A short biography of anarchist and Makhovist Yakov Maskalevsky alias Gold Tooth
Yakov Maskalevsky was born in the village of Katerinovka, in the Marinsky district.
During the First World War he was awarded a Knighthood of Saint George and was promoted to ensign. After the war he worked as a miner. Around 1918 he became active in the anarchist movement and organised a large partisan detachment, with 600-700 cavalry, and 30-40 tachankas (carts with machine guns). This detachment fought against both the Whites and the Reds.
The detachment affiliated to the Makhnovist movement. The Maskalevsky detachment distributed land to the peasants and fought the Red requisition squads. Not one of his partisans robbed any member of the local population. The detachment took part in battles near Gulyai Pole and Alexandrovsk and Makhno honoured Maskalevsky for his bravery. Maskalevsky was known as “Gold Tooth” by the Whites.
On 13th July 1921 the Maskalevsky detachment defeated the 2nd company of the Cheka military unit from the village of Maryevka, who were forced to flee towards the Voznesensky mines. Later in the day he joined up with the main Makhnovist forces , having left a unit of 300 cavalry with 10 machiine guns in Maryevka. Maskalevsky then went with the rest of his detachment to Novo-Mikhailovka which he also occupied, before moving with the main Makhnovist forces towards the Taganrog district.
In late February 1921 the Makhnovist leadership dispersed its units under pressure from the Red Army. Maskalevsky with 20 combatants was sent to find support for the Makhnovists in the Yuzovsky district but without any real results.
By now the partisans of Maskalevsky’s detachment were tired of war and hankered after their families. The detachment began to disperse.
Yet in 1922, Maskalevsky still had 250 to 300 combatants with him. However at the end of 1922, he was captured in the area of the village of Novobeshevo and shot “whilst trying to escape”.
With his death, the detachment dispersed, with some going off to look for other Makhnovist units, but by now the movement was defeated.