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The Militant, 17 August 1946

Conditions in Soviet Union Worsen
for Factory Workers and Soldiers

Discipline Patterned on Model
of Despotic Prussian System

(28 July 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 33, 17 August 1946, p. 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


PARIS, July 26 – The Swiss paper, Army and People, paints an instructive picture of military training and discipline in the Red Army today. Here are some facts, none of which has been challenged by the Stalinists.

Recruits are trained for two years in the military schools of the 16 Soviet Republics. During the first six months they are taught only military discipline and physical training. No furloughs are permitted during this period. The use of arms comes only in the second six months.

The “military drill,” which is used extensively, is modelled on the Prussian drill. The Russian soldier must not move for 1½ hours-while at “attention.”

An indication of how strict is the discipline was given recently by a Russian officer asked for his opinion of Swiss Army discipline. He answered: “We would send a Russian soldier back 25 times if he saluted like a Swiss soldier ...”

In the Red Army today noncommissioned officers are saluted by the rank and file, just as in the German army.

When a subaltern calls upon an officer, the military code demands that he take three steps (Stechschritt – a form of goose-step), remain at attention, and report. When leaving he makes a half-turn to the left, and goes out with three more Stechscritten.

When subalterns and superiors meet, the subaltern has to step Stechschritten for five meters, salute and turn his head, with the left hand pressed to his trousers. In the garrison towns special patrols supervise the saluting. Of course junior officers have to salute seniors, etc.

Soldiers going on leave have to turn in all arms; only officers can carry a pistol. Officers may wear civilian clothes on leave; enlisted men may do. this only after two years service.

All forms of fraternization between officers and enlisted men are forbidden.

The post of political commissar, as it previously existed, has been abolished. The political commissar used to have the same rank and responsibility as the commanding officer. Today the political commissar is merely an adjutant under the orders of the commanding officer. His responsibility is to educate the troops in political and cultural matters. He has about the same function as the educational officer in the capitalist armies.

Following is a comparison of monthly pay:

Infantry soldier






Infantry Lt.



First Lt.









Lt. General



These are the normal peace payments. It should be added that officers’ incomes are free of tax, and officers are permitted under a recent regulation to have permanent orderlies for their personal service.

Thus the Red Army has changed under the Stalinist regime to the point where it is hard to distinguish between it and a Prussianized capitalist army in any important respect.

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