Michael Palij, The Anarchism of Nestor Makhno, 1918-1921: An Aspect of the Ukrainian Revolution, 1976.

15. Nykyfor Hryhor'iv

Next to Makhno, Nykyfor Oleksandrovych Hryhor'iv was the most prominent and colorful partisan leader of the Revolution. He succeeded in uniting over twenty partisan groups under his command, organizing them into a strong army in the lower Right Bank. A gifted and remarkable organizer, a brilliant and fearless commander who knew and enjoyed fighting, he was also the personification of the desires and ideas of the peasantry. Physically he was a medium-sized, stocky, strongly built brunet with a nasal voice and a pockmarked face that gave him a rather stern appearance. He acted self-confidently, with the composed bearing of the military profession.1

Hryhor'iv was born about 1885,2 in Zastavia, a suburb of Dunaivtsi, in Ushytsia district, Podillia province. He was the eldest of four children; his father, Oleksander Servetnyk, was a state alcoholic beverage manager, and his three uncles were all literate, respectable, rich peasants. Nykyfor changed Servetnyk to Hryhor'iv, probably because he found the two side by side in the local or family records. Hryhor'iv first attended school at Dunaivtsi and later completed a two-class state school in Nova Ushytsia that was known as the best school in the district.3

During his school years, in his room shared with seven schoolmates, he would talk at night with great enthusiasm about the Zaporozhian Sich and the Cossacks, assuring them that when he was grown up he would join the Don Cossacks. However, neither he nor his schoolmates knew what happened to the Sich and the Cossacks, or that the Kuban Cossacks were the descendants of the Zaporozhian Cossacks. In fact, several years later he did try to join the Don Cossacks but was rejected. However, when the Russo-Japanese War broke out, Hryhor'iv joined the Cossack cavalry and fought in Manchuria. After a distinguished war service, he joined the police force at Proskuriv (KhmeFnyts'kyi). In 1914 he volunteered for the army and eventually rose to the rank of staff captain, serving in the Fifty-Eighth Infantry Regiment. He was wounded several times and decorated for his distinguished service.4

In the Revolution of 1917, Hryhor'iv was commander of a troop-train station at Berdychiv. He was very active in the Ukrainian military movement and was popular among the soldiers of the Berdychiv garrison. Hryhor'iv and a senior commissioned officer, Servetnyk, very often defended the Ukrainian movement in the meetings of the Executive Committee of the Southwestern Front (Iskomitiuz).5 He also played an active role in the soldiers' revolutionary committee and in the Ukrainian Military Congresses. It was then that he became associated with Symon Petliura. During the Central Rada he was otaman of the Ukrainian troops and supported the Ukrainian government. After the fall of the Central Rada he supported the hetman government, but after several months he became disillusioned and joined the opposition. As early as August 1918 Petliura commissioned him to prepare an uprising against government and Austro-German forces in Kherson province. When the uprising began, Hryhor'iv led a popular revolt in the Olek-sandriia district. After establishing the Directory's authority in the area of operation, Hryhor'iv annulled all the hetman's decrees and reinstated the "Universals" of the Central Rada, establishing local democratic self-government, and organized self-defense forces in the towns and villages.6

Hryhor'iv's real career began during his struggle against the Germans and Allied intervention. For this purpose he tried to unite all the partisan groups that had come into existence during the uprising under his control. In his "boastful telegrams" to Petliura at the beginning of December, he claimed that he had brought 117 small partisan groups under his command, which, by December 10, consisted of 4,000 cavalrymen, 200 grenadiers, and an undisclosed number of infantry as well as 2 secret units in the city of Mykolaiv. After organizing a strong force Hryhor'iv advanced against the Germans at Mykolaiv. Nine versts from Mykolaiv he defeated a Volunteer unit at Vodopii. Subsequently, Hryhor'iv came to a modus vivendi with the Germans and on December 13 the partisans entered the city. However, the German command, under pressure from the commander of the British fleet near the city, forced Hryhor'iv out.7

At the end of December Hryhor'iv sent a terse ultimatum to the Germans at Mykolaiv demanding their withdrawal from Ukraine:

I, Otaman Hryhor'iv, in the name of the partisans whom I command, rising against the yoke of the bourgeoisie, with a clear conscience, declare to you that you appeared here in Ukraine as a blind instrument in the hands of our bourgeoisie, that you are not democrats, but traitors to all the European democracies. If in four days you do not abandon Mykolaiv, Dolyns'ka, and Znamenka, by foot, beginning at twelve o'clock on the thirty-first, none of you will ever see his fatherland. You will be destroyed, like flies, at the first wave of my hand. We will not provide transportation for you. You had adequate time to leave without saying goodbye. We consider you as accursed enemies, but for humanity's sake we are giving you four days for withdrawal."

As long as the Germans supported the hetman government, they were the enemy of the Directory; however, after the fall of the hetman and the Soviet Russian invasion, the presence of the German troops was not a threat to the Directory. Moreover, although the Germans were Hryhor'iv's target, the real power behind them was the Allies and Denikin. At that time the Germans were not at war with the Directory, but were charged by the agreement with the Entente to maintain peace in Mykolaiv. Thus Hryhor'iv's military activity was in conflict with Directory policy. Although the Entente's representatives in Odessa ignored Ukrainian national interests and were tactless in their dealing with the Ukrainian government, the Directory tried to reach an understanding with the Entente at any cost and gain its support in the struggle against the Red Army. Because of its acquiescence to the Entente and its supporters, the Russian Volunteers, the Directory not only lost the support of some parties and of the population, but "aroused opposition from both the right and left." In early January Hryhor'iv revolted against the Directory because it had forbidden him to move against the forces of the Entente.

In cooperation with the Bolsheviks, Hryhor'iv tried to achieve what he could not with the Directory, to "drive the Entente into the sea." At the end of January 1919, Hryhor'iv initiated negotiations with the Red Army command by sending a telegram to the Bolshevik revolutionary committee in Oleksandrivs'k:

I, the otaman of the partisans of Kherson and Tavriia provinces, wish to speak with the representatives of the authority in Oleksandrivs'k and to transmit very important information. Will a representative of this authority speak with me? I shall at once inform you of our platform, if the authority in Oleksandrivs'k is democratic, not Cadet. Therefore, listen: with the capitulation [probably-declaration] on January 25 [1919] Soviet rule has been established in Ukraine. The Directory has fallen.

To replace the Directory a new government has been formed of left SRs [Borot'-bists] and Ukrainian Bolsheviks. . . .1° All twenty of my partisan detachments are fighting against the independents and the supporters of the world bourgeoisie; we are against the Directory, the Cadets, the English, the Germans, and the French, whom the bourgeoisie have brought to Ukraine.11

The Oleksandrivs'k Committee forwarded reports of their negotiations to the commander of the Kharkiv group of the Soviet Army, Vladimir K. Aussem, and received the following reply:

Having heard the report of the representatives of your committee on the negotiations between your delegation and Otaman Hryhor'iv, I have to inform you that the High Command of the Ukrainian Soviet Red Army can enter into negotiations or agreements only upon these conditions: unconditional recognition of Soviet authority in Ukraine as represented by the Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government, which at the present is in Kharkiv, . . . and subordination to the high military command of the Soviet Red Army of Ukraine.12

Although the Bolsheviks recognized the importance of Hryhor'iv's twenty detachments of 23,000 men, with some artillery and a considerable number of machine guns, they correctly estimated that the success of their advance on Kyiv would weaken Hryhor'iv's bargaining power and cause him to submit. In a telephone conversation with a Bolshevik representative on February 1, 1919, he recognized the supremacy of the Kharkiv government and the Soviet military command, albeit conditionally:

I wish to regard our agreement, or more precisely my agreement, with you as tactical. I agree to your conditions and recognize your supreme command, provided that in the future the decision of unification of the higher command rests with your center and ours. I think that your command and ours will reach an agreement, since we shall not argue over authority. Power should belong to the people through their elected representatives; our supreme authority and yours are temporary and revolutionary. The permanent government will be formed not by us or by you, but by the people. I4

Khristian Rakovskii, the head of the Kharkiv government, reported to Chicherin that:

Hryhor'iv recognized the supremacy of the authority of the Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government of Ukraine and the Command of the Revolutionary Military Council, leaving it to the Ukrainian SR government, established on the right bank of the Dnieper, to negotiate a political agreement with us.1^

Although circumstances brought about the merging of Hryhor'iv's partisan army with the Red Army, he did not share Bolshevik political goals. His alignment with them reflected the confidence of the peasants in Bolshevik promises. Like Makhno, he retained command of his forces and continued to be as active as before, but completely avoided political issues. His immediate aim was to free South Ukraine of the foreign armies of the Entente, Denikin, and Germany and to prevent them from capturing equipment and supplies, especially several vessels anchored near Mykolaiv. However, he did not clarify the object of his cooperation with the Bolsheviks.

Because the Bolshevik "reserves were exhausted . . . the main task of the offensive on Odessa fell upon Hryhor'iv's detachments." He advanced in the direction of Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Odessa along the railroad lines, taking station after station.16 On March 9, he attacked Kherson, which was defended by a Greek infantry battalion and a French company, supported by a pair of mountain guns and the artillery of French vessels on the Dnieper. After several days of fierce battle the Allied troops were driven out of the city, losing more than four hundred men, as well as two armored trains, and considerable armament. Hryhor'iv claimed that only nine partisans were killed and thirty-seven wounded. This military reversal produced a very painful impression upon the French Command and greatly demoralized the Allied soldiers and sailors in Mykolaiv and Odessa. However, it was the population that suffered most, partly from artillery and small arms fire, but especially from an Allied atrocity that took at least five hundred lives.18

Hryhor'iv's next target was Mykolaiv, thirty miles northwest, where the Fifteenth Landwehr Division, consisting of 15,000 German troops, was garrisoned. Although the Germans wished to avoid confrontation with Hryhor'iv, they were under Allied military control. The Allied command knew that with morale in their units at a mutinous level, it would be impossible to hold Hryhor'iv's forces. Thus they evacuated by ship to Odessa19 leaving the Germans to do their fighting. Subsequently Hryhor'iv sent an ultimatum to the Germans, saying that in a few days he would take the city Mykolaiv by storm:

We know you want to go home. Then go! The conditions of your departure have been outlined by the Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government. Do not expect other conditions and, if you do not go home, you will die.

Given the circumstances, Hryhor'iv's threat was sufficient to bring about the German capitulation on March 12. The partisans were engaged only in minor skirmishes. Now the road was open to Odessa, the last Entente stronghold.

Hryhor'iv's victories in Kherson and Mykolaiv had important effects on both sides. The partisans' spirit was greatly improved by their victory over the supposedly invincible Entente forces, and in both cities they captured large amounts of war material that was needed for the rapidly growing army. Hryhor'iv's fame, and the confidence of the population in him, increased. It seemed that he had absorbed the Bolsheviks rather than being absorbed by them. At the same time, the propaganda of pro-Hryhor'iv and pro-Bolshevik elements found receptive ears among the Allied troops, especially sailors. Demoralized to the point of mutiny, they either refused to fight the partisans or fled from them. They showed no interest in a foreign war that they neither wanted nor understood. Part of the civilian population also contributed to the demoralization in the city. "Refugees from Bolshevik Russia [had] increased the population to nearly 800,000, or 30 per cent above normal,' and they had no other occupation than spreading rumors about a workers' armed uprising in the city and evacuation of the Entente's forces.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko, Commander of the Red Army in the south, was displeased with the uncontrollable Hryhor'iv and tried to assign the attack against Odessa to other units. However, heavy fighting broke out with the Directory's Ukrainian troops around Kyiv and some Bolshevik units from the Odessa front had to be sent there. Thus Hryhor'iv advanced against Odessa, taking enemy strongholds either by threats or in battle. On March 19, Hryhor'iv inflicted about five hundred casualties on Entente and Denikin troops at Berezivka, capturing five tanks, four guns, and one hundred machine guns. Although the Allied command announced on March 20 that Allied forces would defend the city and provide supplies, they failed to do so, in spite of numerical superiority. According to Denikin's staff sources on March 22 there were two French and two Greek divisions, a portion of one Romanian division, and a Volunteer Army Brigade of General Timanovskii in the Odessa area. These thirty-five to forty thousand troops were provided with superior weapons and equipment, including artillery and tanks, by the Entente, had naval support, and were led by experienced professional officers. Opposing were about fifteen thousand partisans.23 The French command tried unsuccessfully to stifle news of Hryhor'iv's approach. It created panic among the refugees from the bourgeois and the nobility in the city, stirred up the workers, and encouraged the underground Bolshevik organization to surface. There were attempts to negotiate with Hryhor'iv but he refused.

The situation changed on April 2 when General Franchet d'Esperey, commander in chief of Allied forces in the Near East, told General D'Anselme, commander in chief of Allied forces in South Russia, that the cabinet of Georges Clemenceau had fallen as a result of displeasure with his Ukrainian policy. (Actually Clemenceau's cabinet fell only on January 20, 1920.) D'Anselme issued an order to evacuate Odessa, which was published by the local newspapers with the explanation that "the Allies . . . found themselves unable to supply provisions for Odessa in the near future. Therefore, with the intent of lessening the number of consumers [it had been] decided to begin a partial evacuation of Odessa." It was, however, Hryhor'iv's advance, which began on April 2, and fear that their troops would not take orders, that compelled the French to evacuate. As early as April 3, some Greek troops, several thousand Volunteer Army men, and thirty thousand Russian civilians departed overland toward Akerman, Romania. On April 5, the last French ship left the port of Odessa.

After a victorious entry into Odessa Hryhor'iv declared on April 7:

After incredible exertions, sacrifices, and tactical maneuvers, the French, Greeks, Romanians, Turks, Volunteers, and our other enemies have been cut to pieces at Odessa. They have fled in a terrible panic, leaving colossal trophies that have not yet been counted. The flight of the adversary was so swift and panicky that even d'Anselme begged for at least three hours for the withdrawal, but this was refused him, and departing, he forgot his trunk.25

His first general command was to keep order and peace and to prevent disturbances. He prohibited bearing arms, sale of alcohol, and the purchase, sale, or hoarding of war material. He also proscribed search, arrest, and requisition of property without warrant. He appealed to the officers of the Volunteer Army to leave their units and join the toiling people. Such orders made Hryhor'iv appear to be a revolutionary acting against the reaction of the landlords and the foreign intervention, yet the only political element in his order was a prohibition against opposing Bolshevik authorities.26

After the victory over the Allied and Denikin forces Hryhor'iv accomplished his main goal and became the otaman of the partisans of Kherson and Tavriia provinces. The Bolsheviks, however, reversed their "old" slogan "without annexations and reparations" and decided to carry the proletarian revolution into the heart of Europe. On April 9, 1919, a representative of the Council of People's Commissars of Ukraine sent a message to Antonov:

Before the victors of Odessa new perspectives are opening: the rebelling workers and peasants of Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Galicia are calling to us for assistance. The hands of the Red Army of the Hungarian Socialist Soviet Republic stretch out to them through the Carpathians. The workers and peasants of Ukraine are convinced that their revolutionary advance guard—the Ukrainian Red Army—will carry out its slogan: "Forward, forward, always forward."2?

As Hryhor'iv was consolidating his victory in South Ukraine, two new problems were developing for Soviet Russia; hostilities with Romania, and provision for assistance to the Hungarian Soviet Republic. After the outbreak of the Revolution Bessarabia had declared itself the Autonomous Republic of Moldavia but remained within the Russian state. In November 1918, supported by the Entente, Bessarabia renounced its autonomy and joined Romania. As the Red Army invaded Ukraine, the Soviet Russian government began organizing a rebellion in Romania and prepared a plan for its invasion. This action was designed not only to recapture Bessarabia, but "as a means to untangle the European revolutionary forces, a means to break into Europe."28

The invasion was intensified by the Hungarian revolution. As the democratic government of the new Hungary, headed by Michael Karolyi, failed to win the sympathy of the Entente and had to accept the latter's demands for territorial concessions, including Transylvania, to its neighbors, it decided to form a coalition government with the Communists. Consequently, on March 21, the new government proclaimed Hungary a Republic of Workers,' Peasants,' and Soldiers' Soviets under Bela Kun. The new government opposed the Entente's further demands and war against Romania became inevitable, but it realized that its future existence depended upon direct contact with Soviet Russia. The Directory's envoy in Budapest, Mykola Halahan, felt that he could use the Hungarian situation to end the Russo-Ukrain-ian war. He advised Bela Kun to convince the Soviet Russian government that its assistance could not reach Hungary in time unless a peace agreement with Ukraine was concluded. Welcoming the proposition, Bela Kun on March 31 invited Vynnychenko, the former president of the Directory, to Budapest. The Hungarian government

. . . expressed a desire to mediate between the left Ukrainian Socialist factions and the Soviet Russian government concerning the establishment in Ukraine of a real Ukrainian national Soviet government. This government would set aside the Directory and the Galician State Secretariat, to bring under its aegis all Ukrainian Socialist groups and above all the Galician Army. Thus Hungary, Galicia, Ukraine, and Russia would become a united Soviet front.

Vynnychenko, however, laid down a number of conditions:

Recognition of an independent and sovereign Ukrainian Soviet Republic; Ukrainian national Soviet government; a defensive-offensive military alliance of the Soviet republics; a close economic alliance; and advance into Galicia.29

Although these conditions were relayed by the Hungarian government to Moscow, and Bela Kun was "deeply convinced" that success was assured, the negotiations came to naught, for Soviet Russia was interested in its own expansion rather than in independent, albeit Soviet, republics. However, Soviet Russia welcomed the emergence of a Soviet Hungarian government as a sign of an imminent world proletarian revolution that should be used for its own ends. Meantime, at the Entente's instigation, Romanian troops were enlarging their occupation of Transylvania, threatening Bela Kun's regime. The Hungarian government asked Russia to make a diverting attack on Romania: "If you can make even a little conquest, a little demonstration on the Romanian front, if you can cross the Dniester for even three days, and then return, the panic would be tremendous."30 Soviet Russian strategy in Ukraine was definitely shaped by the desire to establish contact with Soviet Hungary and give military aid but on their own terms. On March 26, I. I. Vacietis, the commander in chief of Bolshevik forces, wired Antonov-Ovseenko to limit his activities on the Romanian front, to destroy the Ukrainian forces, and move toward East Galicia and Buko-vina to establish a "direct, intimate contact with the Soviet armies of Hungary."

Antonov-Ovseenko had already been working on a plan to aid Soviet Hungary through Bessarabia and Moldavia, but at that time his attention was focused on the campaign against the Directory and Hryhor'iv's race toward Odessa. In connection with this situation Antonov-Ovseenko wrote to Rakovskii:

Presently campaigns are being conducted in Kyiv and Odessa on whose results will depend the future fate of Soviet power not only in Right Bank Ukraine and the entire western front, but also on the front of social revolution in Hungary [and] Germany.32

The main force the Bolshevik leaders planned to use against Romania was Hryhor'iv's partisan army of 15,000, and Antonov-Ovseenko tried to persuade Hryhor'iv to prepare for the invasion. On April 23 he described bright prospects for the coming campaign:

Look, all Europe is in ferment. Uprisings of workers in Austria. Soviet governments in Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey are ready to throw themselves against Romania. The Bessarabian peasants are waiting for us to arise as one. . . . Look at the map. You will advance along the road of Suvorov.33

Subsequently he renewed the persuasion with a veiled threat:

We know which way you are pushed. But I reply to your accusers that Hryhor'iv cannot break with the affairs of toilers; and Hryhor'iv is too wise; he knows the powers of the Soviet government. It sweeps away all who betray it.34

Antonov-Ovseenko was well aware of the partisans' dissatisfaction with the Communist regime. At the end of March Antonov-Ovseenko, Hryhor'iv, and the Communist Shums'kyi visited a large village, Ver-bliuzhka, Hryhor'iv's capital, where each of them delivered a speech. Antonov-Ovseenko's and Hryhor'iv's speeches dealing with their victories were applauded; however, when Shums'kyi, talking about the land policy of the Soviet Russian government, uttered the word, "commune" the entire crowd roared wildly. "If Hryhor'iv had not protected Shums'kyi. ..." Antonov left the statement unfinished. The population was provoked by activities of the Russian foodstuff requisitioning units that invaded the Ukrainian villages and which Lenin admits to sending for the "pumping out" of Ukrainian bread.35

The Bolshevik Ukrainian policy was also shocking to Hryhor'iv, and in a telegram to Rakovskii he threatened: "If in my footsteps there will grow as shabby a government as I see now, I, Otaman Hryhor'iv, will not fight. Take the boys and send them to school, and give the people a reasonable government that they would respect." Because of the strong resistance of the Ukrainian population and the extreme indignation of Hryhor'iv's troops Antonov-Ovseenko advised the government: "You must recall the Muscovite food requisitions units. First organize a local authority and only then, with its assistance, pump out the foodstuffs."37 •

In the meantime the situation in Soviet Hungary worsened. On May 1, the Bolsheviks dispatched an ultimatum to Romania demanding withdrawal from Bessarabia, and on May 3, a second, demanding withdrawal from Bukovina. On May 6 a Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government of Bessarabia formed in Odessa and issued a manifesto proclaiming the establishment of a Bessarabian Soviet Republic as a part of the RSFSR.38 On May 7 a representative of the Hungarian government appeared in Kyiv to inform the Bolsheviks that only the Red Army could save Soviet Hungary. Antonov-Ovseenko at once ordered his new commander on the Odessa front to send troops, including Hryhor'iv, against Romania. Hryhor'iv feigned loyalty to the Bolsheviks as long as possible. However, when he received definite orders to advance on Romania, he staged an open revolt that became generally known only on May 9, when he issued a "Universal" (manifesto) to the Ukrainian people, skillfully appealing to their grievances and exhorting them to advance on Kyiv and Kharkiv:

The political speculators have cheated you and exploited your confidence by a clever move; instead of land and liberty they violently impose upon you the commune, the Cheka and Moscow Commissars. . . . You work day and night; you have a torch for lght; you go about in bark shoes and sack cloth trousers. Instead of tea you drink hot water without sugar, but those who promise you a bright future exploit you, fight with you, take away your grain at gunpoint, requisition your cattle, and impudently tell you that this is for the good of the people.39

He called for the organization of councils on all levels, from village to province. Each council should consist of representatives of each party and nonparty that supported the Soviet platform. It should include all nationalities in proportion to their number. Hryhor'iv believed it would be a real democratic people's authority: "Long live freedom of speech, press, assembly, unions, strikes, labor, and professions, security of person, thought, residence, conviction, and religion."40 The manifesto was written in Ukrainian and Russian and widely distributed in the area under Hryhor'iv's control. It was also sent by wire to other areas.

Both the manifesto and the plan for the uprising were developed by Hryhor'iv in conjunction with his chief of staff, IUrii Tiutiunyk. Tiutiunyk had proposed to free the territory between the Boh and Dnieper, then join the Ukrainian Army, simultaneously sending a number of small partisan units and separate organizers to the Left Bank to terrorize the Bolsheviks. Hryhor'iv, however, pursued his own plan to advance toward Kharkiv and free the Left Bank. He wished to be the leader of an independent force between the Ukrainian and Volunteer armies, hoping that ail would fight the same enemy, the Bolsheviks. At that time his force consisted of close to twenty thousand men, forty guns, ten armored train platforms with mounted guns, and large amounts of small arms and ammunition. Hryhor'iv divided his force into three groups: he himself led the main force toward Katerynoslav-Kharkiv, Tiutiunyk moved toward Kyiv, and Pavlov was fighting toward Cherkasy. The Bolsheviks mobilized all available forces, including those from the Romanian, Ukrainian, and Crimean fronts. They were organized in three groups under the command of Voroshilov, their aim being to encircle Hryhor'iv's troops. They also carried on an extensive propaganda campaign against Hryhor'iv among their troops and the population. During the initial phase Hryhor'iv was fighting the Bolsheviks along railroad lines and in urban centers. By dint of hard fighting and successful propaganda the uprising spread through three provinces. Hryhor'iv's initial success stirred great concern in Moscow, which increased when the Directory's troops began to pin down the Bolsheviks by attacking from the north and south near Kyiv.42

Moscow panicked when in mid-May the anti-Bolshevik Russian army of General Nikolai N. lUdenich advanced across the Estonian border toward Petrograd. On May 19 Lenin sent an urgent telegram to the southern front: "The attack on Petrograd increases tenfold the danger and the supreme necessity of suppressing the [Hryhor'iv] revolt immediately at all costs." On May 26 Lenin again stressed in his telegram to Rakovskii the necessity of fighting Hryhor'iv:

Do not miss any opportunity for victory over Hryhor'iv. Do not permit a single soldier who is fighting against Hryhor'iv to leave. Issue and implement an order for the complete disarming of the population. Shoot mercilessly on the spot for every concealed rifle. The whole issue at the moment is a speedy victory in the Donets Basin, the collection of all rifles from the villages, the creation of a firm army. Concentrate all your strength on this effort, mobilize every single worker,*^

Although Hryhor'iv successfully fought the Bolshevik forces, he could not match their growing power for a longer period and at the end of May his main forces were defeated. Some partisan groups left Hryhor'iv, including Tiutiunyk, who moved westward with a group of 3,500 men to join the Ukrainian Army. Hryhor'iv was forced to abandon the railroad lines and move his troops to forests and villages where he mobilized new recruits and continued partisan warfare. On June 28 Hryhor'iv, in a letter to the Ukrainian government, depicted the damage he had done and admitted defeat:

Now our situation is critical; our division is facing five Communist divisions. We completely destroyed three Communist divisions while two others were only ripped. . . . Completely demolished [Bolshevik] transport, telegraph, and telephone connections in Ukraine . . . disorganized communications, mobilization, and supply to the front. However, we had to leave the railroad lines, lost many troops, guns, almost all our supplies, and now have changed to the partisan war-fare.45

In mid-May the Volunteer Army, which was struggling against the Makhno and Bolshevik troops in southeastern Ukraine, began its major advance in the direction of Moscow. The main weight of the offensive was transferred to Ukraine, and under pressure from Denikin, Makhno retreated westward to the area of Hryhor'iv's operations. There was a certain common ground for cooperation between Hryhor'iv and Makhno because both were hostile to the Bolshevik regime and its dictatorial methods and both drew much of their strength from the population's hostility to the Bolsheviks. In his letter to the Ukrainian government, Hryhor'iv expressed this attitude: "We broke away from the Communists and we fight them because 90 percent of the people do not want communism and do not recognize the dictatorship of a party or the dictatorship as an individual." Hryhor'iv and Makhno were in contact for some time and carried on negotiations about joining forces against the Bolsheviks. Hryhor'iv notified Makhno, it seems, after each of his victories over the Entente's troops, and hoped that after the uprising started, Makhno would join him.

On April 10, 1919, the Katerynoslav Communist party committee reported that

Makhno's men are conducting negotiations with Hryhor'iv about a simultaneous action against the Soviets. Today we caught Makhno's delegate to Hryhor'iv. We command the taking of urgent measures to liquidate Makhno men, as of now in Makhno area there is no chance for the Communists to work because they are secretly killed.*?

The Bolsheviks feared the possibility of a Makhno-Hryhor'iv union. On May 12, after Hryhor'iv issued his universals, Politburo deputy Lev B. Kamenev, who had met with Makhno the week before, wired Makhno:

The decisive moment has come—either you stand with the workers and peasants of all Russia, or you open the front to the enemy. There is no place for hesitation. Report to me immediately the location of your troops, and issue an appeal against Hryhor'iv, [and] send me a copy in Kharkiv. I would consider an unanswered letter as a declaration of war. I rely on revolutionary honor—yours, Arshinov and Veretel'nyk.*8

Although Makhno was against the Bolsheviks, he assumed a neutral position. His response to Kamenev was to issue an order to his troops:

Use the most energetic measures to save the front; do not allow the revolution and its external front to be betrayed in any way . . . the quarrel between Hryhor'iv and the Bolsheviks for the sake of power cannot force us to weaken the front where the White guards tried to break through and suppress the people. As long as we do not overcome our common enemy, the White Don; as long as we do not surely and securely feel the freedom we conquered with our hand and rifles, we will remain at the front, fighting for people's freedom, but not for the government, not for the meanness of political charlatans.49

At the same time, Kamenev reported that Makhno said:

I and my front will remain unchangeably true to the revolution of the workers and peasants, but not to institutions of violence like your Commissars and Chekas. . . • Now I do not have accurate information about Hryhor'iv and his movement. I do not know what he is doing and what his intentions are; therefore, I cannot issue an appeal against him until I receive more evidence.^"

In the light of Hryhor'iv's uprising and Denikin's advance, Makhno was a source of worry to Moscow. On May 7, two days after Kamenev had met Makhno at Huliai-Pole, Lenin had sent a telegram to Kamenev: "Temporarily, as long as Rostov had not been taken, it is necessary to deal diplomatically with Makhno's troops; send Antonov there and make Antonov responsible for Makhno's army." Subsequently Kamenev wired Lenin: "[I] think that Makhno at present will not decide to support Hryhor'iv; however, the ground is ripe for the breaking."51

The Bolsheviks were trying not only to prevent Makhno from following Hryhor'iv, but to use his assistance against him. However, the Bolsheviks were not the only factor. Makhno had much personal antagonism against Hryhor'iv, who was his rival for power and fame. Hryhor'iv was a professional officer of lifelong experience, who manifested great personal bravery and military ability. Also he was his own man, one who intended to command and not to be commanded. If his uprising were successful, he would probably try to extend his domination to Makhno's territory and try to absorb the Makhno movement. Both leaders operated in, and recruited from, the same general region. Makhno realized this, and he did not wish to be guided by Hryhor'iv. Makhno had his own plan, and his devious mind worked toward the destruction of Hryhor'iv's power and the absorption of his troops.5

On July 27, 1919, Hryhor'iv was assassinated. According to the most widely" known version, related by Arshinov and Makhno himself, although it was undoubtedly composed after the fact to serve Makhno's ends, a congress of partisans from Katerynoslav, Tavriia, and Kherson provinces was called at Sentove, near Oleksandriia in Kherson province. About twenty thousand partisans and peasants attended. Hyrhor'iv, speaking first, identified the Bolsheviks as the main enemy and stated that it was necessary to seek any ally, even Denikin, against them. Makhno then criticized him, saying that an alliance with "generals" would mean "counterrevolution," and thus Hryhor'iv was an "enemy of the people." He also accused him of conducting a pogram in IElesavethrad in May 1919. Sensing something amiss, Hryhor'iv belatedly drew his side arm, but Makhno's associate, Semen Karetnyk, had already begun to shoot at him. Then Makhno cried "Death to the otaman!" and killed him. Several members of Hryhor'iv's staff were also shot. Later, Hryhor'iv's partisans joined Makhno. The assassination was recorded in the minutes: "The perpetrator of pogroms Hryhor'iv was assassinated by responsible Makhnovites: Bat'ko Makhno, Semen Karetnyk, and Oleksander Chubenko. The Makhno movement accepts complete responsibility for this act before history."53

There was, however, a very different version related soon after the event by Makhno himself to Fotii M. Meleshko, who was doing educational work among the partisans. Makhno supported his story with documents. He said he had met Hryhor'iv on July 27 at Lozova, Olek-sandriia district, to discuss unification of their forces. Hryhor'iv had a much larger group of supporters present, but was not expecting anything, while Makhno had his plan well thought out. At the outset Makhno and Chubenko accused Hryhor'iv of betraying the Revolution by planning to join Denikin. Makhno said he had caught two of Hry-hor'iv's officers, who confessed they had been sent to Denikin to negotiate. By this move he hoped to undermine the partisans' confidence in Hyrhor'iv. Hryhor'iv then tried to defend himself by reasoning that all the strength should be concentrated against the main enemy, the Bolsheviks, even if this required an alliance with Denikin. When Karetnyk began to shoot him, Hyrhor'iv, showing characteristic strength and bravery, broke through the circle and took refuge behind a tree, where he defended himself until he finally fell dead with eight bullets in him. His chief of staff, Kaluzhnyi, was also killed. Makhno's men then disarmed Hryhor'iv's partisans. Makhno explained why he had killed Hryhor'iv arid offered them a choice of joining him or returning home. Because of his bravery, Hryhor'iv was buried with honors, as a military hero. Subsequently, Makhno wired the news to Lenin.

Although the Hryhor'iv movement lasted less than one year, it greatly affected the course of the Ukrainian Revolution and the development of the international situation. By abandoning the Directory and joining the Red Army, Hryhor'iv accelerated the Bolshevik advance in Ukraine. Although Hryhor'iv reflected the mood and social aspirations of the Ukrainian peasants in his particular region, he failed to lead the people toward a national goal—to join with the Directory in defending the independence of Ukraine. Hryhor'iv not only defeated the Entente's intervention in South Ukraine, but he thwarted Bolshevik plans for spreading Communist revolution in Europe. Instead of advancing with the Red Army into Romania and Hungary to rescue the Bela Kun Communist regime, the Bolsheviks had to withdraw their troops from the Denikin front to quell Hryhor'iv. Thus his uprising against the Bolsheviks helped to accelerate Denikin's advance into Ukraine against the Bolsheviks and subsequently against the Ukrainian Army.


1. I. Maistrenko, "Ukrains'ka chervona armiia," Visti 4, nos. 1—2 (27—28) (1953), p. 11; Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 4:335; Kubanin, Makhnovshchina, p. 64; Irchan, "Makhno i makhnivtsi," p. 119; Fedenko, Mynulo pivstolittia, p. 35; Volodymyr Kedrovs'kyi, 1917 rik, p. 279; Mykhailo Sereda, "Kholodnyi Iar," Dilo, August 4, 1934; Makhno, "Zapiski," nos. 5—6, p. 24; Kiselev, Agitpoezd, p. 38.

2. S. Ryndyk, "Otaman Hryhor'iv," Prometei, March 24, 1960. The date of Hryhor'iv's birth is not certain. Some sources give 1888, or even 1884 (Entsyklo-pediia ukrainoznavstva: Slovnykova chastyna, 2:435; Lev Shankovs'kyi, "Hry-horievshchyna: Problemsa i literatura," Al'manakh: Kaliendar Providinnia, 1966, p. 83).

3. Ryndyk, "Otaman Hryhor'iv"; interview with Stepan Ryndyk by the author on June 28, 1972, Chicago.

4. Ryndyk, "Otaman Hryhor'iv"; Andrii Holub, "Zbroina vyzvol'na borot'ba," 11:180; Kedrovs'kyi, 1917 rik, I: 279.

5. Kedrovs'kyi, 1917 rik, 1:279.

6. Bol'shaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia, 19:360; Kubanin, Makhnovshchina, p. 65.

7. Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 3:89; Vasyl Zadoianyi, "Otaman Hryhor'iv u svitli nimets'koho admirala Hopmana," TR, no. 33 (1965), p. 12; IA. Riappo, "Revoliutsionnaia bor'ba v Nikolaeve: Vospominaniia," LR, no. 4 (9) (1924), pp. 7-8.

8. Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 3:89—90; see also G. Frants, "Evakuatsiia germanskimi voiskami Ukrainy," Istorik i sovremennik, 2 (1922): 262—63; Kubanin, Makhnovshchina, pp. 65—66.

9. Mazepa, Ukraina v ohni, 1: 75—76; Khrystiuk, Zamitky i materiialy, 4: 78.

10. As early as the end of 1917, there emerged within the Socialist Revolutionary party a distinct faction of the Left, the so-called Internationalists. They were critical of the Central Rada for overemphasizing the national struggle at the expense of socioeconomic problems (Khrystiuk, Zamitky i materiialy, 2:65). At the Fourth Congress of the Socialist Revolutionaries convened illegally near Kyiv on Mayl3—16, 1918, the party split into a left and right wing. One of the delegates of the left complained:

Those who summoned the Germans were little interested in the revolution. They stifled our revolution and have delayed its outbreak in Germany. They wanted to save the state at any price. Social issues were of secondary importance. Now they are ready immediately to abandon the socialization of the land. We are now divided into two groups—the Internationalists and the Statists (I. Majstrenko, Borot'bism, p. 66).

The Internationalists controlled the party's organ, an illegal weekly, Borot'ba (The Struggle), and adopted the name Borot'bists. While the moderate Socialist parties endeavored to democratize and nationalize the Hetman regime (A. Khvylia, "Borot'bisty," Bol'shaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia, vol. 7, col. 193), the Borot'bists attempted to establish contact with revolutionary socialist groups in Europe, especially Germany, believing that the world revolution was at hand. After the fall of the Hetman the Borot'bists refused to recognize the Directory and drifted toward the Bolshevik position. They were disappointed by both the Central Rada and the Directory for their reliance upon die Central Powers and the Entente, which they felt undermined the Ukrainian state. The Borot'bists' ideological move toward the left was reflected in the new party name adopted in March 1919: "Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries Communists-Borot'bists" (Khrystiuk, Zamitky i materiialy 3 :23—24).

However, the Borot'bists stood for an independent Soviet Ukraine. Therefore, in mid-January 1919, they formed their own government, parallel with the Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government of Ukraine, under the name "Council of Revolutionary Emissaries" (Rafes, Dva goda revoliutsii na Ukraine, p. 154). Also, they tried to organize a Ukrainian Red Army as a counterpart to the Russian Red Army to defend the independence of Ukraine (Majstrenko, "Ukrains'ka chervona armiia," p. 191). According to Rafes, "This was not simply a gesture, for the Borot'bists conducted a great operation, collected large partisan detachments (p. 154). The first such military formation was the partisan army of Hryhor'iv, who agreed to go along with Borot'bist plans. The Borot'bists wanted to present the Bolsheviks with an accomplished fact and thus prevent them from interfering in Ukrainian affairs and "helping to liberate" the Ukrainian proletariat.

11. M. Rubach, "K istorii grazhdanskoi voiny na Ukraine," p. 178.

12. Ibid., p. 180.

13. Ibid., p. 184.

14. Ibid., p. 181.

15. Ibid., p. 185.

16. Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 3: 247; Vladimir Maiborodov, "S frantsuzami," ARR, 16(1925): 126.

17. Alexander Lukomskii, Memoirs of the Russian Revolution, pp. 135—41;

Notes, Chapter 15


Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 3:228; "Ocherk vzaimootnoshenii vooruzhennykh," ARR 16 (1925): 246—47; A. Gukovskii, "Inostrannaia interventsiia na Ukraine, 1917—1919 goda," IM, no. 1 (71), p. 95; Adams, Bolsheviks in the Ukraine, pp. 167—68; Chamberlin, Russian Revolution, 2: 166; Kapustians'kyi, Pokhid ukrain-skykh armii, 1: 35.

18. Adams, Bolsheviks in the Ukraine, p. 177. Before leaving Kherson, the Greek troops rounded up hostages—men, women, and children—and drove them into a warehouse close to the docks. On the morning of March 9, while the transports were leaving the wharves, naval guns shelled the city and set fire to the warehouse holding the hostages. Then Allied machine guns cut down the frantic people as they tried to claw their way out of the flames. Of approximately two thousand people imprisoned in the warehouse, at least five hundred died.

19. "Ocherk vzaimootnoshenii vooruzhennykh," p. 247.

20. Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 3:225; Gukovskii, "Inostrannaia interventsiia na Ukraine," p. 95; Margulies, Ognennye gody, p. 11; Kapustians'kyi, Pokhid ukrains'kykh armii, 1:35.

21. U.S., Department of State, Papers, p. 753.

22. Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 3:240, 242; Gukovskii, "Inostrannaia interventsiia na Ukraine," p. 96; Maiborodov, "S frantsuzami," pp. 127—35; Ukraine, Arkhivne upravlinnia, Grazhdanskaia voina na Ukraine, 1918—1920, 1, pt. 2:231; Margulies, Ognennye gody, p. 15; U.S., Department of State, Papers, p. 754.

23. "Ocherk vzaimootnoshenii vooruzhennykh," p. 249; see also Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 3:246—47; Fischer, Soviets in World Affairs, 1:228; Lukom-skii, Memoirs, p. 221; R. Eideman and N. Kakurin, Hromadians'ka viina na Ukraini, p. 33, "Ocherk vzaimootnoshenii vooruzhennykh," p. 250; U.S., Department of State, Papers, p. 752. Judging from Hryhor'iv's statement to the representative of the Odessa underground Bolshevik organizations: "I don't need your blood. . . . Only give me 15,000 pairs of boots," probably he had an army of 15,000 partisans (Adams, Bolsheviks in the Ukraine, p. 197). Antonov also states that Hryhor'iv had about 15,000 combat troops at the beginning of May (Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 4:45).

24. Margulies, Ognennye gody, pp. 33, 34, 36; Reshetar, Ukrainian Revolution, p. 249.

25. Antonov- Ovseenko, Zapiski, 3 : 249.

26. Kubanin, Makhnovshchina, pp. 67—68; Margulies, Ognennye gody, pp. 47-49.

27. Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 3 : 249.

28. Ibid., 4:27.

29. Vynnychenko, Vidrodzennia natsii, 3:322—23; see also Lozyns'kyi, Halychyna, pp. 102—3.

30. Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 4:275.

31. Fischer, Soviets in World Affairs, 1:194.

32. Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 3 :16.

33. Ibid.. 4:84. Count Aleksandr Suvorov was a military commander under Catherine II and Paul I. In 1799, he led the allied armies of anti-French coalition into Italy and Switzerland.

34. Ibid.

35. Lenin, Sochineniia, 24: 27.

36. B. V. Kozel's'kyi, "Hryhor'ievshchyna: Z nahody shostykh rokovyn Hkvidatsii Hryhor'ievshchyny," Chervonyi shliakh, no. 5 (1925), p. 68.

37. Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 4:83.

38. Ibid., p. 47; Margulies, Ognennye gody, pp. 118—21.

39. Mazepa, Ukraina v ohni, 3:182; see also V. T. Krut', "Do istorii borot'by proty hryhor'ivshchyny na Ukraini," LR, nos. 5—6 (54—55) (1932), pp. 146—47.

40. Mazepa, Ukraina, 3 :183.

41. Kozel's'kyi, "Hryhor'ievshchyna," p. 69; Antonov-Ovseenko, "V borot'bi za Radians'ku Ukrainu," no. 5, p. 119; S. Dubrovskii, "Likvidatsiia grigor'evshchiny, 1919 g.," VIZ, no. 2 (1941), p. 32.

42. S. Dubrovskii, "Grigor'evshchina," VR, no. 4 (1928), pp. 22-23; "Gri-gor'evskaia avantiura, mai 1919 goda," LR, no. 3 (1923), pp. 156—59; Fedenko, "Period of the Directory," p. 758.

43. Lenin, Sochineniia, 35 : 327, 329.

44. Kapustians'kyi, Pokhid ukrains'kykh armii, 2:61; Istoriia ukrains'koho viis'ka, p. 535; Dubrovskii, "Likvidatsiia grigor'evshchiny, 1919 g.," pp. 40—41; Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 4 : 309.

45. Mazepa, Ukraina v ohni, 2:29.

46. Ibid., p. 112; Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 4:72, 100, 308; Teper, Makhno, p. 39; Meleshko, "Nestor Makhno ta ioho anarkhiia," no. 3, p. 14.

47. Antonov-Ovseenko, Zapiski, 4:100.

48. Arshinov, Istoriia makhnovskogo dvizheniia, p. 107; see also Rudnev, Makhnovshchina, p. 38.

49. Arshinov, Istoriia makhnovskogo dvizheniia, p. 109.

50. Ibid., p. 110; see also Rudnev, Makhnovshchina, pp. 38—39.

51. Lenin, Sochinennia, 29:500; S. Chernomordik, Makhno iMakhnovshchina, p. 20.

52. Arshinov, Istoriia makhnovskogo dvizheniia, pp. 132—33; Mazepa, Ukraina v ohni, 2:112; Mahalevs'kyi, "Bat'ko Makhno," p. 70; Denikin, Ocherki, 5: 131-32.

53. Arshinov, Istoriia makhnovskogo dvizheniia, pp. 133-34; "Ubiistvo Grigor'eva," LR, no. 2, pp. 232-34; Peters, Nestor Makhno, p. 70; Makhno, "Makhnovshchina i antisemitizm," DT, nos. 30-31 (1927), p. 18.

54. Meleshko, "Nestor Makhno ta ioho anarkhiia," no. 3, p. 14; Sereda, "Kholodnyi IAr," August 4, 1934.

55. According to one source about 2,000 partisans joined Makhno (M. Mykhailyk, "Ukrains'ke selo v chasy natsion," no. 2, p. 16).

56. Meleshko, "Nestor Makhno ta ioho anarkhiia," p. 14; Louis Fischer, The Life of Lenin (New York: Harper & Row, 1964), p. 365.