Various Subjects

Order No.74

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the Red Army and the Red Navy, January 9, 1919, No.74, Valuiki

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

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It was reported to me that the military censorship prevented the press from reporting at the time the fact that we had lost Perm to the White-Guard gangs. On checking, this report, which had seemed quite improbable, proved to be correct.

I consider it necessary to reprimand the military censorship for a gross and impermissible blunder. The military censorship exists for the purpose of preventing publication in the press of information which, being in the nature of military secrets, might be used against us if it got into enemy hands. The fall of Perm cannot constitute a secret to be kept from our enemies: when they took Perm they shouted about it for the whole world to hear. The French minister Pichon boasted before the French parliament about the capture of Perm. Consequently, what the military censorship was trying to do was to conceal from the Russian people something that the enemy knew. That was the method followed by the old regime. There is no point in concealing our isolated setbacks. To suppose that news of them could break the spirit of the worker masses means not to understand the significance and nature of our war and the mood of the revolutionary masses. Isolated failures and defeats merely compel Soviet Russia to pull itself together, because the fortuitous loss of one town cannot in any way discourage the army which, in the course of a single month, has restored to the Soviet family Pskov, Narva, Riga, Dvinsk, Vilna, Ufa and a number of other, less important towns.

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Last updated on: 26.12.2006