The Military Writings of Leon Trotsky
Volume 2: 1919 – How The Revolution Armed – The Southern Front: Denikin’s Offensive
By the Chairman of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic and People’s Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs
June 18, 1919, Kharkov
Severe punishment for all deserters, Makhnovites, disorganisers and traitors to the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army.
Denikin’s landlord-bourgeois bands are now threatening the workers and peasants of Yekaterinoslav, Kharkov, Poltava, Kursk and Voronezh. Our Southern front has been shaken. Who is responsible? Who was it that opened the gates to the counter-revolutionary bands whose aim is to take the land from the peasants and put a yoke on the workers? The gates were opened by traitors, deserters, Grigoriyevites, Anarchist bandits, Makhnovites, who did not want to recognise any sort of order or discipline in the ranks of the army.
The Extraordinary Military Revolutionary Tribunal presided over by the Ukrainian People’s Commissar Comrade Pyatakov, has examined the case of the Makhnovite traitors who first tried to undermine the workers’ and peasants’ power in the Ukraine and then opened the gates to the sworn enemies of the working people.
The Tribunal has severely punished the traitors. The same punishment awaits all who undermine the solidarity, discipline and fighting capacity of the army. Makhno’s headquarters has been destroyed, but the poison of Makhnovism has not yet been eliminated. Individual agents of treason are still inciting Red Army men to unjustified retreats. Here and there on the Southern Front, whole regiments are still abandoning their positions without authority and committing excesses as they go.
The Extraordinary Military Revolutionary Tribunal testifies, by its sentence, that the Soviet power is coping with disintegration and corruption and will wipe the guilty from the face of the earth.
In announcing the sentence* in the case of the Makhnovite traitors, I order that it be made known and explained in all companies, squadrons, batteries and task-forces of the armies operating on the Donets front.
[*Sentence dated June 17, 1919, in the case of Mikhalevo-Pavlenko, Burbyga, Oteynik, Korobko, Kostin, Polunin and Dobrolyubov. – L. T.]
Source: Trotsky Internet Archive