Various Subjects

Order No.86

By the chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to the Red Army, March 18, 1919, No.86, Inza station

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

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Comrade soldiers! Complaints directed against the Red Army are sometimes heard coming from the peasantry. There actually have been instances when insufficiently conscious and disciplined units have caused offence to working peasants. This must not happen. The Red Army must put an end to it.

The Red Army serves to defend the workers and the working peasants. The peasants contribute to the army soldiers, horses and grain. The workers contribute to the army soldiers, rifles and clothing. Between these three groups there must be a close, fraternal alliance.

It is not we who have caused the war. The war was forced upon us by the landlords and capitalists, our own and foreign ones, who want to strangle us. War is a stern and grave matter. The peaceful population also suffer from the war, and the peasantry first and foremost. It is not possible to prevent this. The peasantry will recover when we have disposed of our enemies and given peace and tranquillity to the country. But even now, in wartime, it is impermissible to increase without restraint the burdens that fall upon the peasantry. The kulak is our enemy. But the middle peasant, the working cultivator, must be our friend and fellow. To cause him offence is to commit an unforgivable crime. Honourable, conscious soldiers must react against the slightest attempt on the part of ignorant and depraved soldiers to rob and coerce the working peasants: they must come to the defence of the working peasants and ruthlessly punish the bullies and violators.

Commissars and commanders! Take strict care to ensure that the working peasants are not offended by unconscious elements in the army. Do not permit any illegal requisitions and confiscations. Take care to see that the peasants are paid the established prices for everything that the Red Army takes from them.

Counter-revolutionary agitators who stir up the peasants against the Red soldiers must be exterminated, but close comradely relations must everywhere be maintained with the peasants themselves, the meaning of our war must be explained to them, and they must be drawn into conscious participation in joint Soviet work.

No mercy to marauders and predators who plunder and insult the working peasants!

Ruthless punishment for all kulaks who stir up the peasants against the soldiers!

Long live the fraternal alliance between the Red Army and all the working peasants!

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Last updated on: 26.12.2006