Union of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of the Ussr

Union of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of the Ussr


a voluntary public organization whose purpose is to assist public health agencies in conducting preventive-medical and health-improvement measures, as well as to provide aid to victims of natural disasters and to those injured during military operations.

On Aug. 7, 1918, V. I. Lenin signed a government decree that defined the domestic and international activities of the Red Cross. On Nov. 20, 1918, a meeting of members of the Red Cross in Moscow adopted a charter and elected the central committee of the Russian Society of the Red Cross. (This meeting had the same importance as an all-Russian congress.)

Similar societies were created in other Soviet republics. Those who participated in the organization and on-going work of the societies included Z. P. Solov’ev, L. Kh. Popov, A. N. Vinokurov, and M. I. Barsukov. On May 29, 1923, the representatives of the society signed the declaration On Creation of the Union of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of the USSR.

The union includes 11 republic Red Cross societies and four Red Crescent societies. Activities are carried out in accordance with the union’s charter. The supreme body is an all-Union congress (the first congress was held Oct. 10–13, 1932), and between congresses the union is governed by an executive committee and its Presidium. Local branches of the societies include millions of volunteer nurses, health-station personnel, and volunteer public health inspectors, all of whom help medical workers in the prevention of infectious diseases, in the overseeing of public health services and amenities in cities and villages, in the improvement of working and living conditions, and in the provision of emergency first aid at the scene of an accident. Private nurses who work for the societies’ committees make home visits to those who have become disabled as a result of war injuries or injuries suffered at the job and who have no one else to care for them. The union promotes voluntary donations. It publishes the journal Sovetskii Krasnyi Krest (The Soviet Red Cross; since 1951) and textbooks and public health literature.

The union is involved with many international projects, providing assistance to people in foreign countries in the struggle against epidemics, famine, and the destruction caused by natural and other disasters. It also contributes to the struggle for peace. Some Asian and African countries have hospitals of the Soviet Red Cross, and Soviet specialists help train native medical personnel. The union participates in the work of the International Red Cross, as well as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which provides assistance to the children of developing countries.

The Union of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of the USSR was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1967.


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