Krat, Filipp Mefodiovich (or Mikheevich) 1885/1886-1921)

Krat with wife Stepanida
Krat with wife Stepanida

A short biography of Filipp Krat, anarchist communist and Makhnovist.

Submitted by Battlescarred on September 12, 2021

Filipp Krat was born into a peasant family in Gulyai Polye in 1885 or 1886. He became an anarchist communist in 1907, and was a mainstay of the local anarchist communist group. He worked in the local factories. He is featured in the famous photo of the group, standing in the second row on the left. He is one of those fallen militants to whom Nestor Makhno dedicated his book, The Russian Revolution in the Ukraine.

When Makhno was imprisoned and other militants of the group were hanged, Krat and other anarchist communists kept the group going right through the war up to 1917, when a new wave of younger militants increased the size of the group to eighty. He served as its secretary, and with Alexander Kalashnikov, Savva Makhno, Prokhor Korostelev, and M. Shramko, was one of those anarchist communist militants imprisoned in Alexandrovsk after the murderous attack on Gulyai Polye in April 1918 by nationalists working in conjunction with the German forces.

Released after the Armistice, Filipp Krat became involved, like Savva Makhno, in economic organisation, whilst others like Kalashnikov became involved in military activity. As such, he served on the local Land Committee, and was active in trade union work.

In November 1918 he joined the Makhnovist forces and was a commander in the 3rd Zadneprovsky Brigade and then the Revolutionary Insurgent Army.

In May 1921, many former Makhnovists surrendered to the Bolsheviks, and some of them, under pressure from the Cheka, called on any remaining Makhnovist combatants to surrender. Among those who had surrendered to the Reds were Alexei Chubenko, Makhno’s former adjutant, and Feodisiy Vinnik,(1) a former leading light in the Kontrrazvedka counter-intelligence service of the Makhnovists. In exchange for not being tortured and subsequently shot, Vinnik and Chubenko made deals with the Bolsheviks, Vinnik promising to plot to assassinate Makhno (this did not save him in the long run, as he was shot by the Cheka in February 1922 (Chubenko survived until at least 1930, having written memoirs of his time with the Makhnovists under Chekist supervision).

The body of Filipp Krat was found in the vicinity of Gulyai Polye on April 28th, 1921, alongside that of another anarchist and Makhnovist, Tikhenko, also from the village, who had in autumn of 1918 fought on the front lines near the villages of Pologi and Tsarekonstantinovka, and had later served as head of the supply department at the headquarters of the 3rd Zadneprovsky Brigade and then with the Makhnovist staff.

According to Anatoly Dubovik, Krat and Tikhenko “were tracked down and killed on their own initiative by a group of amnestied people, probably led by Chubenko, on their own initiative”.

Nick Heath

(1) Feodisy Mikhailovich Vinnik, born 1896 in the village of Kushugum of the Alexandrovsk district. In 1916 served in the Tsarist army. In 1918 joined the Makhnovist movement. Here he often operated under the pseudonym of Belenky. According to both Chubenko and investigating unit of Cheka, was head of Makhnovist counter-intelligence. Was member of the Council of Revolutionary Insurgents, and commander of a Makhnovist detachment in Alexandrovsk province in 1921. On 24th February, 1922, sentenced for his involvement in Makhnovists by the head of the Department to Combat Banditry, and shot on same day.