Various Subjects

More Concern for
the Red Soldiers

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

* * *

It must be said, frankly, that the Soviet power in the localities does not always pay the necessary attention to the state of the comrade Red Army men. The inevitable burdens of military service are accompanied by accidental, secondary inconveniences which do not get eliminated for the simple reason that nobody gives proper thought to them.

The way the Red Army men are housed is sometimes as bad as it could be. Often the barrack buildings are filthy. In many of the huts used in summer-time the roofs leak, there is no glass in the windows and the doors do not shut. Frequently there is not sufficient firewood for boiling water. The bunks or beds are without mattresses or mats. Why all this? Through inattention, through lack of the necessary care.

There are, of course, many comforts which our disordered country, alter several years of war, is not at present able to offer to its fighting men. But intelligent and honest Red Army men do not ask for anything extraordinary. Some modest comforts ought, however, to be provided, whatever the cost. And this is quite feasible. Repairing the roof so that it does not leak, putting bunks in order, making straw mats, arranging latrines properly, making it possible for the Red Army men to wash themselves, if only once a week, with hot water and soap – all this is perfectly possible. All that is needed is for the local authority – not just the military authority, but the local Soviet authority as a whole – to make it their task to create tolerable conditions of human existence for Red Army units.

When he is in the firing-line, the revolutionary warrior has to suffer all sorts of adversities – going for whole days and nights without food, getting soaked to the skin by rain, carrying out difficult marches, and so on. But, out there, all these burdens arise from the very fact of war, and it is of no use to grumble about them – one can only redouble one’s efforts to crush the bourgeoisie as soon as possible and bring the war to an end. It is another matter in the rear, where the Red Army units are formed and trained. Here it is both possible and necessary to provide more amenities and ensure greater comfort. This is a task for the local Soviet authorities.

It is the duty of the chairman of the executive Committee in every city, in every uyezd, to inspect from time to time, along with the military commissar, the places where troops are quartered, so as to see for himself whether the lives of the Red warriors could not be made easier and brighter.

Grumbling is sometimes heard in the barracks, and discontent makes itself felt. Some people, perhaps, think that the Red soldiers are dissatisfied with Soviet power in general and want to set up some other sort of power. But this is not so. The overwhelming majority of the comrade soldiers know that the present ruling power is the power of the workers and peasants. Individual representatives of this power, in the localities or at the centre, may make mistakes. They can be replaced. But the working people cannot want for themselves any power other than that of the workers and peasants. If grumbling is heard, if there is discontent, this is directed against individual representatives of the ruling power who perform their duties inattentively, slackly and negligently and who, in particular, fail to show the necessary care for the Red Army men.

This is exploited by various White-Guard rogues in order to try and cause confusion and clashes, with the spilling of workers’ and peasants’ blood.

White-Guard rogues must, of course, be exterminated. But for the Red Army men there must be more attention, more concern, more love!

July 22,1920

1 1

Last updated on: 27.12.2006