A short biography of anarchist communist and Makhnovist Grigori Gorev
Grigori Gorev was born into a working class family in Ekaterinoslav. He worked there as a mechanic/turner . In 1917-18 he was active in anarchist communist groups in Ekaterinoslav and then Gulyai Polye. He was arrested during the reactionary coup in Gulyai Polye on 16th April 1918, but released on the same day, on the condition that he leave the village.
He and Boris Veretelnikov then immediately organised in each neighbourhood “a meeting with the participation of the older peasants. At these meetings, the peasants voted for resolutions demanding the immediate release of everyone arrested, especially the anarchists, and sent these resolutions to the headquarters of the traitors. All our comrades were freed” (letter from Veretelnikov to Nestor Makhno).
In autumn of that year he joined the Makhnovist insurgents, and served on its headquarters alongside the left communist (but non-Bolshevik) I. Khersonsky and the Left SR Mirgorodsky. In December 1918 he negotiated for the Makhnovists with the Petliurists and the underground Bolshevik Revolutionary Committee in Yekaterinoslav. It was decided not to pursue an alliance with the Petliurists because of their “bourgeois nationalist” character. The end result of the talks was a military alliance with the Bolsheviks and an attack on Ekaterinoslav of their united forces at the end of December 1918, which freed the city for a few days from control by the Petliurists.
Gorev was arrested by the Cheka with other members of the Makhnovist HQ in Ekaterinoslav on April 24th, 1919 and not released until May. On 5th December 1919 he took part in a meeting of the Makhnovist HQ where he reported on the Ataman Grigoriev, and proposed a peaceful solution to the discord between Grigoriev’s forces and the Soviet authorities through mediation by the Makhnovists. This was rejected at the meeting where it was decided to act against Grigoriev, which ended in the killing of Grigoriev himself.
In summer 1919 Gorev died in a battle with the Reds.