Voluntary People's Druzhina

Voluntary People's Druzhina

Voluntary People's Druzhina (Добровольная Народная Дружина, Д НД, Dobrovolnaya Narodnaya Druzhina, DND) variously translated as Voluntary People’s Guard, People’s Volunteer Squads, People's Volunteer Militia, etc. were voluntary detachments for maintaining public order in the Soviet Union similar to the Neighborhood Watch. People's Druzhinas still exist in the modern Russia, although not as a universal establishment of the former USSR.


People's Druzhinas in support of law enforcement were introduced in Russian Empire in 1913.

After the Russian Revolution of 1917 there were various forms of non-governmental workers and peanants' organizations, which were disbanded by early 1930s. Instead the Voluntary Society for Support of Militsiya (ОСОДМИЛ) was created. In 1932 it was subordinated to militsiya and renamed to "Militsiya Support Brigades". (БРИГАДМИЛ).

Soviet Union

The system of VPDs was introduced according to the joint resolution of the CPSU Central Committee and USSR Council of Ministers of March 2, 1959 On the Participation of the Workers in the Maintenance of Public Order, which formalized and widely propagated the 1958 Leningrad invention of the Voluntary People's Druzhina formally independent of militsiya. The druzhinas were not subordinated to militsiya and the management staff was established from various Soviet organizations: Soviets, trade unions, Komsomol, etc. The patrolling druzhinas themselves were often accompanied by police officers (militsioners), for general guidance and official support. Although druzhinas were informal, they could perform citizen arrests of various petty offenders: drunkards, hooligans, etc. Druzininniks were also used to support militsiya in performing non-dangerous arrests and other law enforcement duties.

The 1974 USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium Ukase "About the Main Duties and Rights of Voluntary People's Drushina in Guarding the Public Order" governed the druzhinas until the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Druzhinas mostly operated in urban neighborhoods. Druzhinniks were distinguished by red armbands with the text Д НД on them. While it was called "voluntary", this adjective must be taken cum grano salis, bearing in mind the political system of the Soviet Union. Like with other numerous "volunteer" Soviet organizations, patrolling in druzhina was a regular duty for certain categories of workers and students.


Attempts to reestablish public law enforcement organizations in Russia started as early as in 1992. Currently there is active Narodnaya Druzhina organization in Moscow.

See also

  • See Druzhina article for etymology and usage of the term.


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