Council of Workers and Peasants Defense

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Council of Workers’ and Peasants’ Defense


(also Council of Defense), the extraordinary supreme organ of the Soviet government from 1918 to 1920, during the Civil War and military intervention of 1918–20.

The Council of Workers’ and Peasants’ Defense was the military and economic center of the Soviet Republic. It was established by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee on Nov. 30, 1918, in implementation of the resolution passed by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee on Sept. 2, 1918, which had declared the Soviet Republic a military camp. It possessed full authority to mobilize men and matériel for the defense of the Soviet state.

V. I. Lenin, as chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, was appointed chairman of the Council of Defense. Other members included representatives of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, and the People’s Commissariat for Railroads; the deputy commissar for food; and the chairman of the Extraordinary Commission for Supplying the Red Army. The council’s secretary was L. A. Fotieva.

The decrees of the Council of Defense were binding on all citizens and on all central and local agencies and institutions. The council monitored the activities of the revolutionary military councils and other military organs. In April 1920 the Council of Defense was reorganized, and its name changed to the Council of Labor and Defense.


“Ob obrazovanii Soveta Rabochei i Krest’ianskoi oborony.” In Sobranie uzakonenii i rasporiazhenii Rabochego i Krest’ianskogo pravitel’stva, Dec. 22,1918, no. 91–92, art. 924.
Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed. (See Spravochnyi torn, part 1, p. 603.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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