Discipline in the Russian army
Catalogue reference: WO 106/1037

(handwritten) Secret
29th Sept. 1917.
Enclosure in Sir G. Buchanan's
     Despatch No. XX
DESPATCH NO. (handwritten) 19
SUBJECT: Discipline in
  Russian Army.



I have the honour to give some notes on the present state of the discipline question in the Russian Army.

1.   State of discipline up
        till Kornilov's failure.

                  Up to the lamentable failure of Kornilov's attempt to form a dictatorship, the restoration of discipline in the the Army appeared to be within the bounds of possibility. Measures were being introduced which are looked upon as essential in all regular armies of the world. The death sentence had been introduced at the front and in rear. The men were not allowed to remove higher commanders at will. The powers of committees were being restricted and confined purely to matters of interior economy. There even seemed the possibility of removing the committees altogether in time. The position of the officers was becoming markedly improved.
                   Kornilov's demands had practically all been conceded by the Prov. Govt, and their introduction into the army would have at all events given every ground to hope that discipline could possibly be restored.


His Excellency,
     Sir G. Buchanan, G.C.B., etc., etc.,
          H.B.M.'s Ambassador,

2.   Result of Kornilov's

Kornilov's ill timed venture not only put a complete stop to the progress begun, but has put the whole question back to where it was immediately after the Revolution, with this difference, that, having now twice been made the scapegoats of the army, the officers will find it well nigh impossible to regain the position necessary to enable them to carry out their duties.

3.     Appointments of Kerenski, Alexeyev and Verkhovski.

Kerenski's assumption of the post of C.-in-C. and Alexeyev's appointment as C. of S. were immediately followed by the issue of an Army Order. (See Appendix A.)

          In this order 7 definite commands were issued, the trend of which was to insist on all previous orders which had been issued for the maintenance of discipline being strictly enforced. The first point is worthy of notice, namely "To stop political conflicts amongst the troops." If this order was enforced it would go far towards removing one of the main causes of the present lack of discipline, namely the introduction of politics into the Army. The whole trend of present affairs, however, is working in the opposite direction, and the Army is becoming more and more steeped in politics. This is not to be wondered at, as the Army is at present the deciding factor in the political situation.
          Verkhovski's appointment as Minister of War was followed by a conference of himself, Kerenski and Alexeyev's. The 2 main results of the Conference were, Alexeyev's resignation and the decision to introduce drastic reforms in the Army.

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