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(en) ait russia: The return of the Makhno Ghost ...

Date Thu, 6 Jun 2019 09:51:03 +0300

Nestor Makhno is a historical figure in the Russian Revolution, becoming a popular and legendary hero in Ukraine. One of the founders of the Ukrainian insurrectionary revolutionary army, which routed the armies of Austro-German occupation and then the Tsarist white armies of Denikin, thus saving the Russian Revolution. The Bolsheviks thank him for having saved their skin by breaking their alliance and turning treacherously against him. Lenin and Trotsky could not tolerate the Ukrainian peasants' revolution escaping their centralist and dictatorial model. For 3 years, the insurrection in Ukraine, inspired by anarchist principles, will try to set up a new society, egalitarian and libertarian. In 1921, defeated and wounded, Makhno was forced to flee chased by the Bolsheviks who massacre the revolutionaries. Expelled from several European countries, he finally settled in 1925 in Paris, where to survive he was forced to work as a worker at Renault in Boulogne-Billancourt. He died on July 25, 1934 and is cremated in the cemetery of Père-Lachaise where he rests today not far from the Wall of Federated and Communards.

In this land of blood that is Ukraine, Makhno's memory survived, underground. Despite the communist propaganda that wanted to pass for a vulgar bandit, his memory of "Robin Hood" has remained alive in the form of a legend that claims that his ghost will return to avenge the poor and the exploited against all abuses of power .

Today, the Ukrainian Nationalist Government wishes to recover this legendary figure not to realize his ideal of justice and freedom, but to make him a Ukrainian national hero. The Mayor of Makhno's hometown wants to repatriate his ashes for the pinnacle of the sordid - to make it a "trademark" likely to attract foreign tourists. We already imagine Russian mountains with tachankas, the famous machine gun carts invented by Makhno and which gave him his lightning victories!

To make Makhno and Makhnovists symbols of Ukrainian nationalism is simply laughable. As his comrade Voline writes in 1927 "In a general way, the Makhnovist insurgents - and also the whole population of the insurgent region and even beyond - did not care about the nationality of the workers, whether Ukrainian Russian, Jewish, Greek or Armenian. Not for a moment did they appeal to national or patriotic sentiments. The entire struggle of the Makhnovists was conducted solely in the name of the rights and interests of the Workers. National prejudices had no hold on Makhnovchina. No one ever took an interest in the nationality of a particular fighter or worried about it. "

Ironically, the Ukrainian authorities want Makhno to join the nationalist leader Petliura, who is considered a "national hero" in the Ukrainian patriotic pantheon, but to whom the Makhnovist army inflicted severe defeats. Thousands of anarchist militants and Ukrainian workers and peasants fell in battle against this executioner, who repressed the workers and refused to stop the genocide of Ukrainian Jews during the civil war. Petlioura was also executed in Paris in 1926 by the anarchist and former Makhnovist Samuel Schwarzbard, with whom Makhno had a great friendship. Makhno was an anarchist communist, he was against mercantile capitalism, against borders and against patriotism.

To turn one's name into a trademark and to make Makhno a nationalist banner is to display a shameless cynicism. It would be a direct insult to the memory of this revolutionary and his companions and to the cause for which they fought.

Today the ashes of Makhno rest at Father Lachaise, not far from the Wall of the Federates and the Communards of 1871, his brothers in Revolution. This corresponds well to his revolutionary and internationalist convictions.

The nationalists, reactionaries and statesmen should leave in peace the old revolutionary, under penalty of awakening his ghost and seeing the tachanka return ...

The Friends of Nestor Makhno - Tachanka


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