At the demand of soldiers, the Petrograd Soviet on March 14 (March 1, O.S.) issued “Order No. 1,” which Trotsky described as “the single worthy document of the February revolution.”
To the garrison of the Petrograd region, all soldiers of the guards, army, artillery, and navy, for your immediate and precise execution; and to the workers of Petrograd, for your information.
The Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies hereby orders:
1) All companies, battalions, regiments, artillery depots, batteries, squadrons, and detachments of the various military services, and on ships of the navy—immediately choose committees of elected representatives from the lower ranks of the aforementioned military units.
2) All military units that have not yet elected their representatives to the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies shall elect one representative from each company—who will appear with appropriate credentials at the building of the State Duma by 10 am on March 2.
3) In all its political activities, each military unit will be subordinate to the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies and its committees.
4) Orders from the Military Commission of the State Duma [i.e., the Provisional Government] may be executed only in cases where they do not contradict the orders and decisions of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.
5) All categories of weapons, such as rifles, machine guns, armored cars, etc.—shall be at the disposal and under the control of the company and battalion committees, and in no case should be issued to officers, even at their demand.
6) While on-duty and in the performance of their professional obligations, soldiers must observe the strictest military discipline, but while off-duty and in their political, civilian, and private life, soldiers in no way may be denied those rights that all citizens enjoy.
In particular, standing at attention and compulsory saluting while off-duty are abolished.
7) Likewise abolished are titles of officers: Your Excellency, Your Honor, etc., to be replaced with: Mr. General, Mr. Colonel, etc.
Rude treatment of soldiers of all military ranks, and in particular, addressing them using the [informal second-person pronoun] “thou,” is prohibited, and any violations of this prohibition, as well as all misunderstandings between officers and soldiers, must be communicated to the company committees.
By the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies