the strict and precise observance by all servicemen of the order and rules established by laws and military regulations.
Though all armies have military discipline, its nature varies in different armies depending on the social structure of the state. In the Soviet armed forces discipline rests not on fear of punishment and not on compulsion but on every serviceman’s consciousness of his military duty and his personal responsibility for the defense of his homeland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Discipline promotes efficient command of troops and helps in the surmounting of difficulties in combat situations. It is the most vital condition contributing to high combat capability and constant combat readiness of troops. The Soviet armed forces owe their victory in the Civil War (1918-20) and in the Great Patriotic War (1941-45) to the high level of conscientiousness and iron military discipline of Soviet soldiers.
The general regulations and specific rules concerning disciplinary practice are contained in the Disciplinary Regulations of the Armed Forces of the USSR, ratified by a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and having the force of law. Military discipline obligates every serviceman to strict observance of the laws and precise fulfillment of the demands of the military oath, military regulations, and orders and instructions of superiors; he must also courageously bear all the burdens and privations of military service, not spare his blood and his very life in the fulfillment of military duties, and strictly guard military and state secrets. He must be honest and truthful, and conscientiously study military affairs, as well as protect military and public property to the best of his ability; he is also obliged to show respect to his superiors and seniors and to observe strictly the rules of military courtesy and saluting. He must comport himself with dignity and honor when off duty, restrain himself and prevent others from violating the public order, and to the best of his ability protect the honor and dignity of citizens.
In the interests of the defense of the homeland all commanders (superiors), while showing constant solicitude for their subordinates and for their education, must vigorously and firmly demand that discipline and order be observed. They must not let any misdemeanor by their subordinates go unpunished, they must severely punish soldiers neglectful of their duties, and they must encourage the worthy ones for displaying reasonable initiative, zeal, bravery, and distinction in service. Disciplinary practice rests on the correct combination of persuasion and compulsion with respect to servicemen who are neglectful in the fulfillment of their military duty. The political education of servicemen carried out by commanders (superiors), political organs, and party and Komsomol organizations is decisive in maintaining a high level of military discipline in the armed forces.
I. N. MINENKO