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(məlĭsh`ə), military organization composed of citizens enrolled and trained for service in times of national emergency. Its ranks may be filled either by enlistment or conscription. An early prototype was the national militia developed by Philip of Macedon. However, the modern concept of the militia as a defensive organization against invaders grew out of the Anglo-Saxon fyrd. The militiaman, in times of crisis, left his civilian duties and became a soldier until the emergency was over, when he returned to his civilian status. Militias persisted through the Middle Ages, especially in England, Italy, and Germany; after the rise of large standing armies they declined.

In America, however, militias survived. The Military Company of Massachusetts was the first militia organization in America and was followed by similar groups in the other colonies. Local control and voluntary service prevailed. Although the militia was valuable throughout the American Revolution, it proved undependable in the War of 1812. Therefore, no militia forces were used in the Mexican War. However, during the Civil War, when manpower needs were greater, both sides resorted to the use of militia. After World War I, state military units were established under the term National GuardNational Guard,
U.S. militia. The militia is authorized by the Constitution of the United States, which also defines the militia's functions and the federal and state role.
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. In other countries the militia is known generally as the special reserve or the territorial reserve.

In 1995 the bombing of Oklahoma City's federal building focused national attention on self-appointed "militias" or, as they often call themselves, "Patriots." These armed, typically rural and predominantly male organizations, many of which are in Western states, have a membership largely consisting of a mix of survivalists, white supremacists, gun-controlgun control,
government limitation of the purchase and ownership of firearms. The availability of guns is controlled by nations and localities throughout the world. In the United States the "right of the people to keep and bear arms" is guaranteed by the Constitution, but has
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 opponents, "Christian Identity" adherents, and others adamantly opposed to most involvement of the federal government in the daily lives of U.S. citizens. Many in the militia movement were particularly angered by the FBI siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho (1992), the destruction of the Branch Davidians at Waco, Tex. (1993), and the passage of the Brady Bill handgun control legislation (1993); these events spurred the further growth of the American militia movement in the 1990s.


See K. S. Stern, A Force upon the Plain: The American Militia Movement and the Politics of Hate (1996); D. Levitas, The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right (2002).



in the USSR, an administrative and executive body of the state called upon to ensure the maintenance of public order and the protection of socialist property and the rights and legal interests of citizens, enterprises, organizations, and institutions from criminal encroachment and other antisocial activity.

The militia was established on Oct. 28 (Nov. 10), 1917 (SU RSFSR, 1917, no. 1, art. 15). It was under the supervision of local Soviets until 1931 and then came under the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (from 1946, the Ministry of Internal Affairs). The principles of organization and activity of the militia are defined by the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of June 8, 1973, “On Basic Responsibilities and Rights of the Soviet Militia in Preserving Public Order and Combating Crime” (Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, 1973, no. 24, p. 309).

The militia is an integral part of the system of the ministries of internal affairs of the USSR and Union and autonomous republics. The minister of internal affairs of the USSR directs all the services of the militia. The ministers of internal affairs of Union and autonomous republics and the heads of administrations and sections of internal affairs under the executive committees of local Soviets are simultaneously the respective heads of republic, krai, oblast, okrug, city, and raion militias. Organs of internal affairs, including the militia, are under the authority of corresponding Soviets of working people’s deputies and their executive committees, as well as higher organs of internal affairs. Subdivisions of transport militia are established for rail, water, and air transport.

The militia is guided in its activity by principles of socialist legality, the laws of the USSR and Union and autonomous republics, and decrees and orders of higher and local executive and management organs of state authority. The militia interacts closely with other state organs and with the administrations of enterprises and institutions. It develops links universally with the working masses and enjoys the assistance and support of working people’s collectives, voluntary public order squads, and other independent public organizations.

The prevention and suppression of crime and comprehensive assistance to eliminate the causes of crime and other legal violations are the most important tasks of the militia. It ensures the maintenance of law and order in the streets and squares, on highways, and in public places. It brings to light the causes and conditions that contribute to the commission of legal offenses and undertakes measures to eliminate and suppress them. The militia is responsible for carrying out on-the-spot searches and other legal actions in order to uncover crimes and criminals; it is also charged with conducting immediate investigative actions for establishing and strengthening criminal evidence. Within limits defined by law, it conducts inquiries into criminal cases. Moreover, the militia organs carry out search and investigative functions upon instruction of the investigating magistrate. They carry out rulings and orders concerning the detention of individuals who do not respond to the summons of judicial and investigative organs and concerning incarceration under custody. They guard and convoy arrestees and detainees. They conduct searches for individuals who have escaped from investigations, evaded execution of court sentences, or are missing.

The militia is charged with implementing sentences of exile and deportation and conventional deprivation of freedom. It is further responsible for supervising the execution of government laws, decrees, and regulations and the decisions of local organs of state authority regulating public order. Together with other state organs and public organizations, the militia combats drunkenness and the shirking of socially useful labor; it concerns itself with problems of child neglect and juvenile offenses.

Important spheres of activity of the militia include implementation of the passport system (issuance and registration of pass-ports, along with verification of observance of passport regulations) and supervision of the observance of rules on the acquisition, maintenance, and transport of rifle firearms and powerful poisonous substances.

The militia ensures the safety of traffic movement in cities and populated areas and on highways. It checks on the mechanical condition of means of transportation and the upkeep of streets, highways, and street installations. It registers automotive vehicles.

During natural disasters the organs of the militia participate in the rescue of individuals and undertake measures to protect the state, public, and personal property of citizens.

In order to execute the duties with which it is charged, the militia has the right to verify the passports or other documents of citizens certifying their identity, to enter living and work premises for the suppression of crime and in pursuit of individuals suspected of committing a crime, to impose fines and to apply other measures of administrative influence and to detain citizens for lawful reasons and in a lawful manner, and to arrest individuals who systematically violate public order. It also has the right to prohibit the use of mechanically unsafe means of transportation and in cases provided for by law to prohibit the use of transport vehicles and to revoke drivers’ licenses. In extreme cases, as an exceptional measure, militiamen are given the right to use firearms (principles and procedures for their use are defined by the Council of Ministers of the USSR).

The service component of the militia is staffed, as a rule, with people recommended by labor collectives. Citizens of the USSR who in terms of their political and practical qualities, preparation, and state of health are able to preserve public order and combat crime are accepted for service in the militia. Housing block inspectors of the militia are appointed by the executive committees of city and raion Soviets. The procedures and conditions of service for rank-and-file administrative personnel of the militia are established by the Statute on Service in the Organs of Internal Affairs and the Disciplinary Regulations of the Organs of Internal Affairs. Militiamen receive special ranks and have a standard uniform, which is approved by the Council of Ministers of the USSR. They are provided with weapons to carry out their duties. In certain other socialist countries (Bulgaria, for example) there also exist militia-type organs for the preservation of public order.


References in periodicals archive ?
It pointed to armed militia camping in Abu Minaikher area, north of Mellit, saying it attacks innocent civilians.
Defence Secretary John Hutton told the committees that it was "totally unacceptable" for a foreign power to be supporting armed militias operating outside the political process.
A source confirmed to the Cyprus Mail last night that the two men were taken by members of an armed militia in Tripoli in the early hours of Thursday morning, and released by the afternoon.
He clarified, "The Sadr movement should announce that it has no armed militia, and should clearly say: If you arrest any Sadr movement's personnel who carries a weapon illegally, then detain him, and that's what we did," in Badr Organization.
By Ngor Arol Garang March 14, 2011 (ABYEI) - The Sudan People's Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC), which became the official opposition political party in South Sudan following elections in April last year, denied on Monday that it is linked to any armed militia groups in the region.
Summary: TEHRAN (FNA)- The latest reports from Bahrain revealed that the Al-Khalifa regime has hired armed militia to create fear and horror among the Bahraini people and suppress the revolutionary figures.
The leadership of preexisting far-right groups, such as the Posse Comitatus, the Aryan Nations, and the Christian Patriots are attempting to steer the armed militia movement toward these white-supremacist and racist ideologies.
The observers were denied entry to the Russia-controlled peninsula on Thursday at Armyansk by pro-Russian armed militia, and at several additional checkpoints on Friday.
Roed-Larsen, the Special UN envoy for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559, reported to the UN Security Council that Hizbullah remains the only armed militia in Lebanon in violation of the resolution, which called for disarming all militias in Lebanon including Hizbullah.
September 17, 2011 (JUBA) -- The main opposition party in South Sudan has suffered a new blow with the resignation of three leading members who accused its chairman of dictatorial management of the party and having a armed militia.
The BBC quoted witnesses as saying the Benghazi protest prompted a confrontation between Libyan government security forces and the Ansar al-Sharia brigade, an armed militia.
British Challenger tanks and fighter jets wiped out 14 ageing Iraqi tanks, three large infantry positions and pick-up trucks filled with armed militia in plain clothes.