Archive for September 16th, 2013

       Following the Russian Revolution that occurred in the early nineteenth century was the formation of a provisional government in order to maintain rule over Russia. This provisional government, also known as the Duma, wanted to transform the former autocracy into a system based on awarding civil rights to its citizens and other liberal principles. This concept of liberal policies even spread into the military, the direct result of this being the creation of Order No. 1.

This order was issued on March, 1917 drastically changed the whole concept of the Russian military. The reason why it sent shock waves throughout the military was that this doctrine called for democracy within the military, where soldiers would not only be elected into their position but be given all the same rights as any normal citizen.  The claim for elections was just one way in which this order effectively dismantled any form of discipline within the military.  Oder No. 1 also abolished the necessity for members of the military to stand, “standing at attention and compulsory saluting, when not on duty.” Now to a normal citizen this may not seem important, yet it is important being it shows not only discipline on behalf of the soldiers it also shows respect for the officers. Without this respect officers no longer have control over their men and without this control you have no hope of ever winning a conflict of any type.

Within the  first two months of the implication of Order No. 1, infighting within the army almost brought the military to its knees. Internal warfare became a common site being that many competent and high ranking officers where jailed and replaced with more popular soldiers who lacked both the experience and leadership qualities of the fallen officers. Realizing that the Russian Army was destroying itself the newly appointed Minister of the Army and Navy, Alexander Kerenskii, decided that in order to bring back a sense of pride and legitimacy to the army he must launch an offensive operation against the Germans. This ended up bringing the state of the military to an even lower level due to them being repulsed by the Germans.

I believe the passage of Order No.1 shows us one clear statement, you cannot treat your military as a democratic society. In the military, you cannot be allowed to elect your leaders or it becomes exactly what we saw happen in the Russian military , a popularity contest. The only question I have left and want to look deeper into is why did the Duma believe this doctrine would be a great addition within the military society?

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