The Red Army on a Peace Footing

Orders, Circulars, Telegrams, etc.

Order No.2252

By the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic, October 11, 1921, No.2252, Moscow

The Week Of Care For The Red Army Man’s Kit

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

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The week of care for the Red Army Man’s Kit must certainly not be allowed to assume a purely agitational character. The task of the Week is to effect practical education: by talks, appeals, examples, demonstrations and orders to stimulate the Red Army men to show active attention to the living conditions around them and to their own uniforms and weapons. There would be no need for such a week if the Red Army men’s attitude during all the other weeks of the year, towards their barracks, their boots, their greatcoats, their rifles and their horses were as required by the regulations. Hitherto this has not been the case. But it must become the case, and it will.

Before the revolution, the Russian had an indifferent, contemptuous and hostile attitude to state property. During the war enormous wealth was destroyed and annihilated in a short time, and this made it difficult to educate people in a spirit of economy. Undoubtedly, though, there would have been a very large measure of economy of forces and resources during the war if only the soldier masses had been better educated in the spirit of paying attention to their kit and to their petty, everyday duties.

Today, with the coming of a period of peace, the Red Army has to assume a task of exceptional importance: to educate itself in the spirit of socialist citizenship, to learn to understand, feel, not in words but in deed, that, now, ‘state’ property is my property, the property of the workers and peasants, so that it is my duty to protect military property from damage and destruction. If we are to ensure the practical education of the Red Army men in the spirit of citizenship and economy, it is necessary that the commissars and commanders shall be deeply imbued with these principles. If a commissar is slovenly and inaccurate, any speeches he may deliver about thrift and tidiness will produce only negative results. But if a commander and a commissar carefully watch over the economic life of their unit, day after day, looking into all its trifles, then, even without big agitational speeches, they will accomplish the needed economic education of the Red Army men.

By way of protracted, stubborn struggle, we have ensured that the army is hostile to any form of guerrilla-ism. The deserter and the coward meet the contempt they deserve from the public opinion of the Red Army. We now have to ensure that the public opinion of the Red Army shall mercilessly punish the sloven and the squanderer of army property.

May the ‘Week’ serve to turn into flesh and blood the words of the solemn promise given by every young citizen when he assumes the high title of soldier of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Army: ‘Before the working classes of Russia and of the whole world I pledge myself to bear this title with honour, to study the art of war conscientiously, and to protect, like the apple of my eye, all public and military property from damage and robbery.’

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Last updated on: 28.12.2006