Statute of the Red Workers’ Guard

Petrograd City Conference of the Workers’ Guard, Tasks and Duties. October 23, 1917



1. The Red Workers’ Guard is an organisation of the armed forces of the workers for the struggle against counter-revolution and for the defence of the achievements of the revolution.

2. The Red Workers’ Guard is composed of workers recommended by the Socialist Parties, factory committees and trade unions.


3. Every member of the Red Workers’ Guard is obliged to submit to the discipline of the organisation, to render obedience to all its statutes, to fulfill all the duties imposed by it and to attend punctually for all the training and at all meetings of the Workers’ Guard.

NOTE.-Whoever fails to attend for training and at meetings three times in succession without a valid excuse will be expelled from the Workers’ Guard.

4. Strict observance of discipline and unconditional obedience to the elected bodies of the Guard is to be based, not on blind submission, but on the consciousness of the extreme importance and responsibility of the duties of the Workers’ Guard and on the fact that the Guard is a completely free and independent democratic organisation.

5. One of the most important duties of the members of the Red Workers’ Guard is to keep the weapons entrusted to them clean and ready for use.

6. The use of weapons without permission, particularly for inadmissible purposes, is the greatest crime, and will be punished with expulsion from the Workers’ Guard, boycott, etc.

7. In matters relating to violation of the statutes and non-observance of discipline, the members of the Workers’ Guard will be tried by a court composed of their fellow guards.


8. The Workers’ Guard, to maintain revolutionary order, will, in times of disturbance, assume responsibility for protection in the streets and of national and public institutions and private buildings, and will suppress any possibility of pogroms and provocatory action on the part of the counter-revolutionary forces.

9. Revolutionary order will be maintained by the Workers’ Guard according to the plans and under the general control of the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.

10. Military operations of the Workers’ Guard and all preparation for such action will be conducted systematically and under the general control of the Commander-in-Chief of the Red Workers’ Guard.

11. Numbered badges will be issued by the Central Command as a certificate of membership of the Red Workers’ Guard.

IV. Administration

12. The Red Workers’ Guard is at the disposal of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies and is directly controlled by the Central Command of the Red Workers’ Guard.

13. The Central Command of the Workers’ Guard is composed of one representative from each district and one from each of the following bodies:

  1. I. The Petrograd Executive Committee.
  2. 2. The Military Department of the Executive Committee.
  3. 3. The joint District Conference.
  4. 4. The Central Council of Factory Committees.
  5. 5. The Central Council of Trade Unions.

14. It is the duty of the Central Command generally to guide and review the activities of the district commands, and to provide the district with weapons and necessary equipment.

15. To carry on day-to-day work, the Central Command shall establish a bureau consisting of five representatives of the Central Command, and one representative each from the Petrograd Executive Committee and the Military Department of the Executive Committee.

16. A training department will be established in conjunction with the Central Command Bureau which shall take complete control of improving the Workers’ Guard in the districts and shall direct the work of the General Staff and the technical experts.

17. The Workers’ Guard in the districts is to be under the management of the District Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies and is to obey their local command, of which one-third shall be appointed by the elected district Soviet and two-thirds shall be elected by a general meeting or conference of the Red Workers’ Guard of the given district.

NOTE: The district Soviet has the right to dismiss the leaders of the Red Workers’ Guard if good cause is shown.

18. It is the duty of the district Command to superintend the activities of the Red Workers’ Guard in the district and the immediate practical work of organising and directing the daily business of the Red Workers’ Guard.


19. The Red Workers’ Guard is divided according to factories, where they are under the supervision of the elected factory commander. Workers in small concerns to form groups under district command.

NOTE:-If a Works’ Protection Corps (Factory Workers’ Militia) is formed from the Red Workers’ Guard, that body will be placed under the control of a special Workers’ Militia Commissar. It is necessary that such a Factory Militia should be a mobile body, i. e., that the members of the Red Workers’ Guard should in turn be absolved from this service.

20. The Red Workers’ Guard is divided into: Protection detachments (sections, platoons, companies, etc.), and into separate technical detachments (bombing, motor transport, telegraph, machine-guns, artillery, sections, etc.).

21. The lowest fighting unit is the group, consisting of 13 members. Four sections form a platoon (53 men); three platoons equal one company (160 men); three companies equal one battalion of 480 men, and, with the addition of special troops, of 500 and 600 men.

22. The district regiment is formed of all the battalions in that district. If there are a large number of such battalions, they may form several regiments. Large factories may form their own detachments which shall form a part of the district regiment, although they may retain their own name (e.g., “Putilov”).

23. All commands (section, platoon and company leaders, etc.) arc to be elected. It is desirable that comrades should be elected who have undergone special preparatory training. If they have no such qualification, leaders must be trained. This training is to be supervised by the Central Command Bureau. Comrades who, according to the Central Command, fail to prove their fitness for the post, will not have their election ratified.

Source: Valentin Astrov, ed. An Illustrated History of the Russian Revolution (New York: International Publishers, 1928), Vol. II, pp. 307-310.

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