Ukrainian anarcho-communist revolutionary Nestor Makhno's history of the revolution in Ukraine and the role of the Makhnovist movement.
I dedicate this volume to the memory of my dead friends and comrades who struggled with me to organize revolutionary Ukrainian workers to bring about a free, anarchist communist society:
Peter Gavrilenko, Alexander Kalashnikov, Moise Kalinichenko, Simon Karetnik, Philip Krat, Isidor (Peter) Lyutyi, Alexis Marchenko, Savva Makhno, Andrei Semenyuta, Gabriel Troyan, Stepan Shepel, Boris Veretelnik, Kh. Gorelik, Pavel Korostilev (Khundai), Luc Panchenko, Abram Shnayder, and others.
They perished under various circumstances but always in pursuit of the same goal: the realization and putting into practice of the concepts of liberty, equality, and free labour.
On the occasion of publishing the initial volume of "The Russian Revolution in Ukraine" I find it necessary to add a few words of explanation.
In the first place, I must advise the reader that this work lacks a number of important documents: the resolutions and proclamations of the Gulyai-Pole Union of Peasants, the Soviet of Workers' and Peasants' Delegates, and their ideological driving force – the Gulyai Pole Peasant Anarcho-Communist Group.
The Anarcho-Communist Group struggled to unite the peasants and workers of the Gulyai-Pole region under its own banners. Always in the vanguard of the revolutionary movement, the Anarcho-Communist Group explained to the peasants and workers the significance of unfolding events, clarifying the goals of the workers in general as well as the aims of the anarcho-communist movement which in spirit most closely approaches the peasant mentality.
Secondly, this volume lacks photographs of the members of the Gulyai-Pole Peasant Group of Anarcho-Communists, which, accompanied by brief biographical notes, would have occupied the first place in this volume. This group formed an essential part of the Russian Revolution in Ukraine and was the guiding force of the movement to which it gave rise, the "Revolutionary Makhnovshchina". The theory and practice of this movement lead to a whole range of very important issues which I am trying to present to the workers of the world for discussion.
How fitting it would have been to publish photographs of these revolutionaries, who, emerging from the depths of the toiling masses and under my ideological and organizational guidance, created a powerful anti-statist revolutionary movement of the broad masses of Ukrainian workers. As is well known, this movement identified itself with the black banners of the Revolutionary Makhnovshchina.
To my great sorrow, no possibility now exists of obtaining photographs of these unknown peasant revolutionaries...
This work is an historically accurate account of the Russian Revolution in general and our role in it in particular. My version could only be disputed by those "experts" who, while not taking any effective part in revolutionary events and in fact left behind by those events, have nevertheless succeeded in passing themselves off to revolutionaries of other countries as people with a profound and detailed knowledge of the Russian Revolution. The objections of such experts can be attributed to their failure to understand what it is they are criticizing.
I have one regret concerning the present work – that it is not being published in Ukraine and in the Ukrainian language. Culturally the Ukrainian people are moving forward to the full realization of their unique qualities and this work could have played a role in that development. But if I cannot publish my work in the language of my own country, the fault is not mine but is due to the conditions in which I find myself.
Nestor Makhno, 1926
P. S. I must express my deep comradely appreciation to the French comrade Eugene Wentzel who has rendered me invaluable assistance, allowing me to find the time to edit my notes and prepare the present volume for publication.