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Curtain forces (Russian: Отряды завесы, войска завесы, завеса) were military forces created soon after signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by Soviet Russia in 1918 to withstand the inner regions of the state and initially served as border troops. They were created by the directive No.72 of Higher Military Council on March 5, 1918.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

The Curtain was a defense system created according to the March 5, 1918 directive of the Revolutionary Military Council to guard "the interior regions of the state against possible invasion of Germans" and for guarding the demarcation line established by the Brest Peace Treaty. The Russian Army officers developed the concept of the Curtain during its efforts to defend Petrograd against the February 1918 German offensive initiated by Erich Ludendorff. The former Imperial Russian Army was disorganized, but the Red Army was not yet formed. After initial German successes, in early March a mixture of Red Guards, Red Army, volunteer and partisan forces stabilized the line along the Narva and Dnieper rivers; they formed the beginning of the Curtain. The Western and Northern curtains were established in places of the former Russian Empire's Western and Northern Fronts, respectively.[2]

Western Curtain[edit | edit source]

The Western Curtain (official name: Western Region of Curtain Forces, Russian: Западный участок отрядов завесы (ЗУОЗ)) was established on March 29, 1918, according to the March 5 directive of the Supreme Military Council. It stretched from Nevel to Novy Oskol, to protect Moscow, under the command of V.N. Yegoryev.[3]

Northern Curtain[edit | edit source]

Northeastern Curtain[edit | edit source]

The Northeastern Region of Curtain Forces (Сев.-Вост. участок отрядов завесы) was created by the August 6, 1918 directive of the Supreme Military Council, to protect against Allied intervention and White Russian forces from the White Sea and Ural directions.[4]

Southern Curtain[edit | edit source]

The Southern Region of Curtain Forces was created by the August 11, 1918 directive of the Supreme Military Council.[5]

Disbanding[edit | edit source]

The Curtain was disbanded by a September 11, 1918 Decree of the Revolutionary Military Council, which established Fronts, as well as the Western Defense Region in place of it.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ОРГАНЫ РУКОВОДСТВА СОВЕТСКИМИ ВООРУЖЕННЫМИ СИЛАМИ (1917 - 1941 гг.) (Governing bodies of the Soviet Military Forces (1917-41)). Central State Archives of the Soviet Army. "Russian State Military Archives" (RGVA). 1991
  2. Стрекалов И.И. "Создание войск завесы (февраль-май 1918 года): Исторический очерк." -М.: МГУЛ, 2001. - 28p (Russian)
  3. "The Birth of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus" (Russian)
  4. "Zavesa" (Russian)
  5. Гражданская война и военная интервенция в СССР: энциклопедия, 1983, Moscow, Soviet Encyclopedia Publishers, p. 211 (Russian)

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