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.142

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the Fourteenth Army, August 8, 1919, No.142, Konotop

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

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Communists serving in the army must be models of self-control, discipline and assiduity. However, I have soon become convinced that certain responsible workers in the Fourteenth Army permit themselves to go absent, ‘in order to make reports’, from the area in which the army is operating, without having been given any leave to do this: Such examples have a harmful effect and undermine that firm discipline without which no army can exist and victory is impossible.

I give notice that every Communist whom the Party has delegated to serve in the army, and who has thus become a Red Army man, has exactly the same rights and duties as any other soldier of the Red Army.

Those who arbitrarily absent themselves will be treated as deserters and, regardless of the positions they hold, will be brought before the revolutionary tribunal, to be judged in accordance with the laws of war.

Communists found guilty of offences and crimes against revolutionary military duty will be punished twice as severely as non-Communists, because what may be forgiven to an ignor ant, unconscious person cannot be excused in the case of a member of the Party that stands at the head of the working class of the whole world.

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Last updated on: 23.12.2006