Seregin, Grigory Ivanovich (1884-1938) aka Sergienko

A short biography of anarchist communist and Makhnovist Grigori Seregin

Submitted by Battlescarred on October 1, 2021

Grigory Seregin was born into a peasant family in Kaluga province in western Russia. He moved with his family at an early age to Gulyai Polye.He worked as a fitter-turner in a metal factory and in 1917 was one of those who joined the Gulyai Polye Anarchist Communist Group. A member of the factory committee and on the council of the local metalworkers union, from September 1917 to April 1918 he was also the chairman of the Gulyai Polye industrial commune, the chairman of the food administration, and a member of the local volost zemstvo (unit of self-government instituted under Tsarism in rural districts).

As an active member of the Anarchist Communist Group he took a leading role in the Provisioning Section, which allowed him to establish direct relations between workers in Moscow textile factories and the Gulyai Polye raion (district). Workers would supply textiles of predetermined quality, quantity and colour in return for grain and other products.

Seregin sent agents to Moscow and other cities and travelled all over the district to meet delegations of workers who were trying to acquire grain. These delegations were controlled by the Cheka and other Bolshevik functionaries. Seregin managed to establish contact with workers in the Morozov and Prokhorov textile factories.

In his book The Russian Revolution in Ukraine, Nestor Makhno wrote: “I recall with what great joy Comrade Seregin, upon his return to Gulyai-Pole, without taking time to stop at his own apartment, ran to find me at the Revkom (Revolutionary Committee N.H.) and hugged me, saying: “You were right, Nestor, when you insisted to the Group on the necessity of fusing ourselves with the labouring population: explaining, advising, and moving forward with them towards our goals. All the toilers are behind us...Two or three days later two members of the delegation arrived in Gulyai-Polye in order to sound out the mood of the peasants in this insurgent raion. They were met with fraternal hospitality and were assured that we were committed to defending the great principles of the Revolution — liberty and the freedom to work without being subject to the authority of capital and the state”.

Seregin took an active part in the Makhnovist movement from the end of 1918, and served on its Military Revolutionary Council (RVS), and at the Makhnovist HQ. He was the secretary of the 11th regional congress of front-line soldiers in Gulyai Polye (February 12th-18th, 1918). In March 1919, he was approved for the position of Assistant Chief of the Supply Division of Makhno. His chief preoccupation was organising supplies to the Makhnovist detachments, acting as assistant head of the supply division.

On October 28th 1921 he fled abroad with Makhno to first Romania and then Poland, where he was held in camps and prisons. In 1924 he took advantage of an amnesty and returned to Russia (another account says that he returned illegally the following year). He apparently left the anarchist movement, and by 1930 was working as a fitter in an Alexandrovsk factory.

He was shot by the Cheka in Alexandrovsk (now Zaporozhye) on October 5th, 1937, as one of the victims of the mass purge of former Makhnovists carried out by the Stalin regime in 1937 to 1938.

Nick Heath