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The Free Territory (Ukrainian Víĺna Terytoriya) or Makhnowia (Ukrainian Makhnovshchyna), or Anarchist Ukraine (January 1919 - 1921) was the stateless territory and anarchist society in part of the territory of modern Ukraine during the Ukrainian Revolution, eventually headed by Nestor Makhno.

BackgroundEdit

Hetman Skoropadsky, head of a puppet Ukrainian State, had difficulty trying to occupy Ukraine as he was confronted by Makhno's Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine. Thus, he was finally called back to Germany after the collapse of the German western front. In March 1918, the RIAU succeeded in defeating the Germans, Austrians, Ukrainian Nationalists, and multiple regiments of the White Army.

EstablishmentEdit

At this point, the military role Makhno had adopted in his early years shifted to an organizing one. The first congress of the Confederation of Anarchists Groups, under the name of Nabat ("The Bell Toll"), issued five main points: suspicion of all political parties, rejection of all dictatorships (mainly those organizing over people), negation of any State concept, rejection of any "transitory period" or "proletarian dictature", self-management of all workers through free workers councils (soviets). These were in clear contrast to Bolshevik views.

Development and characteristicsEdit

From November 1918 to June 1919, an anarchist society developed in Ukraine which included peasants and workers. "The agricultural most part of these villages was composed of peasants, someone understood at the same time peasants and workers. They were founded first of all on equality and solidarity of his members. All, men and women, worked together with a perfect conscience that they should work on fields or that they should be used in housework... Working program was established in meetings where all participated. They knew then exactly what they had to make." (Makhno, Russian Revolution in Ukraine).

New relationships and values were generated by this new social paradigm, which lead Makhnovists to formalize the policy of free communities as the highest form of social justice. Education was organised on Francesco Ferrer's principles, and the economy was based upon free exchange between rural and urban communities, from crop and cattle to manufactured products, according to the theories of Peter Kropotkin.