Subversive Historian – 09/26/08

The Makhnovist Defeat of the White Army

Eighty-nine years ago on this day in people’s history, anarchist guerrilla fighters under the command of Nestor Makhno routed White Army forces in the Ukraine. On September 26th, 1919, the defeat of General Denikin’s forces was a pivotal moment in the Russian Civil War that followed the Bolshevik Revolution. The Makhnovists and the Red Army had been retreating for months before the battle as the White Army advanced both in the Ukraine and in Moscow. The Anarchist forces bolstered their ranks in the summer with many Red Army soldiers defecting to them, but were still numerically outnumbered. Nevertheless Makhno’s peasant insurrection managed to destroy two White Army regiments and General Denikin had to send troops from Moscow to the Ukraine which relieved pressure on the Red Army.

What gesture of gratitude did the Bolsheviks ultimately extend to the Makhnovists? The following year on Lenin’s orders they were to be arrested as common criminals. How revolutionary…

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