On March 1st 1917, just prior to the abdication of Nicholas II, the Petrograd Soviet issued its well-known Order Number One:
“To the garrison of the Petrograd okrug [district], to all the soldiers of the guard, army, artillery, and navy, for immediate and strict execution, and to the workers of Petrograd for their information.
The Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies has resolved:
1. In all companies, battalions, regiments, parks, batteries, squadrons, in the special services of the various military administrations, and on the vessels of the navy, committees of elected representatives from the lower ranks of the above-mentioned military units shall be chosen immediately.
2. In all those military units that have not yet chosen their representatives to the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, one representative from each company shall be selected, to report with written credentials at the building of the State Duma by ten o’clock in the morning on the third of this March…
4. The orders of the military commission of the State Duma shall be executed only in such cases as they do not conflict with the orders and resolutions of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.
5. All kinds of arms, such as rifles, machine guns, armoured automobiles and others, must be kept at the disposal and under the control of the company and battalion committees and must in no case be turned over to officers, even at their demand.
6. In the ranks and during their performance of the duties of the service, soldiers must observe the strictest military discipline… [however] standing at attention and compulsory saluting, when not on duty, are abolished.
7. Also, the addressing of the officers with the titles “Your Excellency,” “Your Honour,” and the like, is abolished, and these titles are replaced by the address of “Mister General,” “Mister Colonel,” and so forth…
The present order is to be read to all companies, battalions, regiments, ships’ crews, batteries, and other combatant and noncombatant commands.
By order – the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.”