ANTI-STATISTS AND UKRAINIAN PEASANTRY IN 1900s: THE HISTORIOGRAPHY OF THE ISSUE

KUDINOV  D.V.

  • The article is focused on the survey of the interaction between anarchist organizations
    and Ukrainian peasantry performed by Soviet, Ukrainian and Russian historians. In this respect,
    two historiographic tendencies are distinguished: Soviet, with adverse orientation on program
    targets and tactics of anti-statists (the quotes of V.Lenin and J.Stalin are cited as an examples
    which soviet authors were looked about) and contemporary, which is based on reasonable
    understanding of anarchists’ views on reaching communist society via revolutionary way,
    annihilation of state and its institutions, securing of human freedom and affordability of material
    and cultural wealth (short visions of the future society arrangement made by famous anarchist
    theorists, such as M. Bakunin and P. Kropotkin, are provided). The emphasis is made on the
    description by historians of anarchists’ activity in Chernigov, Podolia, Poltava, Ekaterinoslav
    and Kherson Governorates. Particularly, actual instances of the agitation beginning amongst
    peasants by the members of Nizhyn group of anti-statists, creation by them of a range of
    federations for involvement of rural dwellers, organization in the countryside of meetings and
    assaults on representatives of czarist administration, landlords and capitalists are revealed.
    Major attention is paid to the description of the “Poor Peasants Union” activity in Huliaipole
    in 1906-1908, which future leader of The Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine Nestor
    Makhno had art and part in. The author proves that this particular chapter of anarchists’
    history is the most high-lighted in historical literature out of the whole complex of data concerning
    the anti-statists’ performance in rural area.
    It is noted that contemporary Ukrainian historians (V. Volkovynskyi, O. Lebedenko,
    V. Savchenko) have found out the attributes of “peasant anarchism”: the tactics of anarchists
    in the countryside differed from the activity of the rest Left by more clear and specific support of
    peasant destructive actions, the border between “fundraising” or “anarchic” motives usually
    wasn’t traced, the groups went in for expropriations, which to some extent lapped over their
    revolutionary content (however, peasant anarchists themselves denied “wanton” character of
    the terror, low level of theoretical training was peculiar to peasant group members,while handson
    experience was prevailing: the ability to shoot, fight, disguise, observe conspiracy, etc. The
    historians underline particular national colour of Ukrainian “peasant anarchism”. According
    to V. Volkovynskyi and O. Lebedenko, the expansion of anti-statist ideas was favoured by
    “anarchic mentality” of Ukrainian peasantry (immanent orientation of Ukrainian farmers toward
    liberty, which had not been knocked out of their conscious during serfdom period), freedomloving
    traditions living in peasantry from Zaporozhian Sich times, as well as anti-statist
    egalitarian ideas of former affluent religious group of Dukhobors.

  • KUDINOV  D.V. – Sumy Regional Institute of Postgraduate Pedagogical Education Candidate of Historical Sciences, Docent (Ukraine).

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