An irony of the Russian civil war


A short account of Vasko-Bogdan who started out as an anarchist and met his end fighting the Makhnovists

Submitted by Battlescarred on September 17, 2013

Vasily Alexandrovich Bogdanov was a Russian sailor who described himself as an anarchist internationalist, that is, he was in total opposition to the First World War. He was involved in the fighting during the Civil War and felt that he had to cooperate with the Bolsheviks. He was usually known as Vasko-Bogdan.

Alexei Fedorov , who was acquainted with him, describes in his book October Dawns (1962) how he first met Vasko-Bogdan in Petrograd at the Smolny where he described himself as an anarchist internationalist, and that in many ways he did not agree with the Bolsheviks, but was convinced that the revolution would end the rule of the privileged. Fedorov renewed his acquaintance with Vasko-Bogdan a year later at the Military Academy in Moscow named after the Bolshevik Frunze:

“ “How did you get here?” I blurted out.
“Obviously, the same as you” was the answer.
…….He's as thin, with the same sad black eyes, like a year ago at the Smolny.”

“You're still an anarchist?” Fedorov enquired, to which Vasko-Bogdan replied in the affirmative, qualifying the statement by saying that he was firmly following the Communists, in order to clear “vermin “ from Russia and that revolution was a “serious, serious “ business.

He joined the Communist Party and became commissar for the Briansk region in 1918. He was involved in fighting in the Urals near Ufa with the Czech Legion. There he fought alongside the detachment led by the anarchist Zhebenev (See his biography here at libcom). Later he led the 3rd Highland regiment.

He later fought on the eastern front against the whites of Admiral Kolchak.

But in 1921 he was involved in fighting with Makhnovist forces and was killed. He was buried on the 12th May at the Vagankovsky cemetery in Moscow.

Nick Heath

Fedorov: 1.html