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any of the military formations of the Red Army temporarily used in the national economy during the years 1920–22. The use of military units on the economic front was proposed by the Revolutionary Military Council of the Third Army and was supported by V. I. Lenin (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 51, p. 115).
On Jan. 15, 1920, the Council of Workers’ and Peasants’ Defense converted the Third Army into the First (Urals) Revolutionary Labor Army. With the agreement of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR and the All-Ukrainian Revolutionary Committee, the statute On the Council of the Ukrainian Labor Army was adopted on January 21 of that year; the army was formed from troops of the Southwestern Front. On January 23, the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR adopted the statute On the Council of the Caucasian Labor Army (also the Labor Army of Southeastern Russia), which was formed from units of the Eighth Army of the Caucasian Front.
By a decree of the Council of Workers’ and Peasants’ Defense dated Jan. 23, 1920, the Reserve Army of the Republic was directed to restore railroad communication between Moscow and Ekaterinburg. By a decree of the council dated February 27, the Second Army of the Caucasian Front was converted to the Special Second Railroad Labor Army (also the Railroad Labor Army of the Caucasian Front). On February 10, the council set aside the Seventh Army for economic tasks, the army being renamed the Petrograd Labor Army. By a decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR dated April 21, the Second Revolutionary Labor Army was formed from units of the Fourth Army of the Turkestan Front. In December 1920 the Donets Labor Army took up its first tasks, and in January 1921 the Siberian Labor Army was formed.
With respect to military and administrative matters, the labor armies were subordinate to the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic; economic and labor matters came under the jurisdiction of the Council of Labor and Defense. The activities of the Reserve Army of the Republic and the Railroad Labor Army were directed by the revolutionary military councils of these armies. The other labor armies were directed by councils consisting of army command representatives and representatives from the Council of Workers’ and Peasants’ Defense (in April 1920 renamed the Council of Labor and Defense), from the Supreme Council of the National Economy, and from various people’s commissariats and departments.
Labor armies rebuilt railroads, restored the coal and petroleum-extracting industries, and procured fuel and foodstuffs. They were also active in educational and cultural affairs on the local level. During the first half of 1920 alone, 2.5 million soldiers were working in the economy. With the end of the Civil War of 1918–20, the labor armies and the other military units in the economy were placed under the jurisdiction of the People’s Commissariat of Labor by a decree of the Council of Labor and Defense dated Mar. 30,1921, and entitled On Labor Units. On Dec. 30, 1921, the Council of Labor and Defense ordered the dissolution of the labor armies.
REFERENCESLenin, V. I. “Doklad o rabote VTsIK i Sovnarkoma na pervoi sessii VTsIK VII sozyva 2 fevralia 1920 g.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 40.
Lenin, V. I. “Nakaz ot STO (Soveta truda i oborony) mestnym sovetskim uchrezhdeniiam: Proekt.” Ibid., vol. 43.
“Krasnaia armiia na khoziaistvennom fronte.” In Piat’ let vlasti Sovetov. Moscow, 1922.
Iz istorii grazhdanskoi voiny v SSSR, vol. 3. Moscow, 1961.
V. P. BUTT