a type of military party detachment in party cells at industrial plants as well as in raion, city, district, and provincial party committees. In accordance with a decree issued by the Central Committee of the RCP(B) on Apr. 17, 1919, the special-assignments units were set up to perform such tasks as aiding bodies of Soviet power in the struggle against counterrevolution and guarding especially important facilities.
The leadership of the units consisted of an organizer responsible to the Central Committee of the RCP(B) as well as organizers at the local committee levels. Initially, the units were formed from among party members and candidates for party membership; later, leading Komsomol members were also admitted. The units first appeared in Petrograd and Moscow and were later organized in the central provinces of the RSFSR. By September 1919, units had been formed in 33 provinces. The special-assignments units of the Southern, Western, and Southwestern fronts fought in frontline operations.
In November 1919, the Central Committee adopted a decision to incorporate the special-assignments units into the universal military training system. The units, however, would maintain their organizational independence and would continue to be available to local party organizations. On Mar. 24, 1921, in a decree based on a decision of the Tenth Congress of the RCP(B), the Central Committee designated the special-assignments units a part of the militia units of the Red Army. The members of the special units were divided into regular-army and militia, or replaceable, personnel.
In September 1921 the national command staff and headquarters of the special-assignments units were set up. A. K. Aleksandrov was named commander of the units, and V. A. Kangelari, chief of staff. The Council of Special-assignments Units was established under the control of the Central Committee to provide the units with political leadership. The council’s membership included V. V. Kuibyshev, secretary of the Central Committee, and I. S. Unshlikht, deputy chairman of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission. The commissar of the staff of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army and the commander of the special-assignments units were the other members of the council. Command staffs and headquarters were also organized at provincial and district levels, and councils of special-assignments units were established in the provincial and district party committees.
The regular-army personnel of the special-assignments units numbered 39,673 in December 1921, and the replaceable personnel, 323,372. Special-assignments personnel comprised infantry, cavalry, artillery, and armored units.
As a result of improvements in the country’s domestic and foreign affairs and an increase in the strength of the Red Army, the special-assignments units were deactivated in 1924 and 1925 by a decision of the Central Committee of the RCP(B).