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From the pack: The use of Commissars by the Soviets goes back to the very beginning of the Red Army in 1918 during the Russian Civil War. The Red Army needed officers and recruited the officer corps from the Czar's army. However, they did not trust the old imperial officers and assigned loyal communist party officials as counterparts to every commander through the organization. In practice this gave the communist party total control over the Red Army and made sure there was no counter revolutionary activity within the Red Army during the civil war.
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