History of Ukraine

Nestor Makhno and his lieutenants ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1918 Jan 1 - 1919



The Makhnovshchina was an attempt to form a stateless anarchist society in parts of Ukraine during the Russian Revolution of 1917–1923. It existed from 1918 to 1921, during which time free soviets and libertarian communes operated under the protection of Nestor Makhno's Revolutionary Insurgent Army. The area had a population of around seven million.

The Makhnovshchina was established with the capture of Huliaipole by Makhno's forces on 27 November 1918. An insurgent staff was set up in the city, which became the territory's de facto capital. Russian forces of the White movement, under Anton Denikin, occupied part of the region and formed a temporary government of Southern Russia in March 1920, resulting in the de facto capital being briefly moved to Katerynoslav (modern-day Dnipro). In late March 1920, Denikin's forces retreated from the area, having been driven out by the Red Army in cooperation with Makhno's forces, whose units conducted guerrilla warfare behind Denikin's lines. The Makhnovshchina was disestablished on 28 August 1921, when a badly wounded Makhno and 77 of his men escaped through Romania after several high-ranking officials were executed by Bolshevik forces. Remnants of the Black Army continued to fight until late 1922.

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