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the collective organ for the direction of troops in branches of the armed services of the USSR, in military districts or fleets, and in groups of troops. The chairman of a military council is the commander of the corresponding armed service, military district, or group.
Military councils were formed during the Civil War and called the revolutionary military councils at that time. The first such council was established by the June 13, 1918, decree of Sovnarkom (Council of People’s Commissars) to direct all detachments and operations against the mutiny of the Czechoslovak Corps. On the same front, which was soon called the Eastern Front, armies began to be formed, headed by revolutionary military councils. On September 2 the All-Russian Central Executive Committee set up the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, which extended the system of revolutionary military councils to all fronts and armies. These councils were composed of at least three members (the commander and two military-political workers). Meeting in May 1919, the Plenum of the Central Committee of the Party proposed that revolutionary military councils of the fronts and armies add representatives of local Party organizations to their membership. Members of the revolutionary military councils were confirmed by the Orgburo of the Central Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik). Directing the formation of units of various sizes, the revolutionary military councils played an important role in establishing the regular Red Army and directing troops on the fronts.
On Aug. 28, 1923, the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic was reorganized as the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR, which was eliminated on June 20, 1934. In November 1934, the Military Council was founded as a consultative body with 80 members under the People’s Commissariat of Defense. At the same time, military councils in military districts, armies, fleets, and flotillas were eliminated; however, they were restored in May 1937. In March 1938 the Main Military Council of the Red Army was established and in April, the Main Military Council of the Navy. At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War military councils were formed on the fronts. These councils were given all the functions of state power in localities declared to be in a state of war. Military councils were also established in the armed services and combat arms. The member of the military council from the ranks of political workers was replaced by the post of deputy commander for political affairs. In January 1947 military councils of the armed services and combat arms, groups of troops, and military districts and fleets were re-formed as consultative bodies under their respective commanders. Since June 1950 the councils have been collegial bodies. Since April 1958, members of military councils have included the commander (chairman), a political worker who is chief of political administration, the secretary of the central committee of the Communist Party of the republic or the secretary of the oblast or krai committee of the Party, the first deputy commander, and the chief of staff.
REFERENCESKliatskin, S. M. Na zashchite Oktiabria. [Moscow, 1965.]
Petrov, Iu. P. Stroitel’stvo politorganov, partiinykh i komsomol’skikh organizatsii armii i flota (1918-1968). Moscow, 1968.
V. D. POLIKARPOV