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Nestor Makhno
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Anarchist
    (October 26, 1888-July 6, 1934)
    Born in Huliaipole, Ukraine
    Led the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine (aka the Black Army, from their use of the anarchist black flag)
    Attempted to establish an anarchist society in Ukraine with government at the local level by autonomous councils of peasants and workers
    Defeated by the Soviet Red Army and forced into exile (1921)
    According to legend, during his baptism the priest's clothing caught fire, a sign that a great troublemaker had been born.
    When he was eight, he ditched school for several weeks to go skating; he was caught after breaking through thin ice and almost drowning.
    A former supporter claimed, 'Makhno and many of his intimates – both commanders and others... let themselves indulge in shameful and even odious activities, going as far as orgies in which certain women were forced to participate.'
    He was described in the German Mennonite community of Ukraine as 'an inhuman monster whose path is literally drenched with blood.' (Because when its your wealth being seized and redistributed, you really do not care if it is being done by followers of Marx or Bakunin.)
    He never really did get that proposed anarchist society working in the territory he controlled. (Granted, there was near-constant fighting going on, which complicated things.)
    Despite his suspicions of the Red Army, he kept allying with them.
    Due to his family's poverty, he went to work as a shepherd at age seven.
    He was called 'a born strategist of unsurpassed ability' as his forces repeatedly defeated larger German, Austrian and Czarist armies.
    He was wounded at least twelve times while leading charges.
    After a visit to Moscow, he said of the Communists, 'One political party, by means of force and fraud, elevated itself into the position of a ruling class.'
    He survived an assassination attempt by the Soviet secret police.
    The Red Army allied with him to defeat Czarist forces in Ukraine, then turned on him.

Credit: C. Fishel


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