By Colin Darch
Histories of the Russian Revolution often present the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917 as the central event, neglecting the diverse struggles of urban and rural revolutionaries across the heartlands of the Russian Empire. This book takes as its subject one such struggle, the anarcho-communist peasant revolt led by Nestor Makhno in left-bank Ukraine, locating it in the context of the final collapse of the Empire that began in 1914.
Between 1917 and 1921, the Makhnovists fought German and Austrian invaders, reactionary monarchist forces, Ukrainian nationalists and some times the Bolsheviks themselves. Drawing upon anarchist ideology, the Makhnovists gathered widespread support amongst the Ukrainian peas antry, taking up arms when under attack and playing a significant role - in temporary alliance with the Red Army in the defeats of the White Generals Denikin and Wrangel. Here Colin Darch analyses the success es and failures of the Makhnovist movement - often dismissed as a kulak revolt, or a manifestation of Ukrainian nationalism- emphasising its revolutionary character