A short biography of the anarchist Vladimir Makaryants , murdered by the Soviet regime.
Vladimir Makaryants was an Armenian born in Moscow in 1909. He came from a family of intelligentsia, his father being a lawyer. At the age of fifteen he began to read anarchist literature and became an anarchist communist.
Whilst still at school he distributed anarchist propaganda. In 1929 he was arrested for participating in the anarchist underground- the group around Pastukhov, Andreevna etc , numbering up to a dozen- and in helping produce an underground paper. He was sentenced to three years, and was sent to the Urals. In Sverdlovsk, he became a member of the exile anarchist community. He was described by another anarchist there, I.Y. Salmanovich, as “very well read, theoretically prepared as an anarchist” and as acutely anti-Bolshevik.
In 1932 he was moved from Sverdlovsk to Tobolsk. Probably with the help of other anarchists there, he got a job as a factory economist.
On 8th February 1934 he was arrested again on suspicion of anarchist activity. He immediately began a hunger strike (including refusing to drink water) after being put among common law prisoners. In his first police interview he had refused to name people who had written letters to him “for reasons of common decency”.
The security police were forced to release him after eight days hunger strike “taking into account the painful condition of his health”. He had barely recovered when he went on hunger strike again, this time not to defend himself but in solidarity with fellow anarchist communist Samuel Ruvinsky,(1) arrested in April 1934 in Voronezh. A failure to find any evidence of underground activity against Ruvinsky led the State police to prefer a charge of sabotage. This was a precedent in the persecution of the anarchists, sabotage being seen as a criminal act and so moving towards outright criminalisation.
However at a special meeting of the NKVD he was sentenced to five years of “corrective labour camp” for counter-revolutionary activities,serving this in the appalling Solovski prison camp on the Solovetsky islands in the White Sea.
There he took part in a collective hunger strike in May 1937, with the demand that political prisoners be transferred to the political prisoner regimen (politrezhim), which had greater privileges than those of common law prisoners. However the prison governor informed him that the politrezhim had been abolished, and that Social Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and Anarchists were considered as having committed criminal offences, with all the consequences.
On February 14th, 1938 he was sentenced to death by a special NKVD troika (three person commission) for carrying out counter-revolutionary propaganda among prisoners. He was shot on February 17th and buried at Solovki.
(1) Samuel Aaronovitch Ruvinsky ( sometimes given as Puvinsky with a 'P'). Born 1904, Jewish. His father was a clerk. Native of Kiev province. Educated up to technical level. Became anarchist communist. Arrested in December 1924 as member of Sebastopol Anarchist Group. Sentenced 15th January 1925 to 3 years at Solovki, then exiled to Minusinsk. Married to Rosa Kemper, with two children. In Kursk, because of his engineering ability, he became head of design department. The secret police were to accuse him of using this possession for reasons of sabotage.