Kontrrazvedka - The Story of the Makhnovist Intelligence Service, by V. Azarov

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Kontrrazvedka - The Story of the Makhnovist Intelligence Service, by V. Azarov

Kontrrazvedka - The Story of the Makhnovist Intelligence Service, by V. Azarov

Published by Black Cat Press in 2008, 78 pages. Paperback (N3711)

Brand New Book

From the rear side cover: The Makhnovist movement was an attempt by peasants in southeastern Ukraine to create an anarchist society in 1917-1921. This unique social experiment embraced a substantial territory with a population of millions but has been little studied by historians.

In the years of revolution and civil war, the movement was protected from its numerous enemies by a remarkable military force - the Insurgent Army; and by an intelligence service - the Kontrrazvedka. It is the latter institution which is the subject of this study by Vyacheslav Azarov.

In early 1918, the new Bolshevik government in Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, making peace with Germany and Austro-Hungary and ending their involvement in the First World War. But according to the treaty Russia ceeded large amounts of territory to the central powers, including Ukraine, and the people living in Ukraine did not want to be ruled by Germany and the Central Powers, and so rebelled.

Partisan units were formed that waged guerilla war against the Germans and Austrians. This rebellion turned into an anarchist revolution, and Nestor Makhno was one of the main organizers of these partisan groups, who united into the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine (RIAU), also called the Black Army (because they fought under the anarchist black flag). The RIAU also battled against the Tsarist Whites and anti-semitic pogromists, and in areas where the RIAU drove out opposing armies, villagers sought to abolish capitalism and the state through organizing themselves into village assemblies, communes and councils.

By November 1918 the Central Powers had been decisively beaten by the Allied Nations and could by no means hold onto Ukraine in the face of the fierce partisan warfare being waged against them by Nestor Makhno and almost every worker and peasant in the Donetz Basin. Thus, the Austro-Hungarians and Germans left the Ukraine, leaving anarchy behind. The Makhnovist RIAU struggled to hold the area they controlled - called the 'Free Territory', and fought a bitter war against Anton Denikin's White Army.

Throughout all this drama the Bolsheviks had persecuted Makhnovists outside the Free Territory and surrendered the Front to Denikins Whites. As soon as Ukraine had been liberated from the Denikinists by the Makhnovists, the Bolsheviks set about destroying their rivals. Their attacks against the Makhnovists were accompanied by reprisals against the civilian population of Ukraine. But the Bolsheviks had spent too much time destroying the true Peoples Revolution and too long ignoring the Counter-Revolution led by General Peter von Wrangel in the Crimea. This new White Revolt soon exploded all over the Southern Ukraine.

The Bolsheviks and Makhnovists were easily pushed back by the forces of this new counter revolution, and so the decision was made to sign a treaty in order to fight this new threat. The fight against Wrangel was fierce and unforgiving but eventually the Crimea was taken by November 1920. But as soon as Wrangel was defeated the Bolsheviks set about waging an unrestrained and brutal warf against the Makhnovists. All the Makhnovist units of the Red Army were swiftly culled in their barracks by the Bolshevik Commisars and all Makhnovist Communes were destroyed. The actions resulted in a period of guerrilla warfare against the Red troops. Reluctantly, Makhno was forced to leave the Ukraine and seek refuge in Romania, and he lived the rest of his life in exile. The Ukrainian Revolution had finally been quelled by the Bolsheviks.

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