This book looks in depth at the Soviet militia. It aims to aid understanding of the authoritarianism of the communist system and its legacy for Russia and the successor states. The militia was created immediately after the Russian revolution and throughout the communist period played a central role in controlling a highly centralized Socialist state. As the communist regime collapsed, the militia was increasingly thrust into the front line of political conflict, a task it was not suited to perform. Despite the efforts of perestroika to reform it, the collapse of the Soviet state led to the collapse of morale within the militia.