On 17 January 1921, the decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR On Aircraft Movement was issued.
With the development of civil aviation, there was a need to create an air traffic control system as well. The birth of civil aviation in Russia took place at the very beginning of the 1920s after the end of the Civil War. Then there appeared a need to create an air traffic control system above the territory of the country, including establishment of the relevant regulations. On 17 January 1921, Vladimir Lenin signed the decree On Air Movements in the Airspace Above the Territory of the RSFSR and Above Its Territorial Waters, which became the first legislative act of Soviet Russia in the field of air law.
Before the revolution, there were only orders on forbidden zones and on the prohibition of border flights, issued between 1912–1914.
First of all, the decree established and legally consolidated the full and exclusive sovereignty of the Soviet Union in the airspace above its land and water territories, established the basic rules for flying in the skies of the Republic of its own and foreign aircraft, determined the responsibility of ship owners and pilots for violating the flight rules. In order to ensure the security of the state, some restrictions were also imposed.
The main control body responsible for the organization of air traffic and the implementation of the decree on the ground, became the Main Directorate of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Fleet. A few days after the release of the document, a commission was created to ensure a program for the development of aviation construction. The decree applied to all republics of the USSR.
In February 1923, the resolution was adopted On the Imposing of Technical Supervision of Air Lines to the General Directorate of the Air Fleet and On the Organization of the Civil Aviation Council. Today, this date is considered the official birthday of the Russian civil aviation.
All this became the basis for the creation of a full-fledged air fleet in the country. And the provisions of the decree subsequently formed the basis of the first Air Code of the USSR, approved on 27 April 1932.
Translated by Elizaveta O. Ovchinnikova