Banditry and Famine


Order No.267

By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic to the Red Army and the Red Navy, November 11, 1921, No.267, Moscow

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

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To be read to all companies, squadrons, batteries, task-forces and ships’ crews

A Fresh Provocation by the Polish Military Clique

Only recently the Red Army experienced, together with the country to which it belongs, several weeks of acute political tension: the question of whether or not there would be peace with Poland was being decided. Thanks to the extraordinary firmness and peace-loving persistence of Soviet diplomacy, agreement was reached: the Polish Government undertook to expel from Poland those White-Guards who had openly formed bands on Polish territory and prepared terrorist acts against the Soviet power in Russia. But hardly had this agreement been signed by both parties than Poland hurled on to our territory a fresh lot of sizeable bands, linked by a common plan and led by that very same Petlyurist bandit, Tyutyunik, who was to have been expelled from Poland. [1] The unprecedently provocative character of this new attack has forced the army to stir itself and ask: ‘How long?’

Undoubtedly, from the standpoint of the so-called international law of bourgeois states, the latest White-Guard provocation is a direct challenge to war. But since the Soviet Government does not want war, it is not hurrying to take up this challenge. It counts firmly on the Polish people to restrain the criminal adventurers and call them to order.

Every Red Army man must, however, appreciate the real state of affairs. In Poland there is not one government, but two. One of these is the official government, the public one, which speaks in Parliament, carries on negotiations and signs treaties.

The other is the secret government, which relies on a consider-able section of the officers, and is headed by the so-called Head of State, Pilsudski. Behind this secret government stand the extreme imperialists of France. While the official Polish Government, under pressure not only from the working people but also from wide bourgeois circles, is compelled to seek peace with Soviet Russia, the provocateurs of the Polish army command strive with all their might to bring about war.

What are the conclusions for us? In no case to facilitate the work of the provocateurs but, on the contrary, to show, as before, the utmost restraint in maintaining peaceful relations. But, at the same time, we must keep firmly in mind the split in the will of Poland’s ruling class. We do not know whether it will be the supporters of peace or the criminal incendiaries who will get the upper hand in Poland this winter or next spring. We must be prepared for the worst.

The Red Army is again crushing the Petlyurist bands hurled against us by the Polish adventurers. The Red Army is redoubling its work of military preparation. No turn of events will take the Red Army by surprise!


1. On Tyutyunik’s band, see below, note 61.

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Last updated on: 28.12.2006