The Military Writings of
Leon Trotsky

Volume 2, 1919

How the Revolution Armed

The Southern Front

II. Denikin’s Offensive (May 15-August 1919)

ORDER No.119

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs, June 29, 1919. No.119, Kursk

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

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Within the bounds of Kursk province there are a very consider able number of citizens who have evaded military service or who have directly deserted from units of the Red Army. Denikin’s temporary successes have enabled him to occupy part of Kursk province. Denikin is mobilising peasants and workers, turning them into enemies and hangmen of the working people’s country. In these circumstances, every deserter is twice and thrice a traitor to the working class.

I order that measures of exceptional severity be taken to dig out deserters and draft-dodgers from among the inhabitants of Kursk province. Those found carrying arms are to be shot on the spot.

Men who have lost or sold part of their equipment are to be dealt with severely by courts-martial.

Persons who conceal deserters are to be punished ruthlessly: their horses, carts, cattle, etc., are to be confiscated and they themselves brought before the court-martial.

Those deserters who give themselves up voluntarily, even after the expiry of the period laid down by the Defence Council, are to be shown as much leniency as possible.

It is the duty of all uyezd, volost and village Soviet authorities to make every effort to carry through the struggle against desertion. In these days when the insolent landlords and capitalists are threatening to enslave the workers and peasants of Kursk, not a single deserter must be allowed to remain within the bounds of Kursk province. All measures taken, and the results obtained, are to be reported to me by telegraph every three days.

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Last updated on: 22.12.2006