The Regular Army and Militia



Long before the communists seized power in Russia in 1917 they had made their views on the regular army well known. They thought of regular armies as strongholds of reaction and as instruments of oppression in the hands of the class ruling in a state.


Soviet Republic Soviet State Militia System Party Platform Regular Unit 
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  1. 1.
    F. Engel’s (Engels), Izbrannye voennye proizvedeniia (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1957), p. xiv.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    V. I. Lenin o vaine, armii i voennoi nauke (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1957), I, p. 202.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ibid., II, p. 45.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kommunistischeskaia partiia Sovetskogo Soiuza v resoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s’ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1954: 7th ed.), Part I, p. 41.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Mikhail Vasil’evich Frunze, Sobranie sochinenii (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, 1929), I, p. 47.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Deviatyi s’ezd RKP (b), Mart-april’ 1920 goda: protokoly (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1960), pp. 428-430.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    KPSS o Vooruzhennykh Silakh Sovetskogo Soiuza: Sbornik Dokumentov, 1917–1958 (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdtatel’stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1958), p. 49.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Deviatyi s’ezd RKP (b) …, op. cit., p. 429.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sergei Ivanovich Gusev, Grazhdanskaia voina i Krasnaia armiia (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1958), pp. 125-126.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Frunze, Izbrannye proizvedeniia (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1957), II, p. 20.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    KPSS o Vooruzhennykh Silakh …, op. cit., p. 192.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Frunze, Izbrannye proizvedeniia, op. cit., II, pp. 61-92.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Vseobuch=vseobshchee obuchenie, or universal education.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Frunze, Sobranie sochinenii, op. cit., II, p. 8.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Frunze, Izbrannye proizvedeniia, op. cit., II, pp. 210-211.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ibid., pp. 220-237.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    This did not prevent Tukhachevskii from calling for an international general staff of the revolution and for support to neighboring proletarians in revolt against their “bourgeoisie.” See Milkhail Nikolaevich Tukhachevskii, Voina klassov: Stat’i 1919–1920 gg. (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, 1921), passim., especially pp. 51, 137, and 140.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    For the decision Frunze made when in power, see Il’ia Borisovich Berkhin, Voennaia reforma v SSSR (1924–1925 gg.) (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1958).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Frunze, Sobranie sochinenii, op. cit., III, p. 277.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Among those who have been fascinated is George F. Kennan. In the Reith Lectures, he suggested the militia idea as a suitable plan for the defense of Central Europe, presumably against the regular Soviet Army and other forces of the Warsaw Pact. See his Russia, the Atom and the West (New York: Harper, 1958), pp. 63 ff. Kennan suggested the creation of forces of “a territorial-militia type… rather than regular military units.” He did not suppose that militia would’ be able to keep the regular divisions from the East from overruning Central Europe, but he did think it would enable the occupied Europeans to say to the Soviet occupiers, “Your stay among us will not be a happy one.” The militia idea has since cropped up in Cuba, where Castro has built a large militia force, and in China, where Mao once suggested that everyone in China join the militia. See my “Militia in the Commune Era,” Revue Militaire Générale (March, 1962), pp. 311-324, and Ralph A. Powell, “Everyone a Soldier: The Communist China Militia,” Foreign Affairs, XXXIX (October, 1960), pp. 100-111. The former premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita S. Khrushchev, has also brought up the militia concept. In a speech on January 14, 1960 (as reported in Pravda, January 15, 1960), he talked of his plan for general and complete disarmament. He said that if the pian were not accepted by the West within a period of four years, the Soviet armed forced would switch over to the territorial (militia) principle of organization. This, he said, would be a repetition of what was done by Lenin in the early days of the Soviet Republic, “but under different conditions and on a slightly different level.” The four year period mentioned by Khrushchev has come and gone (as has, indeed, Khrushchev himself) and the Soviet Army has not transformed itself into a militia type army — nor is it likely to do so.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    L. Trotskii (Trotsky), Kak vooruzhalas’ revoliutsiia: Na voennoi rabote (Moscow: Vyshii voennyi redaktsionnyi sovet, 1925), I, pp. 185–195.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    See N. Galay, “The Problem of Quantity and Quality in the Soviet Armed Forces,” Bulletin of the Institute for the Study of the USSR, October, 1956, pp. 3–14, and my “Die künftige Sowjetarmee: Elite oder Miliz?” Wehrkunde, March, 1960, pp. 26-29.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MarylandUSA

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