Ivanyuk, ?-1921

A short biography of Ivanyuk, independent-minded Makhnovist commander, who died in the last major battle of the movement.

Submitted by Battlescarred on November 4, 2009

"On 26 August we fought another battle…in which we lost our dearest fighters and comrades, Petrenko-Platonov and Ivanyuk”
- Nestor Makhno, quoted in the History of the Makhnovist Movement, Piotr Arshinov.

Ivanyuk was born somewhere in the province of Poltava.

By 1917 he had become an anarchist and in spring 1919 was a member of the Nabat Confederation of Anarchists in Poltava. In May of the same year he joined the Ukrainian anarchist Makhnovist movement.

In mid October 1919 he was appointed commander of a unit of 150 combatants with 3 machine guns. He and other Makhnovists units fought in Kharkov province in a deliberate move by the Makhnovists to smash the forces of counterrevolutionary Denikin from the rear.

He fought against the forces of the White general Denikin until December 1919 when his unit was disarmed by the Red Army.

In 1920 he organised detachments which fought the Bolsheviks, at one time operating with the unit of another Makhnovist, Matvienko.

He was firmly opposed to the new alliance with the Bolsheviks in autumn 1920, but unlike others -Kamenev (Kameniuk), Fomin and Parkhomenko - did not break with the Makhnovists. On the 16th November 1920 he addressed a meeting in Konstantinograd calling for the organisation of Makhnovist volunteer units.

After the treacherous ending of the alliance by the Bolsheviks he was involved in a guerrilla struggle against them. His units combined with the main forces of guerrilla leader Nestor Makhno and was involved in the winter campaign as an infantry commander.

In March 1921 he was sent with his regiment to the Kharkov area to organise new units. In May he was operating with a unit of 500 combatants in Poltava province. On the 18th June he once again re-united with the main Makhnovist forces but then refused to recognise a decision of the Makhnovist staff to leave the Poltava province.

From early July, he operated independently. In battles with the Red Army on the 22nd-23rd July he was severely defeated and he and the surviving one hundred combatants had to go underground. On the 14th August he rejoined the surviving detachment of Makhno and died in the last major battle fought by the Makhnovists in Kherson province.

Nick Heath