Revolutionary Committees

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Revolutionary Committees


(Revkomy), temporary emergency bodies of Soviet power that operated primarily during the Civil War and Military Intervention of 1918–20. They were modeled on the revolutionary military committees that had been organized during the October Revolution of 1917. Most of the Revkomy were established in 1919.

Republic and krai Revkomy functioned as central bodies. They included the All-Ukraine Revkom, which operated from December 1919 to February 1920, the Revkom of the Byelorussian SSR (November 1918 to December 1920), the Azerbaijan Revkom (April 1920 to May 1921), the Armenian Revkom (November 1920 to May 1921), the Revkom of the Bashkir ASSR (March 1919 to July 1920), the Revkom for the Administration of the Kirghiz (Kazakh) Krai (July 1919 to October 1920), the Siberian Revkom (August 1919 to December 1925), the Revkom of Georgia (February 1921 to March 1922), and the Dagestan Revkom (April 1920 to December 1921). Revkomy were also established on the provincial, district, volost (small rural district), and village level. They exercised full civil and military power.

On Oct. 24, 1919, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee enacted a statute entitled On Revolutionary Committees, providing for the creation of Revkomy (1) in areas liberated from the enemy, (2) at the front, and (3) on the home front. The first type of Revkomy, composed of three to five persons, were created by the Revolutionary Military Council operating in a particular area held by the army; local governmental bodies participated in the organization of such revolutionary committees. The Revkomy were under the jurisdiction of the army’s Revolutionary Military Council and the central bodies of Soviet power. After arranging for elections to the soviets, they transferred their authority to the executive committees of the soviets.

The second type of Revkomy were organized in areas 25–50 km from the front line by the army’s Revolutionary Military Council, aided by the local provincial executive committee. When a particular Revkom was no longer necessary, the Revolutionary Military Council dissolved it, and power in the province or district passed to the executive committee.

The home-front provincial and district Revkomy were created by a decree of the Council of Workers’ and Peasants’ Defense. The provincial Revkomy were subordinate to the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, and the district Revkomy were supervised by the provincial Revkomy. When necessary, the provincial Revkomy created revolutionary committees in settlements and villages and at railroad junctions. The establishment of revolutionary committees on the home front did not mean that the executive committees of the soviets were abolished. The Revkomy dealt solely with matters relating to defense and the maintenance of revolutionary order. The Revkomy on the home front consisted of three to five members and included a chairman, a member of the executive committee of the soviet, and the local war commissar.

On Jan. 2, 1920, the Council of Workers’ and Peasants’ Defense resolved to abolish the provincial and district Revkomy. The Revkomy were to be retained only if exceptional circumstances demanded it. In 1920, Revkomy were functioning in Arkhangel’sk Province (February-April), the Volga German Region (February), Middle Asia, the Ukraine, the Kuban’, Byelorussia, Dagestan, and Azerbaijan. In Armenia and Georgia, where Soviet power triumphed decisively only in late 1920 and early 1921, Revkomy were established as late as 1921. The Siberian Revkom was still functioning in 1925.


Revoliutsionnye komitety BSSR (noiabr’ 1918-iiun’ 1920): Sb. dokumentov i materialov. Minsk, 1961.
Sibirskii revoliutsionnyi komitet (Sibrevkom), Avgust 1919-dekabr’ 1925: Sb. dokumentov i materialov. Novosibirsk, 1959.
Revoliutsionnye komitety Gruzii v bor’be za ustanovlenie i uprochenie Sovetskoi vlasti (fevral’ 1921-marl 1922): Sb. dokumentov i materialov. Sukhumi, 1963.
Ivanova, Z. M. Revkomy v bor’be za uprochenie Sovetskoi vlasti v levoberezhnykh raionakh Moldavii v 1919-pervoipolovine 1921 gg. Kishinev, 1963.
Revoliutsionnye komitety Kabardino-Balkarii i ikh deiatel’nost po vosstanovleniiu i uprocheniiu Sovetskoi vlasti i organizatsii sotsialisticheskogo stroitel’stva, Dekabr’ 1919-iiul’ 1920: Sb. dokumentov i materialov. Nal’chik, 1968.
Revoliutsionnye komitety Terskoi oblasti v bor’be za vosstanovlenie i uprochenie Sovetskoi vlasti (oktiabr’ 1918-avgust 1920): Sb. dokumentov i materialov. Sukhumi, 1971.
Petrikov, P. T. Revkomy Belorussii. Minsk, 1975.
Potarykina, L. L. Revkomy Ukrainy v 1918–1920 rr. Kiev, 1957.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
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