Campaign Series East Front III | Marshall Budyonny's Dacha

My fellow Vsadniks,

You might by surprised to know that STAVKA is not an acronym. It is a Russian word that means “general headquarters.” Stavka orders contain a wealth of historical information about the Red Army during the Great Patriotic War. This is a primer on Stavka’s background, and about the system of orders, and how to find these for research.

Background on Stavka

The Red Army General Headquarters was known as Stavka, located in Moscow. This designation had also been used in Imperial Russia, prior to the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. For the Red Army fighting the German invasion, Stavka was re-created 23 June, 1941, the day after the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.

The Soviet of People’s Commissars of USSR and the All-Russian Communist Party of Bolsheviks Central Committee  ordered Stavka’s creation as a general headquarters. Initially, Marshal of the Soviet Union S. K. Timoshenko was appointed the head of Stavka. In addition, the membership included IV Stalin, VM Molotov, K E Voroshilov, SM Budyonny, G Kuznetsov, and GK Zhukov.

Permanent advisors included BM Shaposhnikov, GI Kulik, Generals KA Meretskov, PF Zhigaryov, N F Vatutin, NN Voronov as well as AI Mikoyan, LM Kaganovich, LP Berya, NA Voznesensky, AA Zhdanov, GM Malenkov, and LZ Mekhlis.

Later, Stalin became the head of Stavka, and BM Shaposhnikov was chief of staff, and signed many of the Stavka orders and directives. It was under Order No. 83 that Stavka was reformed on 10 July 1941. It was then known as the supreme headquarters with Stalin as Supreme Commander in Chief.

Function of Stavka

Stavka was basically a General Staff, with Shaposhnikov running the daily administration, and General AM Vasilevsky as his deputy. Vasilevsky had developed a defense plan in 1940 in the event the Germans attacked.

The organization had many roles, including operational planning, advise on tactics and strategy, discipline, command changes, and unit tables of organization and equipment. It communicated these ideas through directives, orders, and occasionally decrees.

Stavka issued hundreds of documents each year. Most were directives, (direktiva), informational, or providing advice, but many were orders, (prikaz,) and  mandatory. Some of these, signed by Stalin are known as Stalin’s Orders. The serial numbering of directives continued to increase through the war. These are primary source documents for research.

Stavka Document Identification

Various documents had slight different titles depending on whether they were directives, orders, or decrees. Directives were the majority of documents, and in the title had these Russian words:

ДИРЕКТИВА СТАВКА ВГК No. XX. (Directive of Stavka Surpreme High Command No. XX) The Cyrillic text is useful for searches to find these. More hits are obtained at Russian language websites.

Directives would be typically signed by Timoshenko (ТИМОШЕНКО,) in the early weeks of war, but later by Shaposhnikov. (ШАПОШНИКОВ)

Orders can be identified by ПРИКАЗ СТАВКА ВГК No. XX. (Order of Stavka Surpreme High Command No. XX) These would be typically signed by Stalin. (СТАЛИН) The only title difference is in the words ДИРЕКТИВА vs ПРИКАЗ. Decrees are ПОСТАНОВЛЕНИЕ. In the titles, the letters were usually all uppercase. A glossary in the next section will be useful for identifying and translating Russian words identifying these documents.


This glossary will help with the keywords for document titles. The presentation is in the form of

Cyrillic = Transliteration = English translation

Ставка Главного Командования   приказывает

Stavka Glavnogo Komandovanija   prikazyvaet

High Command Headquarters orders

приказ = prikaz = order (singular)

приказывает = prikazyvaet =  orders (plural)

Командования = Komandovanija  = command

Главного =  Glavnogo = main or high

Ставка = General headquarters

Верховного = Verhovnogo = supreme

директива = direktiva = directive

доклад = doklad = report

Секретно =  Sekretno = Secretly

Постановление = Postanovleniye = Decree

Государственного = Gosudarstvennogo = State

Комитета = Komiteta = Committee

Обороны = Oborony = Defense

ВГК  = VGK  = supreme high command

ГК =  GK = high command

CВГК = SVGK = Stavka Supreme High Command

Internet Searches

The most effective way to search for these documents is to use the Russian Cyrillic form, and search on Google. This search engine offers a means of translating the documents that are found. To convert Latin letters to Cyrillic, the website is very helpful.

Researchers should also open a tab of “Google Translate,” to assist. This will not only translate Russian Cyrillic into English, (or the language of your choice,)  but displays the transliteration.

The primary search term for orders is ПРИКАЗ СТАВКА, and for directives,  ДИРЕКТИВА СТАВКА.

Other words or abbreviations in the glossary may be used as keywords as well. Sometimes hits are for mostly modern documents. If this occurs, include the year, like 1941 as a keyword.

Terra Russian Archive

This archive offers Word documents with many Stavka orders and directives. These are in Russian, but paragraphs can be easily highlighted, copied, and pasted into Google Translate to read in a preferred language. These are large, perhaps 400 or 500 pages. The link to obtain these is:

These records cover all the Great Patriotic War years, 1941, 42, 43, 44, 45.

For your convenience a copy of the 1941 document is available here.

Stavka Order 83

This was the order, issued 10 July 1941, that made Stavka the supreme headquarters of the Red Army, Navy, and Air Force. It also illustrates a translation technique of inserting translated paragraphs in between the Cyrillic text. It is easier to make Google Translations with paragraphs, rather than entire documents. This order was signed by Stalin. It also established commanders for the fronts.


Государственный Комитет Обороны


от 10 июля 1941 года № ГКО-77сс


Секретно № 83сс от 10/VII 41 г.

Копия — тов. Жукову лично

Экз. единственный

Командующим округами, флотами и армиями, которые обязываются ознакомить с документом членов соответствующих военных советов, а также командиров корпусов и дивизий

Копия: Председателям Совнаркомов и секретарям ЦК Компартий союзных республик

Государственный Комитет Обороны постановил:

State Defense Committee

Decree of July 10, 1941 No. GKO-77ss


Secret No. 83cc dated 10 / VII 41

Copy – Comrade Zhukov personally

Ex. only

Commander of the districts, fleets and armies who undertake to familiarize the members of the relevant military councils, as well as the commanders of the corps and divisions with a document.

The State Defense Committee responded to the chairmen of the Council of People’s Commissars and the secretaries of the Central Committee of the Communist Parties of the Union Republics:

  1. Назначить Главнокомандующим войсками северо-западного направления Маршала Советского Союза т. К. Ворошилова с подчинением ему Северного и Северо-Западного фронтов.


  1. To appoint Comrade K. Voroshilov Commander-in-Chief of the North-West Marshal of the Soviet Union with subordination of the Northern and North-Western Fronts to him.


  1. Назначить Главнокомандующим войсками западного направления Маршала Советского Союза Наркома Обороны т. С. Тимошенко, с подчинением ему войск Западного фронта.


  1. To appoint Commander Timoshenko, Commander-in-Chief of the Western Forces of the Marshal of the Soviet Union, Commissar of Defense, with the subordination of the troops of the Western Front to him.


  1. Назначить Главнокомандующим войсками юго-западного направления Маршала Советского Союза т. С. Буденного, с подчинением ему Юго-Западного и Южного фронтов.


  1. To appoint Commander S. Budyonny, Commander-in-Chief of the southwestern forces of the Marshal of the Soviet Union, with the subordination of the Southwestern and Southern Fronts to him.


  1. Ставку Главного Командования преобразовать в Ставку Верховного Командования и определить ее в составе: Председателя Государственного Комитета Обороны т. Сталина, заместителя Председателя Государственного Комитета Обороны т. Молотова, маршалов тт. Тимошенко, Буденного, Ворошилова, Шапошникова, начальника Генштаба Генерала армии т. Жукова.


  1. To convert the Headquarters of the High Command into the Headquarters of the Supreme Command and determine it as follows: Chairman of the State Defense Committee, Comrade Stalin, Deputy Chairman of the State Committee of Defense, Comrade Molotov, Marshals Comrade. Tymoshenko, Budyonny, Voroshilov, Shaposhnikov, Chief of the General Staff of the Army General, Comrade Zhukov.


  1. Резервную армию подчинить Ставке Верховного Командования с тем, чтобы потом, когда она будет приведена в полную боевую готовность, — подчинить ее главнокомандующему войсками западного направления.


  1. The reserve army should be subordinated to the Headquarters of the High Command so that later, when it is put on full alert, it should be subordinated to the Commander-in-Chief of Western troops.


  1. Обязать главкомов указать в специальном приказе подчиненному им фронтовому и армейскому командованию, что наблюдающиеся факты самовольного отхода и сдачи стратегических пунктов без разрешения высшего командования — позорят Красную Армию, что впредь за самовольный отход виновные командиры будут караться расстрелом.


  1. To oblige the commanders in a special order to indicate to the front-line and army command subordinate to them that the observed facts of unauthorized withdrawal and surrender of strategic points without the permission of the high command disgrace the Red Army, that henceforth for unauthorized withdrawal guilty commanders will be punished by execution.


  1. Обязать главкомов почаще обращаться к войскам своего направления с призывом держаться стойко и самоотверженно защищать нашу землю от немецких грабителей и поработителей.


  1. To oblige commanders-in-chief more often to appeal to the troops of their direction with an appeal to stay steadfast and selflessly to protect our land from German robbers and enslavers.


  1. Обязать главкомов почаще разбрасывать с самолетов в тылу немецких войск небольшие листовки за своей подписью с призывом к населению громить тылы немецких армий, рвать мосты, развинчивать рельсы, поджигать леса, уйти в партизаны, все время беспокоить немцев угнетателей. В призыве указывать, что скоро придет Красная Армия и освободит их от немецкого гнета.


  1. To oblige commanders-in-chief more often to scatter small leaflets signed from the planes in the rear of the German troops with an appeal to the population to smash the rear of the German armies, tear down bridges, open rails, set fire to forests, go into partisans, and disturb Germans of the oppressors all the time. In a call to indicate that the Red Army will come soon and free them from German oppression.


Председатель Государственного

Комитета Обороны


РГАСПИ, Ф 644, Оп. 1, Д. 2 Лл. 1

Chairman of the State

Defense Committee


RGASPY, F 644, Op. 1, D. 2 Ll. 1


Image of Stalin Order 270

This is an image of the Stavka order 270, which was issued on 16 August 1941. It was one the first instances where Stalin ordered Red Army personnel to “fight to the last”, and virtually banned commanders from surrendering, and set out severe penalties for deserters and senior officers regarded as derelicting their duties. Order 270 is widely regarded as the basis of subsequent, often controversial Soviet policies regarding prisoners of war.

Image of Stalin Order 270


“Stavka (General Headquarters) created in USSR”m

“The Great Patriotic War: Headquarters of the Supreme Command. Documents and P89 materials. 1941 year”, Terra Russian Archives

“Order No. 270”, Wikipedia

Campaign Series East Front III | Marshall Budyonny's Dacha

Marshall Semyon M. Budyonny

Marshall Budyonny’s Dacha is the latest series of articles by David Galster that will cover various aspects of scenario design, and some key historical points for Campaign Series: East Front III.







Image of Stalin Order 270