Military Commissariat

Military Commissariat

 

a body of local military administration in the USSR in charge of troop mobilization and of registration and draft work. There are military commissariats in the Union republics that are not divided into oblasts; they are also in autonomous republics, krais, oblasts, national okrugs, cities, and raions. They are military institutions of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR and simultaneously are entitled to fulfill the functions of departments of corresponding councils of ministers of Union and autonomous republics and of executive committees of krai, oblast, city, and raion Soviets of working people’s deputies. The main tasks of military commissariats are preparing and carrying out troop mobilization, compiling and keeping records of human and national-economic resources, preparing young people for military service, organizing the summoning of citizens into active military service and reserve training periods (assemblies), and implementing other defense measures. The work of the military commissariats is directed by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the USSR and the commanders of the military districts in the area where the commissariat is located.

Military commissariats were established by the decree of the Sovnarkom (Council of People’s Commissars) of Apr. 8, 1918. Originally, after the abolition of the old bodies of local military administration on Jan. 25, 1918, registration of reservists and mobilization were carried out by military departments of the local Soviets. The military commissariats that were set up were composed of two commissars on military affairs, one of whom was appointed military commissar (of the volost’ [small rural district], district, province, or okrug), and the other, military leader. The creation of the military commissariats along with universal military training of the working masses was the necessary condition for trans-forming the Red Army from a volunteer army into a regular mass army recruited on the basis of compulsory military ser-vice of the working people. The military commissariats carried out a major task in manning and forming the armed forces.

The Party placed experienced Party officials at the heads of the important military commissariats, M. V. Frunze serving in Ivanovo-Voznesensk and then Yaroslavl Province, Em. laroslavskii in Moscow, N. A. Anisimov in the Northern Caucasus Okrug, S. A. Anuchin in the Urals, K. A. Avksent’evskii in Volgoda Province, and P. A. Pavlov in Kiev Province. The first military commissars also included I. S. Konev, K. A. Meretskov, and F. I. Tolbukhin. Evaluating the work of the military commissariats, V. I. Lenin said in June 1920: “We have a huge military machine. Without military commissariats we would not have a Red Army” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 41, p. 148). The military commissariat played a major role in mobilizing human and material resources and raising armies in the Great Patriotic War (1941-45).

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 41, p. 148.
Dekrety Sovetskoi vlasti, vol. 2. Moscow, 1959. Pages 63-70, 287-88.
Kliatskin, S. M. Na zashchite Oktiabria. Moscow, 1965.
Molodtsygin, M. “Sozdanie mestnykh organov voennogo upravleniia.” Voenno-istoricheskii zhurnal, 1968, no. 5.

IA. T. OSIPOV and V. D. POLIKARPOV

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