International Organization for Aid to Revolutionaries IOAR

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

International Organization for Aid to Revolutionaries (IOAR)


known in capitalist countries as the International Red Aid and founded in late 1922 by the Fourth Comintern Congress at the urging of the Society of Old Bolsheviks. The IOAR was charged with defending workers against the reactionary White terror and aiding its victims. It gave material, legal, and moral support to political prisoners and exiles and their families and aided the families of fallen revolutionaries, regardless of party affiliation. The IOAR served as a means of uniting the workers’ and popular fronts and of educating the masses in internationalism. By 1932 the organization included 70 national sections, with some 14 million members, of whom 9.7 million belonged to the organization in the USSR. The Soviet organization made the largest contribution to the fund to aid victims of terror.

From 1923 to 1939 the IOAR organized international protest campaigns against terror in the Balkans, Poland, China, the Baltic states, and other countries, as well as a campaign in defense of Sacco and Vanzetti. The IOAR joined other international organizations in worldwide campaigns to free G. Dimitrov, E. Thaelmann, A. Gramsci, C. Ossietzky, and other antifascists and to aid persecuted participants in the armed struggle in Austria (February 1934), in the October battles in Spain (1934), and in the national-revolutionary war of the Spanish people (1936-39).

J. Marchlewski, P. N. Lepeshinskii, V. Mickevicius-Kapsukas, C. Zetkin, E. D. Stasova, Sen Katayama, W. Pieck, and many other prominent figures in the communist movement were active in the IOAR.

In late 1937 the IOAR moved its headquarters from Moscow to Paris, where it remained until September 1939. The organization’s worldwide activity ceased at the outbreak of World War II (1939-45). The Soviet section existed until 1947, and national Red Aid organizations are still active in France and a number of Latin American countries.

The organization was headed by its executive committee (called the central bureau before March 1923 and the central committee between March 1923 and July 1924), which elected a presidium and a secretariat. The executive committee was elected at the IOAR’s first and second conferences in 1924 and 1927 and at its congress in November 1932, all of which were held in Moscow. The executive committee published the journal IOAR (Russian, MOPR ) in Russian between 1923 and 1926 and in German, English, and French from 1926 to 1938 (the title was changed to Unity in 1936). The IOAR and its sections issued many publications. In 1932, for example, it published more than 90 magazines, newspapers, and bulletins.


Zetkin, C. Desiatiletie MOPR. Moscow, 1932.
Stasova, E. D. 10 let MOPR. Moscow, 1933.
Avrus, A. I. Proletarskii internatsionalizm v deistvii. Saratov, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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