A short biography of Avraam Budanov, who fought with the Makhnovists and continued an underground struggle after the defeat of the movement
Avraam Budanov came from a peasant family in Slavyanoserbsk in Ekaterinoslav province. Industrialisation meant that the family ended up in Lugansk, and Avraam was born there, in a working class district. For a long time historians of the Makhnovist movement considered him as one of its Jewish members because of his first name but It appears that he came from the Bulgarian national minority in the Ukraine, who were fond of giving their children biblical names.
.From childhood he worked as a fitter in Lugansk. He became an anarchist-communist in 1905, and took part in revolutionary activities in the Donbas basin between1905-1907. In 1917-18 he was an activist of the anarchist movement in the Ukraine, organising anarchist groups and unions among the miners. With the invasion of the Austro-German troops he fled to Russia. In autumn 1918 he joined the Confederation of Anarchists of the Ukraine –Nabat. At the end of 1918 as part of an anarchist group he travelled to Yuzovka to take part in underground work against the Austro-German puppet Hetman Skoropadsky. In May 1919 he moved to Gulyai Polye where he joined the Makhnovists. At his initiative the cultural-education section of the Makhnovists was set up. His work was much aided by the arrival of a large group of anarchists from Ivanovo-Voznesensk, a textile town north-east of Moscow, and later by other anarchists like Arshinov.
In June 1919, when the Bolsheviks passed an edict outlawing the Makhnovists, Avraam went underground and entered the Red Army as an ordinary soldier where he carried out agitation. He was one of the organisers of the anarchist-Makhnovist uprising in the 58th Red Division on the 20th August 1919 alongside the anarchists Dermenzhi ( who had been one of the mutineers on the Battleship Potemkin in 1905) and Kalashnikov, a former Makhnovist commander who had retained the rank of regimental commander. Other Red Army commanders and commissars were arrested and the Division consisting of 40,000 changed its name to the Southern Group of the Makhnovists and set out to join the main body. This was a massive blow for the Bolsheviks, whose forces in the southern Ukraine and Crimea had now practically disappeared.
Budanov was elected Chief of Staff of the 1st Don Corps of the Makhnovists and took part in the offensive against the White general Denikin in autumn-winter 1919, which led to his complete defeat. In October he took part in the capture of Elizavetgrad and Krivoi Rog.
In January 1920, with renewed attacks on the Makhnovists by the Bolsheviks, he went underground and hid in Gulyai Polye. In February 1920 he led a guerrilla unit near Ekaterinoslav And in May was elected head of the cultural-educational section of the Makhnovists in which post he remained until September. In August he was operating in Donetsk province with a force of 1,100.
At the end of September 1920, Makhnovists were forced to end the armed struggle and Budanov was one of those sent to the Soviet government of the Ukraine to negotiate a ceasefire. Negotiations included demands for recognition of a free anarchist zone in the Ekaterinoslav, Alexandrovsk and Tauride provinces. In mid-November 1920 he returned to Gulyai Polye to report on negotiations, thus missing the mass round-up of anarchists and Makhnovists.
In January 1921 he led a small detachment in the Donbas, conducting a guerrilla war against the Bolsheviks. In early 1922 he was captured and put into the GPU (the new name for the Cheka) prison under sentence of death. In 1923 he was released on bail. In the 1920s he lived in Mariupol. Here he organised an underground Nabat group and established links with other Makhnovist and anarchist groups, including outside of the Soviet Union. He carried out underground agitation among workers and peasants in Mariupol and the surrounding villages, with the distribution of leaflets. In 1928 with the advent of the forced State collectivisation of the peasantry, the Budanov group started to plan the setting up of new guerrilla groups, gathering weapons and ammunition. In late 1928 the OGPU (yet another name change for the Cheka) uncovered the group. Avraam Budanov was shot in late 1928 or in 1929, along with Panteleimon Belochub (who had been a Makhnovist artillery commander). The seven or eight other members of the group received 10 years imprisonment.