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.132

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the Twelfth and Fourteenth Armies July 26, 1919, No.132, Korenyevo station
[Korenyevo is on the line linking Kursk with Konotop, between Legov and Vorozhba.]

1. The state farms of the Ukrainian SSR the zone adjoining the front are placed, by agreement with the Defence Council, under the protection of the active armies. Thanks to the very bountiful harvest, the state farms will enable us to overcome, during the year that lies ahead, the shortage of food in the towns of the Ukraine and Great Russia. They will at the same time provide for the feeding of the army. It is now necessary that the armies guard the state farms from damage and devastation, both intentional and unintentional.

All consequent measures will be taken by the Revolutionary War Council of the army, through the proper channels. The purpose of these measures will be to create conditions under which there can be no misappropriation of livestock or equipment, or of stocks of fodder or foodstuffs belonging to state farms, whether sugar-producing or grain-producing, and no arson or other destructive acts can be committed against them. The Revolutionary War Council of the relevant army will make contact with the local uyezd land departments, obtain from them all the information needed concerning the location of the state farms and the dangers to which they are subject, and will take appropriate steps, assigning the implementation of measures for the protection of the state farms in each sector to the relevant divisional commissars. Where necessary, the Revolutionary War Councils will appoint assistants to the divisional commissars for the purpose mentioned. In case of need, the divisional commissars will mount patrols, and will draw the local executive committees into the work of guarding the state farms. In places where this action is called for, they will take hostages, by agreement with the local authority: in short, they will take all measures that may serve to give real protection to the state farms.

In those cases where kulak elements try to damage the state farms in one way or another, the Revolutionary War Councils are required to act ruthlessly in order to safeguard the people’s property and the food supplies of the working masses.

2. At the same time, the special food committees of the 12th and 14th Armies are ordered to take, with full co-operation from the Revolutionary War Councils of the armies mentioned, all the measures within their power to assist the Land Departments in reaping and collecting the crops of the state farms.

For this purpose, the armies’ special food committees, together with the larger Land Departments, will set up a temporary commission for bringing in the harvest, which commission will have full power to take emergency measures, such as conscription of workers and means of transport, on the basis of labour-service. The Revolutionary War Councils of the armies are obliged to furnish all the armed forces needed for this to be done.

In all cases, the armies’ special food committees are to act jointly with the uyezd land departments: only where the latter do not exist are they to act independently. Strict care is to be taken to ensure that all measures are in conformity with existing decrees.

It is to be widely made known to the Red Army men that protection and timely harvesting of the state farm crops means looking after the interests of the Red Army, for the food-stocks of the 12th and 14th Armies will, in accordance with the decision of the Defence Council, be replenished, first and foremost, from the crops of the state farms. The Defence Council of the Ukrainian SSR is to be informed of all measures taken, not less frequently than twice a week.

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Last updated on: 22.12.2006