V. I.   Lenin

The Tasks and Organisation of the Work of the Council of Defence[2]

Written: December 1, 1918
Published: First published in 1931 in Lenin Miscellany XVIII. Printed from the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 112b-114a.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.README



1.XII.1918 1. General review of tasks. 2. Add from trade unions. 3. Standing order Subjects of general review: 1. Food problem 2. Railway problem 3. Military supply 4. Mobilisation of intelligentsia 5. ”  ” technical personnel 6. Fuel 7. State Military Inspection.


1. Task for the Food Commissariat—within 4 days present plan for speeding up and increasing purveyance, forward to Council of Defence { Militarisation

Set up in the Food Commissariat a Department for improving distribution of foodstuffs, for improving the distributing apparatus.

Merge Chief Economic Administration with the Food Commissariat +Prodput . Instruct Food Commissariat to work up the question (a) of delivering foodstuffs to the 3rd shift of the Tula Cartridge Factory +Simbrisk Cartridge Factory

(b) of introducing Red Army rations for peat and coal workers near Moscow—also those on firewood jobs.

II. Bonuses Commission. On question II 3 commissions Collective Liability Commission.those on firewood jobs. State Control. Flying inspection those on firewood jobs.


IV. & V. Krasin Krasin + Nevsky + Gorbunov[3]

VI. Fuel Commission: Lenin, Rykov, Volkovsky, Nevsky, Radchenko[4] Question of agents vs contractors.

VII. Supreme Military Inspection.


1) order the Food Commissariat in shortest possible time to submit a plan for greatly intensifying grain purveyance as well as fodder;

2) when increasing the number of trios, local food supply workers to be appointed to them;

3) direct Comrade Krasin to carry out an urgent investigation into the question of utilising the stocks of boots in Petrograd;
      (Khodinsky warehouse ober Food Commissariat[1]

4) brief demands or irregularities to be immediately reported to the chairman.


[1] This refers to the warehouse belonging directly to the People’s Commissariat for Food of the R.S.F.S.R.—Ed.

[2] The Council of Defence (Council of Workers and Peasants’ Defence) was set up by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee on November 30, 1918, as a special organ of the Soviet state vested with full powers in the matter of mobilising the country’s forcÇes and resources in the interests of defence. Lenin was appointed Chairman of the Council of Defence.

The documents published here were written by Lenin at the first meeting of the Council of Defence on December 1, 1918. First Lenin outlined the immeÇdiate tasks of the Council and the agenda for its first sitting (Document 1). Then he jotted down a number of proposals for elaborating these questions, formulating more detailed proposals on the food question (Documents 2 and 3). Lenin’s proposals were reflected in the decisions of the Council of Defence adopted at its sitting (see Lenin Miscellany XVIII, pp. 243-45).

[3] On Point 4 of the agenda (”On the Mobilisation of Intellectuals”)L. B. Krasin was instructed to draw up a draft decision for themobilisation of technical personnel; L. B. Krasin, V. I. Nevskyand N. P. Gorbunov were instructed to draw up draft regulationson questionnaires to be submitted to the C.P.C.

[4] The Council of Defence passed a decision for the fuel question to be considered by a special five-man commission, which was to be summoned by Lenin. The commission met on December 2,1918 (see the next document).

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