historyАleksandr Shubin. “The Makhnovist Movement and the National Question in the Ukraine (1917-1921)”

This is a brilliant chapter of the book Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World (1870-1940) [eds. Steven Hirsch and Lucien van der Walt, Brill, 2010] in which Shubin discusses the anarchist movement led by the Ukrainian Nestor Makhno from Tsardom’s collapse in 1917 to its crushing by Lenin and Trotsky in 1921. Shubin tells the reader that early Russian anarchism grew out of the narodnik movement of the 1860s and 1870s, but was completely destroyed by the Tsarist police, and was only revived a generation later, with strongholds, especially in the Ukraine. Literate Russians (in the broad vague sense) were certainly aware of the Russian roots of contemporary anarchism—Bakunin and Kropotkin—but their traces are only dimly visible in this account. The uniqueness of Makhno is that he came to power in large parts of the Ukraine thanks…

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