Banditry and Famine


Order No.257

To the Provinces of Volhynia, Podolia and Odessa, September 5, 1921, No.257, Zhitomir

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

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Under present conditions, when the allied governments of Russia and the Ukraine are exerting all their efforts to overcome the famine disaster which has befallen the Volga provinces, and to restore the economy of the fraternal Soviet republics, events frequently occur on the western frontiers of the Ukraine and Russia which cause very great harm to the state interests and, in particular, to the economic interests, of Russia and the Ukraine. Smugglers and speculators make their way across the frontier by secret paths, and by means of fraud, bribery and plying with spirits they carry over the frontier a considerable part of the grain which is now so badly needed for our own Soviet republics.

On the other hand, from time to time criminal bands of Petlyurists, Savinkovites and other hirelings of foreign capital are thrown on to Soviet territory from behind our frontiers with neighbouring states. The way is prepared for these bands by spies and traitors who get in through the gaps in our Western frontiers.

Such occurrences threaten the peace and well-being of the population, especially in the frontier provinces of the Soviet Ukraine and Soviet Russia.

In view of this, the allied governments of the Ukraine and Russia, having taken the measures necessary for strengthening the protection of the Western frontiers, hereby inform the population as follows:

  1. It is the duty not only of all Soviet organs and institutions in the frontier zone, without exception, both civil and military, but also of all the local inhabitants to co-operate in every way with the government in guarding our frontiers against agents of speculation and banditry.
  2. The executive committees of volosts, uyezds and provinces in the frontier zone must thoroughly discuss and put into effect additional measures of a local character for the same purpose.
  3. Individual citizens, and, in particular, representatives of the Soviet power who are found to be guilty of helping, directly or indirectly, the criminal activities of speculation or banditry on the frontier, whether through negligence, idleness, connivance, or outright crime, are to be handed over to the Revolutionary Military Tribunal and judged with all the severity appropriate to the state importance of the interests which they have violated by their actions.
  4. The present order is to be made known as soon as possible, on the personal responsibility of the Chairman of the Provincial Executive Committee and the Head of each District, to the Executive Committees of uyezds and volosts, and is also to be disseminated as widely as possible throughout the province, by way of distribution, pasting up, and oral announcements in public places.

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Last updated on: 28.12.2006