Various Subjects

Concerning Two Documents

To Revolutionary War Councils of Armies and Fronts

(The two documents referred to here are the letter of a member of the Revolutionary War Council of the Western front, Comrade Potyayev, and the ‘theses’ of the plenipotentiary of the Extraordinary Army Supply Commission with the Sixth Army, Comrade Luganovsky. In their time, both documents were published so as to help in the exchange of experience between armies and to prepare, through exchange of views between them and the centre, material for statewide organisational and legislative measures. – L.T.)

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

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One of the most important problems in our constructive work in the military sphere is that of a supply organisation which, while centralised, shall also be flexible and adapted to local conditions. The fundamental condition for this organisation must, of course, be that it corresponds completely with the whole system of the Soviet economy. But whereas the Soviet economic system is only being built – and, moreover, under very difficult conditions – army supply work does not permit of interruption, and the supply apparatus needs to be allowed sufficient freedom of action, opportunity to show initiative, departure when necessary from fixed patterns, and so on, in order that, within the framework of the general economic plan, it may make use, as it goes along, of all such local resources as may serve to meet the army's needs.

However, no plan and no system will safeguard our forces unless a system of order and the strictest accounting is introduced in the units themselves. Matters in this respect are as bad as they can be. There is no regulation of supplies within companies and regiments. Individual records of equipment issued are kept in a slipshod way, or not at all. The Red Army man’s service-book is being issued with extraordinary delay. This absence of orderly procedures in the army's basic economic cell creates opportunities for exceptional waste of materiel and for actual embezzlement. Red Army equipment has become the object of most unbridled speculation. The fight against this evil, which is undermining the work of the army’s central supply organs, is the responsibility, in the first place, of the Central Commission for Combating Desertion. If the fight is to succeed, however, it must be carried on simultaneously from every quarter, and, first and foremost, it must start at company and regimental level, under the unflagging supervision and pressure of the Revolutionary War Councils of the Armies and Fronts.

December 17, 1919

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Last updated on: 27.12.2006