The Unknown Revolution, Book Three

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(1882 - 1945) ~ Bolshevik-Aligned Leader of the Russian Nabat Anarchists : March of 1920 saw him taken to Moscow, where he would remain prisoner until October, when he and many other anarchists were released by virtue of a treaty between the Soviet Union and Makhno's army. Voline then returned to Kharkov, resuming his old activities... (From : Rudolph Rocker Bio.)
• "Socialism, so mighty in Germany, Austria and Italy, has proved powerless. 'Communism', itself very strong, especially in Germany, has proved powerless. The trade unions have proved powerless. How are we to account for this?" (From : "The Unknown Revolution," by Voline.)
• "Yet there is consolation to be had. The masses learn through all too palpable first hand experience. And the experience is there." (From : "The Unknown Revolution," by Voline.)
• "As we know, there it was an authoritarian state communism (Bolshevism) that scored a stunning and rather easy victory in the events of 1917. Now, these days, nearly seventeen years on from that victory, not only is communism proving powerless to resist fascism abroad, but, where the regime within the USSR itself is concerned, the latter is more and more often being described more and more deliberately as 'red fascism'." (From : "The Unknown Revolution," by Voline.)


This document contains 14 sections, with 86,068 words or 568,014 characters.

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Foreword Part I. Kronstadt Chapter 1. Geographical Notes Chapter 2. Kronstadt Before the Revolution Chapter 3. Kronstadt as the Vanguard of the Revolution Chapter 4. Kronstadt Turns Against the Bolshevik Imposture Chapter 5. Last Act: The End of Independence Part II. Ukraine (1918–1921) Chapter 1. Mass Movement in the Ukraine Chapter 2. Formation of the Makhnovist Insurrectionary Army Chapter 3. Denikin’s Offensives and Final Defeat Chapter 4. The Makhnovists in the Liberated Regions Chapter 5. W... (From :

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Foreword Independently of the reactions towards the right [which took place in Russia after the October Revolution of 1917] there also occurred, during and after the same period, a series of movements in the opposite direction. These were revolutionary movements, which fought the Bolshevik power in the name of true liberty and of the principles of the Social Revolution which that power had scoffed at and trampled underfoot. Indeed, even within the ranks of the government and of the Communist Party itself, movements of opposition and revolt were provoked by the stifling statism and centralism, the terrifying tendency towards bureaucracy, the flagrant social impotence and the shameless violence of the Bolsheviks. It was thus that, in the summer of 1918, the Left Social-Revolutionaries, who until then had participated in the government, left it, broke with the Bolsheviks, and declared against them. They soon succumb... (From :

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Chapter 4. Kronstadt Turns Against the Bolshevik Imposture We are now approaching the crucial point of the Kronstadt epic: its desperate and heroic struggle, in March, 1921, against the usurpations of the Bolsheviks, and the consequent termination of its independence. The first dissensions between the men of Kronstadt and the new government took place almost immediately after the October Revolution. The slogan of All Power to the Local Soviets meant to Kronstadt the independence of each locality, of each Soviet, of each social organization in the matters which concerned it alone. It meant the right to take initiatives, to make decisions, and to act without asking permission from the “center”. According to this interpretation, the “center” could neither dictate nor impose its will on the local Soviets, since each Soviet, each workers’ and peasants’ organization, was its own master. Of co... (From :

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Chapter 6. Third and Last War of the Bolsheviks Against the Makhnovists and Anarchists; Defeat of the Insurrectionary Army Thus began the third and last war of the Bolsheviks against the Makhnovists, the Anarchists and the laboring masses of the Ukraine, a war which ended, after nine months of unequal and implacable struggle — with the military destruction of the free movement. Once again, brute force, based on deception and imposture, triumphed. Naturally, the Bolshevik government was not slow to give explanations for its treachery. It pretended that the Makhnovists and the Anarchists were in the process of preparing a conspiracy and a vast insurrection against the Soviet government; it accused Makhno of having refused to go to the Caucasian front and of having started to levy troops from among the peasants in order to form an army against the Soviet authorities; it stated that instead of fighting Wrangel in the Crimea, the M... (From :

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Part I. Kronstadt Chapter 1. Geographical Notes Kronstadt is a fortress, or rather, a fortified city, built two centuries ago on the Island of Kotlin, 30 kilometers west of St. Petersburg (now Leningrad) at the lower end of the Gulf of Finland. It defends the approaches from the Baltic Sea to the former capital, and is also the principal base of the Russian Baltic Fleet. The Gulf of Finland is frozen in winter, and communication between Kronstadt and Leningrad is carried on, for five months of the year (from November to April), over a snow road on top of the thick ice of the Gulf. Kotlin Island a narrow, elongated piece of land with very irregular contours is 12 kilometers long. Its greatest width is from 2 to 3 kilometers. Its coasts are inaccessible and well fortified. The eastern part of the island, which faces Leningrad, contains the city of Kronstadt, the port and the docks, and occupies about a thi... (From :

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Chapter 2. Kronstadt Before the Revolution The Baltic Fleet and the Kronstadt garrison played a role of the very first importance in the Russian Revolution. Many factors contributed to this. Tn the first place, the sailors were recruited for the most part from the working class, from whom the navy naturally picked the best-qualified, most literate and alert recruits. But workers of this kind were also the most advanced politically. Frequently, before going to serve in the navy, they had been budding revolutionaries, sometimes even active militants, and inevitably, in spite of discipline and supervision, they wielded a strong influence over their shipmates. Moreover, since the sailors often visited foreign countries in the line of their duty, they were in a good position to compare the relatively free regimes of these lands with that of Czarist Russia. Better than any other section of the people, including the army, they assimilate... (From :

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Chapter 3. Kronstadt as the Vanguard of the Revolution From February, 1917, for the whole duration of the Revolution, and nearly everywhere, the men of Kronstadt were in the thick of the struggle. They did not confine themselves to their local activity, energetic though it was. Full of revolutionary enthusiasm and combative ardor, well-endowed with strength and audacity, conscious of their role, they unfalteringly gave the revolution all that it asked of them — their fire and their faith, their awareness and their vigor. They became devoted militants, ready to sacrifice their lives, they became agitators and popular propagandists, distributors of revolutionary literature throughout the country, technicians of every kind, and, above all, incomparable fighters. In February, 1917, Kronstadt immediately rallied to the Revolution. Rising up and taking possession of their city, the sailors felt obliged to perform a painful but,... (From :

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Chapter 5. Last Act: The End of Independence It remains for us to discuss the last act of the tragedy — the attack on Kronstadt, the heroic defense of the city, and its eventual fall. In Izvestia No. 5, for the 7th March, we find details of negotiations that had been set on foot concerning the sending of a delegation from Petrograd to Kronstadt to obtain information: “The Provisional Revolutionary Committee,” reports Izvestia, “has received from Petrograd the following radiogram: ‘Inform Petrograd by radio if we can send to Kronstadt from Petrograd some delegates of the Soviet, chosen from the nonparty members, and also some party members, to find out what is happening.’ “The Provisional Revolutionary Committee replied immediately by radio: ‘Radiogram to the Petrograd Soviet: Having received the radio message of the Petrogra... (From :

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Part II. Ukraine (1918–1921) Chapter 1. Mass Movement in the Ukraine This chapter puts me in a quandary. If I devoted a hundred or so pages to the Kronstadt movement, a proper treatment of the events in the Ukraine would require at least five times as much space, in view of their scope, their duration, and above all their revolutionary and moral importance. But this is impossible. Besides, my documentation on this movement is limited to the outstanding work of Peter Arshinov: History of the Makhnovist Movement. And in my present circumstances I cannot complete Arshinov’s work. On the other hand, filling pages with documents that have already been published — even if we take into account their specific character and the bibliographical rarity of the work — seems exaggerated. I can obviously enrich the study with two important elements: certain facts s... (From :

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Chapter 2. Formation of the Makhnovist Insurrectionary Army Soon Makhno became the rallying point for all the insurgents [in his region]. In every village, the peasants created secret local groups. They rallied to Makhno, supported him in all his undertakings, followed his advice and suggestions. Many detachments of partizans — those already in existence as well as newly formed ones — joined his groups seeking coordinated action. The need for unity and activity on a general scale was recognized by all the revolutionary partizans. And all were of the opinion that this unity would best be achieved under Makhno’s direction. Such was also the opinion of several large bands of insurgents who until then had been independent of one another. Notable among these were the large band commanded by Kurilenko (who operated in the Berdiansk region), that commanded by Stchouss (in the Dibrivka region), and that of Petrenko-Platonov (in the... (From :

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Chapter 3. Denikin’s Offensives and Final Defeat “The Statists,” as Archinov says with good reason, “fear the free people. They maintain that without authority the latter would lose the anchor of sociability, that they would disperse and return to the savage state. These are certainly absurd ideas, held by idlers, lovers of authority and the labor of others, or by the blind thinkers of bourgeois society.” Already, the mortal enemy of the world of labor and its freedom — authority — was pressing closely on the region [of the Ukraine]. It threatened from two sides at once. From the southeast the army of General Denikin was coming up. From the north the army of the Communist state was descending. Denikin arrived first From the first days after the fall of the Hetman Skoropadsky, several counter-revolutionary detachments commanded by General Chkouro, operating as patrols, had inf... (From :

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Chapter 4. The Makhnovists in the Liberated Regions The permanent armed struggle, the life of a “kingdom on wheels” which denied the population of the Makhnovist region any kind of stability, also denied them, inevitably, the possibility of extensive positive and constructive activity. Nevertheless, whenever it was possible, the movement gave evidence of great organic vitality and the working masses demonstrated a remarkable creative will and capacity. Let us give a few examples. We have spoken, more than once, of the Makhnovist press. Despite the various obstacles and difficulties of the time, the Makhnovists, who remained in direct contact with the Anarchist “Nabat” Federation, continued to publish leaflets, newspapers, etc. They even found time to produce a sizable booklet, under the title General Theses of the Revolutionary (Makhnovist) Insurgents Concerning the Free Soviets. The news... (From :

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Chapter 5. Wrangel’s Offensive and Defeat Now opens the fourth act [of our drama], that of Wrangel’s expedition. The Czarist ex-officer, Baron Wrangel, replaced Denikin at the head of the White movement. In the same areas — Crimea, the Caucasus, the Don and Kuban regions — he attempted to reassemble and reorganize the remnants of Denikin’s troops. He was successful, and reinforced his basic troops with several successive drafts [on the population]. Since the disastrous policy of the Bolsheviks had turned increasingly wide sections of society against them, he finally succeeded in setting up a well-organized and completely loyal army. By the spring of 1920, Wrangel began seriously to harass the Bolsheviks, and, since he was more ingenious and artful than his predecessor, he soon became dangerous. By the middle of the summer, it was evident that he was beginning to gain the upper hand. He pushed on slowl... (From :

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Chapter 7. The Fate of Makhno and Some of His Comrades. Epilogue By way of an epilogue, certain details about the final repression and also about the personal fate of certain Makhnovist militants would be in place here. The third and last war of the Bolsheviks against the Makhnovists was also, obviously, a war against the entire Ukrainian peasantry. Their aim was not only to destroy the Insurrectionary Army, but also to subjugate this entire rebellious mass, removing from it any chance to take up arms again and give a new birth to the movement. Their aim was to root out the very seeds of rebellion. The Red Divisions went systematically through all the villages of the insurgent region, exterminating large numbers of peasants, frequently on the basis of information provided by rich local peasants (kulaks). Hundreds of peasants were shot in Gulyai-Polye, Novo-spasovka,... (From :


1921 :
The Unknown Revolution, Book Three -- Publication.

February 22, 2017 ; 7:38:26 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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April 15, 2019 ; 4:12:53 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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