Various Subjects

Order No.85

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the Peasants, March 18, 1919, No.85, Ruzayevka station

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

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The enemies of workers” and peasants” Russia have long been preparing for a spring campaign against us. The British and French planned to advance from the north, from Archangel, toward Vologda and Moscow. Kolchak counted on advancing from Perm to Vyatka and Vologda, and from Ufa to Simbirsk and Samara. They were to be helped, from the South, by the old Tsarist general Denikin, and, from the West, by the Petlyurists – that is, the Ukrainian landlords and kulaks, the Polish gentry – that is, noble landlords, and also by the German White Guards who do not want to leave the Russian fortresses they hold.

Simultaneously with all this, the enemies of workers” and peasants” Russia intended to raise a revolt inside the country. The conspiracy was under preparation in a number of places. Acting as agents of Anglo-French and American capital among us, inside the country, were White Guards who now usually call themselves Left SRs. The revolt was fixed for March 12, that is, for the second anniversary of the revolution.

Numerous telegrams and other documents have come into the possession of the Soviet Government, from which the plan of the conspiracy emerges quite clearly. The revolt was to be launched at such important railway centres as Bryansk, Lgov, Liski, Rtishchevo, Syzran, Inza, Ruzayevka, etc. By means of these revolts it was intended to disrupt the most important stretches of railway-line, cutting Petrograd and Moscow off from supplies of grain and thereby condemning central Russia to perish from hunger and cold.

At the same time, foreign imperialists were to burst into the country through four gateways – in the North, East, South and West. In order to facilitate their irruption still better, the foreign imperialists ordered their agents and instruments inside the country to start mutinies in Red Army units.

This plan suffered shipwreck. The Red Army remained true to the working class and the working peasantry. Only some quite useless and numerically insignificant units mutinied, and these have already laid down their arms. The offensive by the foreign imperialists did not come off. In the South we are continuing to advance in all sectors, we have taken Nikolayev, Melitopol, Berdyansk and Mariupol, and we are approaching Novocherkassk and Rostov. In the East, Kolchak’s offensive has been halted. We are attacking in the North. We are advancing in Estonia. The kulak revolts have not come off. They broke out in two or three places, but proved to be quite insignificant, and have already been put down. The guilty have been shot.

Comrade working peasants! Your enemies, the landlords and capitalists, are trying to draw you, too, into revolt against the workers” and peasants” power. Be on your guard. Do not trust wolves in sheep’s clothing!

The central government knows about the grave situation of the working peasantry. The war which we have been compelled to wage against the landlords who want to restore the authority of the Tsar and return the land to the nobles is demanding ever new sacrifices from the workers and peasants. Mobilisation of persons, mobilisation of horses, stable duty for the army, all bear heavily on the peasant economy. At the same time, ruined industry is not providing the peasants with the goods they need: cloth, agricultural implements, metal articles, and all the other things required for life and work. But every thinking and honest peasant must understand that it is not we, not the Soviet power, who are responsible for this war. It is the old oppressors of the people who want to recover the land, wealth and power. Where they have succeeded (in Siberia, in Archangel province, in the Crimea) the peasants” situation has worsened a hundredfold.

We need to bring the war to an end as quickly as possible, to drive out the Kolchaks, Krasnovs and Denikins, to re-establish peace and labour order. Senseless revolts and destruction of railway lines merely prolong the war, throw the country into confusion and cause ever new calamities for the working people, the peasants and workers.

Already the very same foreign bourgeois governments that are waging war against us have been obliged to recognise that Soviet Russia cannot be broken, and they are increasingly talking about the necessity of making peace with workers” and peasants” Russia. Our internal enemies, the landlords, White Guards and kulaks, are opposing this trend with all their might.

Comrade peasants, be on your guard! Do not let yourselves be deceived! Help the Red Army and the town workers to crush the counter-revolution for good and all. The Soviet power is your power. It is doing all it can to improve the position of the peasants, to revive industry, to alleviate the state of agriculture. As soon as we have disposed of the enemy, workers” and peasants” Russia will enjoy tranquillity and comfort.

Long live the honest working peasants!

Long live the fraternal alliance between the workers, the Red Army and the middle peasants!

Long live free workers” and peasants” Russia!

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Last updated on: 26.12.2006