Leo Tolstoy: Christian cannot be a murderer and therefore cannot be a soldier

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts
Leo Tolstoy: Selections on war
Leo Tolstoy
Translated by V. Tchertkoff and A. C. Fifield

Painting by Ilya Repin
Notes for Officers (1901)
“It is impossible but that offenses will come, but woe unto him through whom they come.”
LUKE xvii. l, 2.

In all Russian barracks there hang, nailed to the wall, the so-called Notes for Soldiers composed by General Dragomiroff.
These notes are a collection of stupidly braggart sentences intermixed with blasphemous citations from the Gospels, and written in an artificial barrack slang, which is, in reality, quite strange to every soldier. The Gospel citations are quoted in order to corroborate the statements that soldiers should kill and tear with their teeth the enemy: “If your bayonet breaks, strike with your fists; if your fists give way, bite with your teeth.” The notes conclude with the statement that God is the soldier’s General: “God is your General.”
Nothing illustrates more convincingly than these notes that terrible degree of unenlightenment, servile submissiveness, and brutality which Russian men have attained to at present. Since this most horrible blasphemy appeared and was first hung up in all the barracks (a considerable time ago), not one commander, nor priest – whom this distortion of the meaning of the Gospel texts would seem to concern directly – has expressed any condemnation of this obnoxious work and it continues to be published in millions of copies and to be read by millions of soldiers who accept this dreadful production as a guide to their conduct.
These notes revolted me long ago, and now, being afraid I may otherwise miss the opportunity of doing so before my death, I have now written an appeal to soldiers, in which I have endeavoured to remind them that as men and Christians they have quite other duties toward God than those put forward in the notes. And a similar reminder is required, I think, not only by soldiers, but still more so by officers (by “officers” I mean all military authorities, from Subalterns to Generals), who enter the military service or continue in it, not by compulsion as privates do, but by their own free will. It was pardonable a hundred or fifty years ago, when war was regarded as an inevitable condition of the life of nations, when the men of the country with whom one was at war were regarded as barbarians, without religion, and evil-doers, and when it did not enter the mind of military men that they were required for the suppression and “pacification” of one’s own people – it was pardonable then to put on a multicoloured uniform trimmed with gold braid and to saunter about with a clashing sword and jingling spurs, or to caracole in front of one’s regiment, imagining oneself a hero, who, if he has not yet sacrificed his life for the defence of his fatherland, is nevertheless ready to do so. But at the present time, when frequent international communications, commercial, social, scientific, artistic, have so brought nations in touch with one another that any contemporary international war is like a dispute in a family, and breaks the most sacred human ties – when hundreds of peace societies and thousands of articles, not only in special but also in the ordinary newspapers, unceasingly demonstrate from every side the senselessness of militarism, and the possibility, even necessity, of abolishing war – at the present time, when, above all, the military are more and more often called out, not against foreign foes to repel invasions, or for the aggrandizement of the glory and power of their country, but against unarmed factory workmen or peasants – at the present time to caracole on one’s little horse in one’s little embroidered uniform and to advance dashingly at the head of one’s company, is no longer a silly, pardonable piece of vanity as it was before, but something quite different.
In past times, in the days say of Nicholas I (1825-1855), it entered into no one’s head that troops are necessary chiefly to shoot at unarmed populaces. But at present troops are permanently stationed in every large town and manufacturing centre for the purpose of being ready to disperse gatherings of workmen; and seldom a month passes without soldiers being called out of their barracks with ball cartridges and hidden in secret places in readiness to shoot the populace down at any moment.
The use of troops against the people has become indeed not only customary – they are mobilized in advance to be in readiness for this very purpose; and the Governments do not conceal the fact that the distribution of recruits in the various regiments is intentionally conducted in such a way that the men are never drafted into a regiment stationed in the place from which they are drawn. This is done for the purpose of avoiding the possibility of soldiers having to shoot at their own relations.
The German Emperor, at every fresh call for recruits, has openly declared and still declares that soldiers who have been sworn in belong to him, body and soul; that they have only one foe – his foe; and that this foe are the Socialists (that is, workmen), whom the soldiers must, if he bids them, shoot down (niederschiessen), even if they should be their own brothers or even parents.
In past times, moreover, if the troops were used against the people, those against whom they were used were, or at all events were supposed to be, evil-doers, ready to kill and ruin the peaceful inhabitants, and whom therefore it might be supposed to be necessary to destroy for the general good. But at present everyone knows that those against whom troops are called out are for the most part peaceful, industrious men, who merely desire to profit unhindered by the fruits of their labors. So that the principal permanent function of the troops in our time no longer consists in an imaginary defence against irreligious and in general externa foes, and not against internal foes in the persons of riotous evil-doers, but in killing one’s own unarmed brothers, who are by no means evil-doers, but peaceful, industrious men whose only desire is that they shall not be deprived of their earnings. So that military service at the present time, when its chief object is, by murder and the threat of murder, to keep enslaved men in those unjust conditions in which they are placed, is not only not a noble but a positively dastardly undertaking. And therefore it is indispensable that officers who serve at the present time should consider whom they serve, and ask themselves whether what they are doing is good or evil.
I know that there are many officers, especially of the higher grades, who by various arguments on the themes of orthodoxy, autocracy, integrity of the State, eternal inevitableness of war, necessity of order, inconsistency of socialistic ravings, and so on, try to prove to themselves that their activity is rational and useful, and contains nothing immoral. But in the depths of their soul they themselves do not believe in what they say, and the more intelligent and the older they become the less they believe.
I remember how joyously I was struck by a friend and old comrade of mine, a very ambitious man, who had dedicated his whole life to military service, and had attained the highest honours and grades (General Aide-de-Camp and Major-General) , when he told me that he had burnt his “Memoirs” of the wars in which he had participated because he had changed his view of the military activity, and now regarded every war as an evil deed, which should not be encouraged by participation, but, on the contrary, should be discredited in every way. Many officers think the same, although they do not say so while they serve. And indeed no thoughtful officer can think otherwise. Why, one has only to recall to mind what forms the occupation of all officers, from the lowest to the highest – to the Commandant of an Army Corps. From the beginning to the end of their service – I am alluding to officers in the active service – their activity, with the exception of the few and short periods when they go to war and are occupied with actual murder, consists in the attainment of two aims: in teaching soldiers the best methods of killing men, and in accustoming them to an obedience which enables them to do mechanically, without argument, everything their commander orders. In olden times it used to be said, “Flog two to death, and train one,” and so they did. If at present the proportion of flogged to death is smaller, the principle nevertheless is the same. One cannot reduce men into that state, not of animals but of machines, in which they will commit the deed most repulsive to the nature of man and to the faith he professes, namely, murder, at the bidding of any commander – unless not only artful frauds but also the most cruel violence have been perpetrated on them. And so it is in practice.
Not long ago a great sensation was created in the French press by the disclosure by a journalist of those awful tortures to which soldiers in the Disciplinary Battalions are submitted on the Island of Obrou, six hours’ distance from Paris. The men punished have their hands and feet tied together behind their back and are then thrown to the ground; instruments are fixed on their thumbs while their hands are twisted behind their backs, and screwed up so that every movement produces a dreadful pain; they are hung with their legs upward; and so forth. When we see trained animals accomplishing things contrary to nature: dogs walking on their forelegs, elephants rolling barrels, tigers playing with lions, and so on, we know that all this has been attained by the torments of hunger, whip, and red-hot iron. And when we see men in uniforms with rifles standing motionless, or performing all together with the same movement – running, jumping, shooting, shouting, and so on – in general, producing those fine reviews and manoeuvres which emperors and kings so admire and show off one before the other, we know the same. One cannot cauterize out of a man all that is human and reduce him to the state of a machine without torturing him, and torturing not in a simple way but in the most refined, cruel way – at one and the same time torturing and deceiving him. And all this is done by you officers. In this all your service consists, from the highest grade to the lowest, with the exception of those rare occasions when you participate in real war.
A youth transported from his family to the other end of the world comes to you, after having been taught that that deceptive oath forbidden by the Gospel which he has taken irretrievably binds him – as a cock when laid on the floor with a line drawn over its nose and along the floor thinks that it is bound by that line – he comes to you with complete submissiveness and the hope that you his elders, men more intelligent and learned than he, will teach him all that is good. And you, instead of freeing him from those superstitions which he has brought with him, inoculate him with new, most senseless, coarse, and pernicious superstitions: about the sanctity of the banner, the almost divine position of the Tsar, the duty of absolute obedience to the authorities. And when with the help of the methods for stultifying men which are elaborated in your organization you reduce him to a position worse than animal, ” to a position where he is ready to kill everyone he is ordered to kill, even his unarmed brothers, you exhibit him with pride to your superiors, and receive in return their thanks and rewards. It is terrible to be a murderer oneself, but by cunning and cruel methods to reduce one’s confiding brothers to this state is the most terrible crime of all. And this you accomplish, and in this consists the whole of your service.
It is therefore not astounding that amongst you more than amongst any other class everything which will stifle conscience flourishes: smoking, cards, drunkenness, depravity; and that suicides occur amongst you more frequently than anywhere else.
“It is impossible but that offenses will come, but woe unto him through whom they come.”
You often say that you serve because if you did not the existing order would be destroyed and disturbances and every kind of calamities would occur. But firstly, it is not true that you are concerned with the maintenance of the existing order: you are concerned only with your own advantages. Secondly, even if your abstinence from military service did destroy the existing order, this would in no way prove that you should continue to do what is wrong, but only that the order which is being destroyed by your abstinence should be destroyed. Were establishments of the most useful kind -hospitals, schools, homes, to depend for their support on the profits from houses of ill-fame, no consideration of the good produced by these philanthropic establishments would retain in her position the woman who desired to free herself from her shameful trade.
“It is not my fault,” the woman would say, “that you have founded your philanthropic institutions on vice. I no longer wish to live in vice. As to your institutions, they do not concern me.” And so should every soldier say if the necessity of maintaining the existing order founded on his readiness to murder were put before him. “Organize the general order in a way that will not require murder,” the soldier should say. “And then I shall not destroy it. I only do not wish to and cannot be a murderer.” Many of you say also: “I was educated thus. I am tied by my position, and cannot escape.” But this also is not true.
You can always escape from your position. If, however, you do not, it is only because you prefer to live and act against your conscience rather than lose certain worldly advantages which your dishonest service affords. Only forget that you are an officer and recall to mind that you are a man, and the way of escape from your position will immediately disclose itself to you. This way of escape in its best and most honest form would consist in your calling together the men of whom you are in command, stepping in front, and asking their pardon for all the evil you have done them by deception – and then cease to serve in the army. Such an action seems very bold, demanding great courage, whereas in reality much less courage is required for such an action than to storm a fortification or to challenge a man to a duel for an insult to the uniform – which you as a soldier are always ready to do, and do.
But even without being capable of acting thus you can always, if you have understood the criminality of military service, leave it and give preference to any other activity though less advantageous. But if you cannot do even this, then the solution for you of the question whether you will continue to serve or not will be postponed to that time – and this will soon appear for each one of you – when you will stand face to face with an unarmed crowd of peasants or factory workers, and be ordered to shoot at them. And then, if anything human remains in you, you will have to refuse to obey, and, as a result, to leave the service.
I know that there are still many officers, from the highest to the lowest ranks, who are so unenlightened or hypnotized that they do not see the necessity of either the one, the other, or the third solution, and quietly continue to serve even in the present conditions, ready to shoot at their brothers and even priding themselves upon this; but happily public opinion punishes such people with more and more repulsion and disapproval, and their number continually becomes smaller and smaller. So that in our time, when the fratricidal function of the army has become evident, officers not only can no longer continue in the ancient traditions of military self-complacent bravado – they cannot continue the criminal work of teaching murder to simple men confiding in them, and themselves to prepare for participation in murdering unarmed populaces, without the consciousness of their human degradation and shame.
It is this which should be understood and remembered by every thinking and conscientious officer of our time.
Notes for Soldiers (1901)
“Be not afraid of them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body.” MATT. x. 28.
“We must obey God rather than men.” ACTS v. 29.
You are a soldier. You have been taught to shoot, to stab, to march, to do gymnastics. You have been taught to read and write, led to exercise and reviews; perhaps have been in a campaign and have fought with the Turks or Chinese, obeying all your orders. It has not even entered your head to ask yourself whether what you were ordered to do was good or bad.
But suddenly an order is received that your company or squadron shall march out, taking ball cartridges. You go without asking where you are being led.
You are brought to a village or factory, and you see before you gathered in an open space a crowd of villagers or factory hands – men, women with children, aged folk. The governor and public prosecutor approach the crowd with policemen and say something. The crowd is at first silent, then begins to shout louder and louder; and the authorities retreat. And you guess that the peasants or factory hands are rioting, and that you have been brought to “pacify” them. The authorities several times retreat from the crowd and again approach it, but the shouts become louder and louder, and the authorities consult each other and at last give you the order to load your rifles with the ball cartridges. You see before you men such as those from amongst whom you have been taken – men in peasants’ coats, sheepskin overcoats, and bark shoes, and women in kerchiefs and jackets – women like your wife and mother.
The first shot is ordered to be fired above the heads of the crowd. But the crowd does not disperse, and shouts even louder; and you are then ordered to shoot in earnest, not over the heads, but straight into the middle, of the crowd. It has been instilled into you that you are not responsible for the consequences of your shots. But you know that the man who falls bleeding from your shot is killed by you and by no one else, and you know that you could have refrained from shooting and that then the man would not have been killed.
What are you to do?
It would not be enough to lay down your rifle and refuse in this instance to shoot your brothers; for tomorrow the same thing could reoccur. And therefore, whether you wish it or not, you have to recollect yourselves and ask, “What is this soldier’s calling which has brought me to the necessity of shooting my unarmed brothers?”
You are told in the Gospel that one should not only refrain from killing his brothers, but should not do that which leads to murder: one should not be angry with one’s brothers, nor hate one’s enemies, but love them. In the law of Moses you are distinctly told, “Thou shalt not kill,” without any reservations as to whom you can and whom you cannot kill. Whereas in the regulations which you have been taught you are told that a soldier must fulfill any order whatsoever of his superior, except an order against the Tsar; and in explanation of the Sixth Commandment you are told that although by this commandment killing is forbidden, yet he who kills an enemy during war does not sin against, this commandment.*
[*In your regulations you are told: "By the Sixth Commandment God forbids the taking of man's life by violence or cunning, and the disturbance in any way of one's neighbour's peace and safety; and therefore this commandment also forbids quarrels, anger, hatred, jealousy, cruelty. But he who kills the enemy in war does not sin against the Sixth Commandment, because in war we defend our faith, sovereign, and country.]
And in the Notes for Soldiers which hang in your barracks, and which you have many times read and listened to, it is explained how a soldier should kill men: “If three fall on you, shoot one, stab another, and finish the third with the bayonet…If your bayonet breaks, strike with the stock; if the stock gives way, hit with your fists; if your fists are hurt, bite with your teeth.”
You are told that you must kill, because you have taken the oath, and that not you but your commanders will be responsible for your actions. But before you took the oath, that is, before you promised men to obey their will, it was your duty, without need of oaths, to obey in everything the will of God, of Him who gave you life; and God forbids killing.
So that you could by no means swear that you would obey everything men might command. This is why it is distinctly stated in the Gospel, Matt. v. 34-37: “Swear not at all…But let your speech be, Yea, yea; nay, nay: and whatsoever is more than these is of the evil one.”
And in the Epistle of James, chap. v. 12, the same thing is said, “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by the heaven, nor by the earth.” So that to take the oath is a sin. As to what they say about your commanders, not yourselves, being responsible for your deeds, this is obviously a falsehood. Is your conscience not in you, but in your sergeant, captain, colonel, or some one else? No one can decide for you what you can and must, and what you cannot and should not do. And a man is always responsible for what he does. Is not the sin of adultery much easier than that of murder? And yet can one man say to another: “Go and commit adultery. I shall bear your sin, because I am your commander”?
According to the Biblical narrative Adam sinned against God, and then said that his wife told him to eat the apple, while his wife said she was tempted by the devil. God exonerated neither Adam nor Eve, but told them that because Adam listened to the voice of his wife he would be punished, and that his wife would be punished for listening to the serpent. And neither was excused, but both were punished. Will not God say the same to you also when you kill a man and say that your captain ordered you to do it?
The deceit is apparent already, because in the regulation obliging a soldier to obey all his commander’s orders, these words are added, “Except such as tend toward the injury of the Tsar.”
If a soldier before obeying the orders of his commander must first decide whether it is not against the Tsar, how then can he fail to consider before obeying his commander’s order whether it is not against his supreme King, God? And no action is more opposed to the will of God than that of killing men. And therefore you cannot obey men if they order you to kill. If you obey, and kill, you do so only for the sake of your own advantage – to escape punishment. So that in killing by order of your commander you are a murderer as much as the thief who kills a rich man to rob him. He is tempted by money, and you by the desire not to be punished, or to receive a reward. Man is always responsible before God for his actions. And no power, whatever the authorities desire, can turn a live man into a dead thing which one can move about as one likes. Christ taught men that they are all sons of God, and therefore a Christian cannot surrender his conscience into the power of another man, no matter by what title he may be called: King, Tsar, Emperor. As to those men who have assumed power over you, demanding of you the murder of your brothers, this only shows that they are deceivers, and that therefore one should not obey them. Shameful is the position of the prostitute who is always ready to give her body to be defiled by anyone her master indicates; but yet more shameful is the position of a soldier always ready for the greatest of crimes – the murder of any man whom his commander indicates.
And therefore if you do indeed desire to act according to God’s will you have only to do one thing – to throw off the shameful and ungodly calling of a soldier, and be ready to bear any sufferings which may be inflicted upon you for so doing. So that the true “Notes” for a Christian Soldier are not those in which it is said that “God is the Soldier’s General” and other blasphemies, and that the soldier must obey his commanders in everything, and be ready to kill foreigners and even his own unarmed brothers – but those which remind one of the words of the Gospel that one should obey God rather than men and fear not those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul.
In this alone consists the true, unfraudulent “Notes for Soldiers.”
In Dragomiroff’s Notes for Soldiers three passages are quoted from the Gospels: John xv. 10-13 and Matthew x. 22, 39. From John the words of the 13th verse are quoted: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends;” evidently for the purpose of implying that soldiers fighting in battle should defend their comrades to the utmost of their strength.
These words however cannot possibly refer to military action, but mean exactly the reverse. In verses 10-13 it is said: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be fulfilled. This is my commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” So that the words, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” do not at all mean that a soldier should defend his comrades, but that a Christian should be ready to surrender his life for the fulfilment of Christ’s commandment that men should love one another, And therefore he should be ready to sacrifice his life rather than consent to kill men.
From Matthew the end of the 22nd verse of the 10th chapter is quoted, “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved,” evidently in the sense that a soldier who fights bravely will be saved from the enemy. But again the meaning of this passage is not at all what the compiler wishes to attribute to it, but a contrary one.
The complete verse is: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.”
So that obviously this verse cannot relate to soldiers, soldiers not being hated by anyone for Christ’s name: and it is clear therefore that only those people can be hated for Christ’s name who refuse in his name to do what the world demands of them, and, in the case in point, soldiers who disobey when murder is demanded of them.
Again, the end of the 39th verse of the 10th chapter of Matthew is quoted: “He that loseth his life shall find it,” also in the sense that he who is killed in war will be rewarded in Heaven. But the sense is obviously not this. In the 38th verse it is said, “He that doth not take his cross and follow after me, is not worthy of me,” and after this is added, “He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth this life for my sake shall find it;” that is, that he who desires to safeguard his corporal life rather than fulfil the teaching of love will lose his true life, but he who does not safeguard his corporal life, but fulfils the teaching of love, will gain the true, spiritual, eternal life.
Thus all the three passages assert, not, as the compiler desired, that in obedience to the Authorities one should fight, and crush, and rend men with one’s teeth, but, on the contrary, they all, like the whole Gospel, express one and the same thing – that a Christian cannot be a murderer and therefore cannot be a soldier. And therefore the words, “A soldier is Christ’s warrior,” placed in the “Notes” after the Gospel verses, do not at all mean what the compiler imagines. It is true that a soldier, if he be a Christian, can and should be Christ’s warrior, but he will be Christ’s warrior, not when, obeying the will of those commanders who have prepared him for murder, he kills foreigners who have done him no harm, or even his own unarmed fellow-countrymen, but only when he renounces the ungodly and shameful calling of a soldier, in the name of Christ – and fights not with external foes but with his own commanders who deceive him and his brothers, and fights them, not with a bayonet, nor with his fists or teeth, but with humble reasonableness and readiness to bear all suffering and even death rather than remain a soldier – That is, a man ready to kill anyone whom his commanders indicate.
Notes for Soldiers by General Dragomiroff:
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.” – JOHN xv. 13.
“He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” – MATT. x. 22.
“He that loseth his life shall find it.” – MATT. x. 39.
A soldier is Christ’s warrior. As such he should regard himself, and so he should behave. Consider your corps as your family; your commander as your father; your comrade as your brother; your inferior as a young relative. Then all will be happy and friendly and easy.
Don’t think of yourself, think of your comrades; they will think of you. Perish yourself, but save your comrade.
Under fire advance in open order; attack together. Strike with your fist, not with your open hand.
One leg helps the other, one hand strengthens the other. Stick together.
One evil is not an evil; two evils are half an evil; separation is the evil.
Don’t expect relief. It won’t come. Support will come. When you’ve thrashed them well, then you’ll rest.
Only he is beaten who is afraid.
Always attack, never defend.
If your bayonet breaks, strike with the stock; if the stock gives way, hit with your fists; if your fists are hurt, bite with your teeth. Only he wins who fights desperately, to the death.
In action a soldier is like a sentinel; even dying he should not let his rifle go.
Keep your bullet for three days, even for a whole campaign, when you can’t get more. Shoot seldom, but well. With the bayonet strike hard. The bullet may miss the mark, but the bayonet will not. The bullet is stupid, the bayonet is the plucky one.
Aim every bullet; to shoot without care only amuses the devil. Only the careful not the chance bullet finds the culprit. Hold your cartridges. If you spend them a long way off, when you get near, just when you want them, you’ll have none. For a good soldier, thirty cartridges are enough for the hottest engagement.
From the dead and wounded take their cartridges.
If you knock up against the enemy unexpectedly or he against you, hit without hesitation. Don’t let him collect himself. The plucky one is he who first cries “Hurrah.” If three fall on you, shoot one, stab another, and finish the third with your bayonet. God defends the brave.
Where a bold one will get through, God will trip up the timid one.
For a good soldier there are neither flanks nor rear, but all is front, where the foe is.
Always keep your face toward the cavalry. Let it come to two hundred yards, give it a volley, put the bayonet into position, and freeze there.
In war a soldier must expect short commons, short sleeps, and sore feet. Because it is war. Even an old soldier finds it difficult, and for a green one it is hard. But if it’s hard for you it isn’t easier for the enemy; maybe harder still. Only you see your own hardships, but don’t see the enemy’s. Yet they are always there. So don’t grow stale, but the harder it is, the more doggedly and desperately fight; when you’ve won you’ll feel better at once, and the enemy worse. “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.”
Don’t think that victory can be won straight off. The enemy can also be firm. Sometimes one can’t succeed even the second and third times. Go at it a fourth, a fifth, a sixth time, till you win.
When fighting help the sound men. Only think of the wounded when you have won. The man who bothers about the wounded during the fight and leaves the ranks is a bad soldier and not a kind-hearted man. It is not his comrades who are dear to him but his own skin. If you win it will be well for all, both sound and wounded.
Don’t leave your place on the march. If you stop for a minute and fall behind, hurry up and don’t lag.
When you reach the bivouac all can’t rest. Some must sleep, others guard. He who sleeps, let him sleep in peace till he is wakened; comrades are on guard. He who is on guard, let him watch alertly, though he has marched seventy miles.
When you are an officer, keep your men well in hand. Give your orders intelligently; don’t merely cry “Forward, March.” First explain what is to be done, so that every man can know where and why he has to go.
Then “Forward, March” is all right. Every soldier should understand his actions.
“The chief gets the drink first, and the stick first.”
Die for the Orthodox faith, for our father the Tsar, for Holy Russia. The Church prays to God. “He who loses his life will find it.” He who survives, to him honour and glory.
Do not offend the native; he feeds and supports. A soldier is not a thief.
Keep yourself clean, your clothes and ammunition in order. Guard your rifle, your biscuits, and your feet as the apple of your eye. Look after your socks (leg bands) and keep them greased. It’s better for the foot.
A soldier should be healthy, brave, hardy, determined, just, pious! Pray to God! From Him is the victory! Noble heroes, God leads you, He is your General!
Obedience, education, discipline, cleanliness, health, tidiness, vigour, courage, dash, victory!
Glory, glory, glory!
Lord of Hosts, be with us! We have no other helper than Thee in the day of our trouble!
Lord of Hosts have mercy on us!