Genesis of the Unified Military Doctrine



By the end of 1920, the Civil War in Russia was virtually ended. The military victory which the Bolsheviks had gained seemed to carry with it the promise of a breathing spell, of a comparatively untroubled period for the consolidation of power. When the Tenth Congress of the Russian Communist Party met in March, 1921, however, the promise had not been redeemed.


Military Training Soviet Republic Class Consciousness General Staff Militia System 
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  1. 1.
    He told the Congress, for example, “You cannot fool us with words such as ‘freedom of criticism.’… We have spent a lot of time in discussion, and I must say not that it is a great deal better to ‘discuss with rifles’ than with the theses which are offered by the opposition. We need no opposition now, comrades, this is not the time for it! Either be on this side or on that one with a rifle — but not with the opposition. … (T)he time has come to put an end to opposition… We have had enough of opposition!” Vladdmir Il’ich Lenin, Sochineniia (2d ed.: Moscow: Partinnoe izdatel’stvo TsK VKR (b), 1930), XXVI, pp. 227-228. The Tenth Congress, in a resolution “O Edinstve Partii,” defined factionalism as “The appearance of groups with special platforms and with the aspiration to isolate themselves somewhat and to create their own group discipline.” Kommunisticheskaia partiia Sovetskogo Soiuza v resoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s’ezdov, konferentsii i pienumov TsK (7th ed.: Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvoe politicheskoi literatury, 1954), Part I., p. 528.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Point Seven is reprinted in KPSS v resoliutsiiakh …, op. cit., Part I, pp. 529-530. It authorizes strict party measures, including expulsion from the party, against members of the opposition and of fractions. A footnote in explanation, at p. 530, states that “Point Seven of the resolution was not published, in accordance with the decision of the congress, and was first revealed in I. V. Stalin’s report to the Thirteenth Party Conference.”Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Gusev’s qualification to expound theses on military subjects included service on the fronts of the Civil War as a member of various Revolutionary Military Councils, including a period in close quarters with Frunze on the Eastern and Southern Fronts. Gusev distinguished himself in military actions by three times winning the Order of the Red Banner. (Frunze won it only twice.) He is buried in the wall of the Kremlin on Red Square behind the Lenin mausoleum. See Sergei Ivanovich Gusev (Iakov Davidovich Drabkin), Grazhdanskaia voina i Krasnaia armiia (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1958), pp. 216-221 and passim. Gusev compiled a record as a stalwart Stalinist and had an almost unbroken record of opposition to Trotsky. Gusev died on June 10, 1933.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ibid., p. 120. The theses are at pp. 120-127.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ibid., p. 121.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ibid., p. 122.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Quoted in Leon Wolff, In Flanders Fields: The 1917 Campaign (New York: Viking, 1958), p. ix.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gusev, op. cit., p. 124.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    The Bolsheviks have frequently used the French Revolution as a source of comparisons and allusions. Thus, a “Bonapartist attempt” could be any attempt by a military figure to capture the revolution for personal advancement or for personal power. See I. Deutscher, Stalin: A Political Biography (New York and London: Oxford University Press, 1949), p. 173 and p. 297.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    It may be ironic, or simply the facts of life in revolutions or out, that these same problems trouble the Soviet leaders today, over a half century after the seizure of power in November, 1917.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    “Partisanism” is an attempt at translation of the really untranslatable Russian word, “partizanstvo.” The translation cannot reproduce the flavor of the word as it was used by the Bolsheviks in 1921. It signified the tendency to irregular organization and to informal discipline which is usually associated with partisan actions. It also signified the anti-center tendencies of such groups. The word was not entirely pejorative, however, because some of the great feats of the Civil War were identified with partisans. See Gusev, op. cit., pp. 85-89.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ibid., p. 85. Gusev had said (at p. 84) that the operations of regular armies in the Civil War had been accompanied by “numerous two-sided partisan actions.” He was taken to task for this remark by the editors of the 1958 collection of his essays. The editors said (at p. 17): “(T)he concept of partisan warfare as a social phenomenon is identified with the waging of the so-called small war and the author, therefore, speaks of two-sided partisan activities. It is known that there were no two-sided partisan activities during the period of the Civil War in the USSR. Partisan activities on a large scale were conducted only by the workers and peasants against the white guard armies and against the interventionists. The white guards and, even more so, the interventionists could not conduct partisan warfare in the rear of the Soviet Army because the absolute majority of the population was hostile to them. The diversions and counterrevolutionary Putches as well as the kulak uprisings which were organized by the interventionists can not be considered as partisan activities.”Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    The militia system envisions the training of large numbers of civilians in military skills without taking them into the standing army. The socialist tradition (e. g., Engels, Jaurès, and Mehring) considers the standing army to be a “stronghold of reaction” and the militia to be a socialist method for the organizing of armed forces.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    The text of this resolution is in Deviatyi s’ezd RKP (B), mart — aprel’ 1920 goda: Protokoly (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo politicheskoi literatury, 1960), pp. 428-430.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    M. V. Frunze, Izbrannye proizvedeniia (Moscow: Voennoe izdatel’stvo, 1957), II, p. 3. The Frunze theses are at pp. 3-4.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    The quoted phrase was parenthesized in Frunze’s original.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    This phrase is, of course, not original with Frunze. It has been used many times. See, for example, Boris Shaposhnikov, Mozg armii (Moscow and Leningrad: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, 1927–1929).Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    L. Trotskii (Trotsky), Kak vooruzhalas’ revoliutsiia: Na voennoi rabote (Moscow: Vysshii voennyi redaktsionnyi sovet, 1925), III, Book II, p. 242.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    L. Trotskii (Trotsky), Kak vooruzhalas’ revoliutsiia: Na voennoi rabote (Moscow: Vysshii voennyi redaktsionnyi sovet, 1925), III, Book II, p. 242.vGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Frunze, Izbrannye proizvedeniia, op. cit., II, p. 92.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gusev, op. cit., p. 207.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MarylandUSA

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