudenich’s army must be crushed.

The troops from the Petrograd front must be freed as soon as possible for other tasks, primarily on the Southern front, where the turn has been fully accomplished but where all possible forces, will-power and creative energy must be concentrated in the next few weeks, because, as we were shown by the example of the Seventh Army, it is disastrous for us when, after large- scale successes, we allow our organisation to lose impetus, get slack and go to pieces. We then have, by means of incredible efforts and many needlesssacrifices, to make up for what we lost through lack of self-control. Fortunately, experience is increasingly hardening us and making us more stubborn and systematic in our work.

There can be no doubt, after all we have gone through on our fronts, that we shall crown our military task with complete victory. In our young army, comrades, we already possess magnificent cadres, warriors the like of whom are rare in world history. If, comrades, we speak frankly about our shortcomings and failures, about the cases of panic that have occurred, then I think we have the right and the duty to speak about the heroism, the extraordinary élan that was seen on the Petrograd Front. Read the Denikinites’ reports, their newspaper accounts, in which they speak about the way our Red Army men, our cadets, our Communists fight, as they put it, with mad fury. And that is true. There, where in the enemy’s small units there was one officer to every seven men, where a third of the enemy’s forces were armed with automatic weapons, where they had tanks and motor-cars, and where they did not waste their shots but fired only at our men – there, on our side, we had less skill and were hindered by shortages, but these defects were more than made up for by enthusiasm and heroism.

The Whites claimed that we suffered more casualties than they did, although they admit that their losses were also great. It is difficult to check whether or not this is true. But what is true is that our Seventh Army has dealt the enemy an irreparable blow. There were many casualties. I saw them in action there – young workers and peasants, cadets from Moscow and Petrograd. What fighters! The regiments that came from the Eastern front, the Lettish regiments – what heroes! They threw themselves, revolver in hand, upon the tanks. A company commander of the Lettish regiment leapt on to a tank, shouting: ‘The tank is ours!’ These are all facts which Yudeinch calls instances of heroic madness. I believe that, with an army such as this, the third year of Soviet power will see the complete destruction of our enemies and a firm peace, secured by the armed hand of the proletariat.

Yes, I believe that the third year will be a year of peace, of that peace for which we are striving so hard and which we need so much. We are not seeking victory for victory’s sake, we are fighting because they are forcing us to fight. What we want is peaceful economic construction, the development and flowering of culture. In the war that has been imposed on us we see a frightful obstacle in the way of our great and sacred task. The first day of peace will bring us the demobilisation of the army, will bring back into our ranks the many hundreds of thousands of proletarians and peasants whom the Soviet land gave to the army in order to defend the independence and freedom of the republic of labour. They will all return, but they will return not just as they were when they left, they will return changed – and changed for the better, not for the worse. Their experiences, the tension they have undergone, will have left deep scars on each man’s soul, and hardened his will into steel. Wherever ourcadets and Red Army men may be sent in the future, they will carry out the task they are given. We say to them: ‘The enemy is Yudenich – beat him’, and they beat him. Tomorrow, when Yudenich and Denikin have been beaten and you bring our warriors back to the rear and say: ‘The enemy is the cold, hunger and devastation that prevails in the country – beat them,’ all the energy, enthusiasm and self-sacrifice which have been accumulated in the Red Army will enter into the service of peaceful labour, for the well-being of our hungry workers and working women, mothers and children. And we shall then become truly invincible, we shall heal our country’s wounds, we shall ensure for it peace, prosperity and free development, and become a free country among other happy countries.

return return

Last updated on: 23.12.2006