Peter Arshinov, History of the Makhnovist Movement (1918-1921), 1923.

Peter Arshinov


Translated by Lorraine and Fredy Perlman

Black & Red


Voline's Preface.
Author's Preface.
  1. Democracy and the Working Masses the Russian Revolution.
  2. The October Upheaval in Great Russia and in the Ukraine.
  3. The Revolutionary Insurrection in the Ukraine. Makhno.
  4. The Fall of the Hetman. Petliurism. Bolshevism.
  5. The Makhnovshchina.
  6. The Makhnovshchina (Continuation). Grigor'ev's Revolt. The Bolsheviks' First Assault on Gulyai-Polye.
  7. The Long Retreat of the Makhnovists and their Victory. Execution of Grigor'ev. Battle of Peregonovka. Rout of Denikin's Troops. Period of Freedom.
  8. Errors of the Makhnovists. Second Bolshevik Assault on the Insurgent Region.
  9. Makhnovist Pact with the Soviet Government. Third Bolshevik Assault.
  10. The Meaning of the National Problem in the Makhnovshchina. The Jewish Question.
  11. Makhno's Personality. Biographical Notes on Some Members of the Movement.
  12. The Makhnovshchina and Anarchism.
Appendix. Some Makhnovist Proclamations.

The present work is the first English translation of Peter Arshinov's Istoriya Makhnovskogo Dvizheniya, originally published in 1923 by the "Gruppa Russkikh Anarkhistov v Germanii" (Group of Russian Anarchists in Germany) in Berlin. It was translated into English by Lorraine and Fredy Perlman.

The English translation follows the Russian original very closely, except in instances when the translators could not find suitable English equivalents for Russian words. The words kulak (wealthy peasant), pomeshchiki (landlords, or gentry), and Cheka (Ch K, the initials of "Extraordinary Commission," the Bolshevik secret security police) were in general not translated into English, since they refer to very specific Russian phenomena which would be erroneously identified with very different phenomena by available English terms. The Russian territorial division, guberniya, was translated as "government" (and not "province" or "department") for similar reasons. The Russian word rabochii refers to workers in the narrower sense (industrial workers or factory workers) and was consistently translated as "workers." However, the Russian word trudyashchiisya is more inclusive and refers to all people who work. In the present translation, the term used for "all those who work" is "working people," and in passages where the composite term would have made the sentence awkward, "workers" was used (instead of "toilers," "laborers," or "working masses," which have occasionally been used by translators who attempted to maintain the distinction between the two Russian words).

The transliteration of Russian words into English follows generally accepted conventions, though not with absolute consistency. Common first names are given in English. The names of well-known cities and regions are spelled the way they appear on most maps. In one instance, the generally-applied conventions of transliteration were modified for the sake of pronunciation: Gulyai-Pole (pronounced gool-yai pol-ye) is here spelled Gulyai-Polye.

In addition to Voline's Preface, the map of the insurgent region and the portait of Makhno, all of which appear in the present edition, the original edition also contained an Appendix with a "Protest" by anarchists and syndicalists against Makhno's arrest and imprisonment in Poland on a false charge. Makhno was released soon after Arshinov's book appeared, and the "Protest" is not included in the present edition. The Appendix to the present edition contains documents of the Makhnovist movement: eleven proclamations issued by the Makhnovist insurgent army. These proclamations were translated from Russian by Ann Allen.

The people who took part in the publication of the present work are neither publishers who invested capital in order to profit from the sale of a commodity on the book market, nor wage workers who produced a commodity in order to be paid for their time. Every phase of the work -- from the translation and editing of the manuscript, to the typesetting and printing of the book -- was carried out by individuals who were moved by Arshinov's account, and who were willing to do the necessary work in order to share this important and virtually unknown book with a larger number of readers.