Formation of the Worker-Peasant Red Army

Soviet of People’s Commissars, Formation of the Worker-Peasant Red Army. January 28, 1918


The formation of a Red Army of class-conscious soldiers would create the core military unit that would soon wage the three-year civil war against various anti-Bolshevik military groups. Its ideological foundations would, at its best, give Red units a morale that overcame horrendous material conditions.

Original Source: Sobranie uzakonenii i rasporiazhenii rabochego i krestian’skogo pravitel’stva, 1918, No. 17, p. 259.


The Soviet of People’s Commissars hereby resolves to organize on the following principles a new army to be known as the Worker-Peasant Red Army:

1. The Worker-Peasant Army is to be made up of the more class-conscious and organized elements of the toiling masses,

2. Admission to the army is open to all Russian citizens of eighteen years and over. Admission is by recommendation of the army committees or democratic organizations, standing on the platform of the Soviet Government, party and labor organizations, or at least by two members of such organizations …


1. Soldiers of the Worker-Peasant Army are fully provided for by the state and receive in addition fifty rubles a month.

2. Dependents of Red Army soldiers will be provided for according to the local standards as worked out by the local organs of the Soviet Government.


The Supreme Commanding organ of the Worker-Peasant Army is the Soviet of People’s Commissars. The direct command and administration of the army is concentrated in the Commissariat of War and its specially created All-Russian Collegium.

V. ULIANOV (LENIN) President of the Sovnarkom
N. KRYLENKO Supreme Commander-in-Chief
DYBENKO, PODVOISKY People’s Commissars of War and Navy

Source: Decrees of the Soviet Government (Moscow: Institute of Marxism-Leninism, 1957), Vol. I, pp. 356-357.

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