Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic

Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic

 

(Russian acronyms, Revvoensovet Respubliki and RVSR; from Aug. 28, 1923, the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR), a collective organ of higher military authority from 1918 to 1934.

The council was created on Sept. 6, 1918, by a resolution of Sept. 2, 1918, of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee on turning the Soviet republic into an armed camp. By a statute of Sept. 30, 1918, of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic took over the functions of the Supreme Military Council, which had been abolished, and the rights of the collegium of the People’s Commissariat for Military Affairs. The council also assumed the rights of the collegium of the People’s Commissariat for Naval Affairs from Dec. 23, 1918, until June 1919, when the People’s Commissariat for Naval Affairs was reestablished. The chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic was the people’s commissar for military and naval affairs, whose appointment was confirmed by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (from 1922, the Central Executive Committee of the USSR). The members of the council were selected by the Central Committee of the RCP(B) and confirmed by the Council of People’s Commissars.

According to directives of the Central Committee of the RCP(B) and of the Soviet government, the functions of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic included oversight of the building of the Soviet armed forces, development of plans for the defense of the Soviet republic and their submission for consideration to the Central Committee and the Soviet government, and direction of the armed forces and their supply, of the local bodies of military administration, and of the formation, recruitment, and instruction of Red Army units.

The council directed and administered the Red Army through subordinate staffs and directorates, such as the Directorate of Affairs of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, the Field Staff of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, the All-Russian Main Staff, the All-Russian Bureau of Military Commissars (later, the Political Department and the Political Directorate of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic), the Supreme Military Inspectorate, the Central Directorate of Supply, the Naval Department, the Military Revolutionary Tribunal, and the Military Legislative Council. The commander in chief of the republic’s armed forces had the rights of a member of the council and enjoyed full independence in deciding all operational and strategic questions, but his orders had to be signed by one member of the council.

The chairmen of the council were L. D. Trotsky (September 1918-January 1925), M. V. Frunze (January-October 1925), and K. E. Voroshilov (November 1925-June 1934). Its vice-chairmen were E. M. Sklianskii (1918–24), M. V. Frunze (1924–25), I. S. Unshlikht (1925–30), M. M. Lashevich (1925–27), S. S. Kamenev (1927–34), Ia. B. Gamarnik (1930–34), I. P. Uborevich (1930–31), and M. N. Tukhachevskii (1931–34). The commanders in chief were I. I. Vatsetis (September 1918-July 1919) and S. S. Kamenev (July 1919-April 1924).

The number of council members fluctuated between two and 13, not including the chairman, the vice-chairmen, and the commander in chief. Throughout its history, 52 persons were members of the council, including V. A. Antonov-Ovseenko, A. S. Bubnov, S. M. Budennyi, S. I. Gusev, K. Kh. Danishevskii, A. I. Egorov, K. S. Eremeev, P. A. Kobozev, D. I. Kurskii, A. F. Miasnikov, K. A. Mekhonoshin, V. I. Nevskii, G. K. Ordzhonikidze, N. I. Podvoiskii, J. V. Stalin, R. P. Eideman, K. K. Iurenev, and I. E. Iakir. The Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR was abolished on June 20, 1934.

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