Democratization of the Army

Soviet of People’s Commissars, Electivity and Organization of Authority in the Army. December 29, 1917


Original Source: Sobranie uzakonenii i rasporiazhenii raboche-krestian’skogo pravitel’stva, 1917, No. 9, pp. 136-37.

1. The army, as the servant of the will of the toiling people, is to be subordinate to the sovereign of that people, the Soviet of People’s Commissars.

2. The full power within any army unit or combination of units is to be in the hands of its soldiers’ committees and Soviets.

3 … The [soldiers’] committees are to exercise control over those spheres of activity which the committees do not handle directly.

4. The elective principle for army officers is hereby introduced. All commanders up to the regimental commander are to be elected by a general vote of the units … Commanders higher than regimental commanders and including the supreme commander-in-chief are to be elected by a congress … of committees of the army units …

7. Positions of a technical nature which require special training, such as physicians, engineers, aviators … are to be appointed by the committees. from among persons having the required special knowledge.

8. Chiefs of staff are elected from among persons with special training.

9. All other staff officers are to be appointed by the chief of staff. These appointments are to be ratified by the soldiers’ congresses …

10. Commanders above the drafting age, … if they are not elected to any post, and are thereby demoted to the position of privates, have a right to leave service …

President of the Sovnarkom

People’s Commissar of War and Navy

People’s Commissar of War

Source: Decrees of the Soviet Government (Moscow: Institute of Marxism-Leninism, 1957), Vol. I, pp. 244-245.

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