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Махновщина  (Ukrainian)
Flag of Makhnovshchina
Махновское знамя.svg
Left: Flag of Ukrainian Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army
Right: Flag described by Viktor Bilash
Motto: Власть рождает паразитов.
Да здравствует анархия!
Vlast' roždaet parazitov. Da zdravstvuet anarhija!
"Power breeds parasites. Long live anarchy!"
Location of the core of the Makhnovshchina (red) and other areas controlled by the Insurgent Army (pink) in present-day Ukraine (tan)
StatusStateless territory
Common languagesUkrainian, Russian
GovernmentAnarchist commune
• 1918–1921
Nestor Makhno
Chairman (VRS) 
• 1919
Ivan Chernoknizhny
• 1919–1920
• 1920
Dmitry Popov
LegislatureRegional Congress
of Peasants, Workers
and Insurgents
Historical eraRussian Civil War
• Established
27 November 1918
• Disestablished
28 August 1921
• Total
75,000 km2 (29,000 sq mi)
• Estimate
7.5 million
• Density
100/km2 (259.0/sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Ukrainian State
Ukrainian SSR
Today part of
  • Ukraine
  • Russia

Makhnovia existed from 1918 to 1921. It was formed in an attempt to create a stateless anarchist society. This took place during the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917 to 1921. "Free soviets" and libertarian communes were set up and operated under the protection of Nestor Makhno's Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army.[1]

Makhnovia was established when Huliaipole was captured by Makhno's forces on 27 November 1918. Huliapole became the territory's de facto capital. The Ukrainian peasants refused to pay rent to the landowners and "...seized the estates and livestock of the pomeshchiks, kulaks, monasteries and State holdings: in so doing, they always set up local committees to manage these assets, with an eye to sharing them out among the various villages and communes."[2]

Russian forces of the White movement under Anton Denikin occupied part of the region and formed a temporary government of Southern Russia in March 1920. In late March 1920, Denikin's forces were pushed back by Makno's forces and the Red Army. Makhnovia was disestablished in 1921 when Makhno and 77 of his men escaped. Remnants of the Black Army would continue to fight until late 1922.

References[change | change source]

  1. Armstrong, Mick, 'Nestor Makhno: the failure of anarchism', Marxist Left Review, Issue 12, Winter 2016,
  2. Makhno, Nestor, 'The Struggle Against the State and Other Essays', Dyelo Truda No 29, October 1927, pp. 9–11,