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The decree on establishing Commissariats of Military Affairs in the Soviet Republic territory adopted

8 April 1918

On April 8, 1918 the Soviet of People’s Commissars of RSFSR adopted the decree ‘On establishing volost, district, provincial and okrug Commissariats of Military Affairs’. The decree was approved on April 22, 1918 by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers’, Soldiers’, Peasants’ and Cossacks’ deputies.

Precursors of military commissioners were so-called military offices, introduced by the Decree on conscription in the provinces, counties and cities. The October revolution of 1917 brought about changes in the order of recruitment of the armed forces. January 15, 1918 was issued the "Decree on the organization of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army", and April 8, 1918 - "Decree on the establishment of township, county, provincial and district commissariats in military affairs".

The decree included 4 provisions which determined the area of activity and responsibility of volost, district, provincial and okrug Commissariats of Military Affairs. The supreme body of military and administrative power in a military district was the District Military Commissariat, which managed all the local armed forces.

Its function was to ensure the tasks of national defense: records of people, horses, supplies, and the setting out of duties and control over their implementation in the provinces, the formation and training of troops in the area, sending and receiving the formed units in accordance with their purposes.

In peacetime, the District Commissariat was obliged to provide the troops with everything they needed, keep the stocks ready in case of war; in war time - send food to the army in the field, along with equipment, weapons, ammunition, attract labor to perform all sorts of work for defense and the army.

District Military offices were headed by two commissars and military leader, while the senior chief was one of the commissars. To discuss critical issues for management of the district, the District meeting was established under the chairmanship of District Commissar, which was attended by military leaders, representatives from all provincial councils, heads of district offices and district headquarters.

Volost, county and provincial Commissariats performed similar functions within their administrative subordination.

Under the decree of 1918 in one year’s time in the territory of the Soviet Republic were created 7 okrug, 39 province, 385 district and 7.000 volost Military Commissariats.

At present the area of activity of the Military Commissariat is much wider. Today Military Commissariat in close cooperation with local authorities conducts a series of social activities along with organizing conscription and registration of private soldiers and officers being in the reserve, as well as materiel stored in the territory of a district.

Under the RF President decree of May 31, 2006 ‘On establishing professional holidays and memorial days in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation’ the day of April 8 is celebrated as a professional holiday – ‘The Day of Military Commissariats’ employees’.

Lit.: Осипов Я. Т., Поликарпов В. Д. Военный комиссариат // Большая советская энциклопедия. Т. 5. М., 1971; Декрет об учреждении волостных, уездных, губернских и окружных комиссариатов по военным делам // Декреты Советской власти. Т. 2. М., 1959. С. 63–70; Об установлении профессиональных праздников и памятных дней в Вооружённых Силах Российской Федерации: Указ Президента РФ от 31 мая 2006 г. № 549 // Российская газета. 2006. 3 июня (№ 4084); Центральный государственный архив Советской армии: Путеводитель. Minneapolis, 1991. Т. 1, разд. 4. Органы военно-окружного управления; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://guides.rusarchives.ru/browse/guidebook.html?bid=120&sid=24151.