Decree forming the Red Army (1918)

On January 15th 1918, the Council of People’s Commissars passed the following decree, forming the Red Army:

“The Council of People’s Commissars resolves to organise a new army called the Workers and Peasants Red Army on the following grounds.

The Workers and Peasants Red Army is being formed from the most class-conscious and organised elements of the working people and classes.

Access to its ranks is open to all citizens of the Russian Republic no younger than 18 years. To join the ranks of the Red Army, recommendations are needed from military committees or public democratic organisations standing on the platform of Soviet power, party and professional organisations, or at least two members of these organisations…

The soldiers of the Workers and Peasants Army are on full state allowance and, in addition, receive 50 rubles a month…

The supreme governing body of the Workers and Peasants Army is the Council of People’s Commissars. Direct command and control of the army is concentrated in the commissariat for military affairs in a special All-Russian collegium created under it.”

Signed by the Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars (Lenin), Supreme Commander-in-Chief Krylenko . People’s Commissars for Military and Naval Affairs, Dybenko and Podvoisky and the People’s Commissars.