Surveillance Reports of National Units of the Red Army Political Departments in 1918–1920


  • Toivo Kikkas University of Tartu



political control, surveillance, Russian Civil War, the  Red Army, military history


While surveillance as a  mechanism of political control was a  common prac-tice of states even before the First World War, the introduction of the Political Departments to the Red Army in 1918–1920 was a completely new historical-military phenomenon. Surveillance reports submitted by the  commissars of the  political departments had to provide an overview of the  attitudes of soldiers, progress in political education, and the condition of various military aspects, such as the supply of uniforms. Next to nothing is known about surveillance reports compiled by these institutions in national units of the Red Army. This paper summarizes the instructions for compiling surveillance reports, their implementation, and what was actually reported by the Political Departments of Estonian and Latvian national units of the Red Army.

Author Biography

Toivo Kikkas, University of Tartu

Toivo Kikass ir Tartu Universitātes Vēstures un arheoloģijas institūta Arhīvu studiju nodaļas jaunākais pētnieks. Vēstures maģistrs (Tartu Universitāte, Igaunija, 2020). Pētnieciskās intereses: militārā, politiskā un izlūkošanas vēsture.

Toivo Kikkas is a junior research fellow at the Department of Archival Studies, Institute of History and Archaeology, University of Tartu. He holds a  master’s degree in history (University of Tartu, Estonia, 2020). Research interests: military, political and intelligence history.




How to Cite

Kikkas, T. (2023). Surveillance Reports of National Units of the Red Army Political Departments in 1918–1920. Journal of the University of Latvia. History | Latvijas Universitātes Žurnāls. Vēsture, (16), 39–55.