The Red Army on a Peace Footing

Orders, Circulars, Telegrams, etc.

Order No.263

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic to the Red Army and the Red Navy, September 11, 1921, No.263, Bar station

More Care For The Disabled Of The Civil War!

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

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The harsh struggle with the enemies who came against us one after another removed from the ranks of the Red Army a large number of victims – killed, wounded and mutilated. There are thousands and thousands of men in our country who were disabled in the civil war. In the period of maximum war-tension, when we had several fighting fronts, the Soviet Republic was unable to devote sufficient attention to care for the disabled of the civil war. Today we must make up for this omission. The very great economic difficulties confronting the Republic in the period immediately ahead prevent us from creating fully favourable conditions for the soldiers of the civil war who have lost in action their capacity for work, either completely or in part. Nevertheless, much can be done in this direction, given proper attention and combined effort. The Red Army must itself take on a substantial share of responsibility for looking after its own warriors who have become casualties, and also for helping the widows and orphans of men killed in action. There is a network of homes and hostels for the disabled, all over the Republic. The Red Army must undertake to give real assistance to these institutions – not in words but in deeds, so that the disabled may live there as well as possible, especially as regards food and cleanliness. Care for particular hostels mustbe assigned to particular units, depending on where they are stationed. In the course of their everyday work for their own units, the Red Army men must not forget the needs of the institutions for the disabled. If one of these institutions is short of fuel, or if educational work in it is neglected, or if it lacks sufficient manpower to cultivate its kitchen garden, an army unit must come to its aid. A representative of this unit must be a regular active member of the home for the disabled and of the local department of the People’s Commissariat for Social Security. Help can and must be given to the disabled and semi-disabled to organise workshops, sharing equipment and tools with them and assigning an instructor to work there, even if only temporarily; and, finally, the labour of the disabled themselves must be utilised so that they feel that they are not superfluous men but needed members of the family of labour. Sufficiently extensive opportunities for application of the labour of disabled persons can be found in the army’s numerous economic enterprises. Many thousands of the disabled will not merely not be a burden to army units but, on the contrary, will prove very valuable workers on their farms, in their kitchen gardens and so on, if the proper initiative is displayed and they are given work suited to their strength and capacity.

I direct that the commanders and commissars in the Military Districts and the provinces get in direct touch with the social security organs and the local committees for aid to the war disabled, to work out immediate practical measures for helping those comrades-in-arms of ours who have the most unquestionable right to our help.

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Last updated on: 28.12.2006