A query for Russian or Ukrainian speakers

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Red Marriott
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Oct 2 2009 17:27
A query for Russian or Ukrainian speakers

A friend bought these Makhnovist banknotes some years ago from a note dealer (who considered them less valuable than other vintage notes not 'defaced' by being over-stamped). Can someone please translate what the Makhnovist stamped words say?


gypsy
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Oct 2 2009 21:33

Wow, thats pretty cool. Where where these purchased btw?

akai
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Oct 2 2009 23:22

That's Ukrainian. Part of one word is written with .... and, if I understand correctly it means that they're gonna kill the people who don't accept this money. Signed First Revolutionary Army of Ukraine.

Boris Badenov
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Oct 3 2009 02:12

the dude on the banknotes looks like a mix between Santana and Gadaffi, and absolutely nothing like Makhno (if indeed that's supposed to be him).
Also, I don't know the context of this, but "anarchist money"? I think there's a bit of a problem there.

gypsy
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Oct 3 2009 07:39
akai wrote:
That's Ukrainian. Part of one word is written with .... and, if I understand correctly it means that they're gonna kill the people who don't accept this money. Signed First Revolutionary Army of Ukraine.

charming laugh out loud

akai
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Oct 3 2009 09:06

Actually, I think you don't understand the context of this "money". There probably is some false information about this going around but this was'nt money issued by Makhnovists. (Although historically some anarchists have advocated alternative and local currency and even different ways of calculating value, ie by time.)

The situation was that in Ukraine at the time, there were different currencies in circulation. A major problem during the civil war was that peasants who had land could always barter and trade good they had. Industrial and other workers from the cities and provincial centers however had received wages in different currencies which some had problems using. The Ukrainian nationalists, Russian whites and Bolsheviks had all issued their money and, when they had control of a region, workers were paid with this currency. Then, imagine what would happen if a worker who had nationalist banknotes found himself in Bolshevik controlled territory and tried to use this money. Every time power changed, the new people in charge said the former currency was worthless. Many, many working people had a problem that people did not want to recognize their money. That's why Makhnovists stamped all different money and demanded that people accept it when workers wanted to use it. And that's why there was a threat attached.

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Red Marriott
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Oct 3 2009 10:17

Thanks, akai. I altered the thread name, as It's Ukrainian. Here is what Michael Malet said in his book;

Quote:
One civilian problem which the Makhnovists did not know how to handle at all, for reasons to be shown, was that of money, especially on a large scale and in the towns. Peasants could produce much of the food they needed for themselves, even if the farm gates and machinery deteriorated through lack of spare parts, and there were shortages of basic commodities like salt, paraffin, and matches. They could largely do without money if they had to. A worker, however, must have money before he can buy food. In the chaotic transport conditions of late 1919, regular barter was no answer. In the anarchist society, money would be abolished, but that was not yet. The Makhnovists, elated by their military successes, felt the third revolution was just round the corner, and so their attitude to the workers' sufferings was rather cavalier.

The problem of inflation became worse as the civil war progressed, and more and more paper money was issued by the various contenders for power in nominal settlement of their debts. It is not certain whether Makhno printed any: one account suggests that he did so, stating on the back that no-one would be prosecuted for forging it! This would certainly be in character: it was the usual practice-rather tiresome for the ordinary inhabitants-for each regime to declare illegal all currencies except its own, but Makhno was an exception. A proclamation at Nykopil said that 'Cash and credit notes - Romanov, Kerenski, Soviet, Ukrainian, Duma, Don - coupons of all sorts, are exchangeable. Those guilty of not fulfilling this order will be treated as counter-revolutionaries'.

This was put into practice, as the contributions levied on the bourgeoisies of Olexandrivske, Katerynoslav, Berdyansk and Nykopil were paid in all types of money. Bolsheviks point out that Makhno helped himself also to whatever was in the banks, especially in Katerynoslav. Volin summed up the Makhnovist and anarchist attitudes, and their blissful ignorance of their effect on the workers, particularly the vicious cruelty of high-rate inflation, when he averred: 'Should the people not really decide the financial question, since they possess such huge amounts of notes?'

Despite this, there was preference in what the Makhnovists gave out, if not what they took in. Currency values fluctuated wildly with the military fortunes of the issuing authority: thus, towards the end of the occupation of Katerynoslav, the rating of Soviet money improved in expectation of the return of the Red Army. However, for most of the occupation RVS policy was to hand out Soviet money when Don-Denikin money was appreciating.

There are no estimates for money given out by the insurgents in Olexandrivske; figures for Katerynoslav vary between 3 and 10 million roubles. Even given the prevailing rate of inflation, the former figure would feed 4000 families for a month. Something like a department of Social Security was set up, although their contemporary counterparts might balk at the comparison. The recipients -mainly poor local people, released prisoners, families of Red Army men -were let in one at a time, their passports scrutinised, extent of the need asked, the grant decided: this, and the name of the applicant were written down, and the money handed over from a pile on the floor, no receipt being asked for. Women, widows of workers and others in pressing need could receive up to 1000 roubles: a typical amount might be 500 roubles, which would certainly keep the wolf from the door for up to three weeks.

A large amount of food, including flour, salt, and sausage was also disbursed: the handout continued right up to the last day of the occupation. On the other side of the coin, a confiscation order was made against all the Katerynoslav pawnshops, presumably on the grounds that their owners were fleecing the holders of pledges. The order was reversed after a general outcry led by the Bolshevik paper `Star'. The Makhnovists had simply forgotten that the poor holders would be worst affected of all by the order. Nor did the Makhnovists attempt to control prices. White bread, 18-20 roubles under Denikin, rose to 25 under Makhno, down to 12-16 under the Soviet regime - but these are Soviet figures.

If the Makhnovists helped to create confusion by their attitude to finance, they also alleviated it by generous grants to those in need, with a minimum of red tape, something few other administrations then or since can boast of. Whether such a policy was viable in the longer term is a completely different question.
(Nestor Makhno in the Russian Civil War - M. Malet; Macmillan Press, 1982.)

akai
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Oct 3 2009 19:26

Thanks for sending that. To tell the truth, I have never read Malet's book and don't know if it has any slant, but I have read some criticisms of Makhno's economic practices. I don't have any realiable information about the real economic effects of these practices with money and believe that most of the commentary is largely conjecture based on various people's economic views. But this was all merely an attempt to alleviate the problems people were having with worthless money.

I also read at least a few accounts of Makhovist "money" but believe they are false references to the notes with stamps. Several anarchist contemporaries of Makhno claimed they did not issue money.