Talk:Nestor Makhno

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"however, town mayors and many officials were drawn directly from the ranks of Makhno's military and political leadership"[edit]

Is there a source for this claim? (talk) 14:18, 16 January 2014 (UTC)


Pertaining to the Black Army, the article read "[the army was also called the] "Makhnovists" or "Makhnovshchina" (i.e., "Makhnovism")". My russian isn't that great, but it would appear to me that "Makhnovshchina" in this context would mean "Makhno's [army]" rather than "Makhno's [movement]". So I removed that translation. I do acknowledge that "Makhnovshchina" usually does refer to the whole movement (i.e. Machnovism), as indicated by the russian Wikipedia page for Makhnovshchina; but in this particular instance, I think it rather refers to the army. Wouldn't make much sense to refer to an army as some sort of -ism. Is there a native speaker who can confirm this? Lodp 19:41, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Anything that ends on -SHCHINA is a collective derogatory term (there are some mainly toponymical exceptions).Galassi 20:31, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

So can you confirm that the right translation is "Makhno's [army]" in this context? Lodp 20:30, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

No. The fairly exact meaning is "Makhno's Era" or "Flowering".Galassi 22:57, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

So -- how would "Makhno's Era" fit into the following sentence (which all this is about, after all): "[...] who united into the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine (RIAU), also called the Black Army (because they fought under the anarchist black flag), "Makhnovists" or "Makhnovshchina" (i.e., "Makhno's [army]")." ? If "Makhnovshchina" can't refer to the Army, but only the movement or the era, we better remove that last part, right? 10:12, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Absolutely.Galassi 12:04, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

"Makhnovshchina" is a fairly vague (and somewhat derogatory) term. Its meaning can be interpreted as "all the events associated with Makhno" or "Makhno and his following" or "Makhno's influence" or "the time and the place over which Makhno exerted control". In any case, it would almost certainly be a mistake to translate it as narrowly as "Makhno's army". 0000a 03:43, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Do not try to translate "Маkhnovshchina" from Russian, because it's Ukrainian. The meaning is clear and precise: "a rebellion led by Makhno", just the same as any other rebellion in Ukrainian history e.g. Koliivshchina (1768), Khmelnytshchina (1648), Pavlukovshchina (1637), Taborshchina (1569) etc. Noteworthiness 15:45, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

To my ear as a native Russian speaker from Kiev, rebellion is way too narrow a definition. I believe that this suffix signifies a phenomenon in the broadest sense- in this case specifically the phenomenon of Makhno. This concept encompasses his movement and his ideas as well as the events that occurred as a consequence of these. It is also, as has already been stated, at the very least mildly derisive. This is almost definitely a Ukrainian suffix and I seem to recall that it might be of Turkic origin, though I am not at all sure about this last possibility. But whatever its origins, It has also made its way into Russian. See 'жириновщина' as an example of this, as well as an example of how rebellion just does not cut it. Here's a useful take on this suffix that I just found: (talk) 05:41, 10 February 2012 (UTC)[edit]

Does anyone have any ideas as to which is more true? It seems to me that both have suitable reasons for bias (unsigned comment by User:Real World)

He's a highly controversial figure for sure. I suggest instead of embracing any POV, we refer to notable scholars, to reflect major opinions like: historian A, possibly biased by AA, said AAA, while historian B... Humus sapiensTalk 08:13, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

Concentration camps of Ukraine/Norilsk?[edit]

The article reads:

In 1953, upon the death of Stalin, a vast insurrection took place in the concentration camps of Ukraine. The prisoners of the Norilsk camp, after seizing control, hoisted the flag of Makhnovist movement to the top of the mast.

However, Norilsk is located nowhere remotely close to the Ukraine. It's actually in northern Siberia. This needs clarification.

In some if not most camps the population was 50%+ Ukrainian, thats because concentration camps are usually far away from population centres. So while Norilsk may not be in Ukraine it is still possible to have an Ukrainian camp uprising. Also Siberia has a big Ukrainian population even today. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:31, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Edit by[edit]

The edit by this user, supposedly to remove IMMENSE bias, instead introduced bias. It would appear this user has something against Makhnovists. As such, this page needs editing by a credible source, and has been flagged for bias. Supersheep 09:57, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

I have reverted the page to prior to that person's POV editing. Although some of his claims may have validity, that they are Bolshevik claims needs to be stated. Supersheep 10:07, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

It is clearly stated that these are claims by Makhno' opponents, including Bolsheviks. Fisenko 19:16, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

That is only stated in the first paragraph. I will return to this tomorrow (barring time problems) and integrate the criticisms in an unbiased manner (I'm drop-dead tired at the moment). Supersheep 22:22, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm the person who changed the article under '', and I did clearly identify all of my additions as Bolshevik claims and viewpoints. Before I did that, this article sounded like a page from Lives of the Saints. It's not my fault that the only people criticizing Makhno were the Bolsheviks. To put it bluntly: if you're going to call us fake communists, we can call you fake anarchists. The Bolsheviks' success, and the threat it posed to rich people everywhere, earned them their terrible reputation in capitalist media worldwide. Either due to his steadfast adhesion to principle, or simple military incompetence, Makhno never earned the ire of the yellow press; his character was never pinned with any of his crimes, so his supporters can parade him around like some archangel, . I think that's not fair. The fog of war was very thick in undeveloped Ukraine; we know little about what really happened in those tumultuous years. If Makhno had been more successful, who is to say that he would not have proven to be just another exploiter, like the rebel-turned-emperor Zhu Yuanzhang? Conversely, if the Bolsheviks had been less successful - if Lenin and co. had been wiped out by police raids in 1916, for example - maybe bourgeois history would shed a crocodile tear for them so as to contrast them with some less favorable revolutionaries.

OK find a source, and introduce it as a critisism. Don't just rewrite the whole article. There is room here for varied opinions. But they must be other sources, not just your opinion. Remember, no original research. And sign your contributions.--Michael Johnson 13:12, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

That's what I did, everything added was identified as a dissenting opinion. And yes, my additions were drawn from contemporary Russian writings, especially Trotsky. You're right about signing, though, sorry. Must get a handle.

Please be communists and anarchists on your own time. Trotsky is part of history, and not a historian, so quote him to demonstrate a point, but don't inject his writing into Wikipedia. Try to draw on verifiable, neutral sources for Wikipedia articles.  Michael Z. 2006-09-19 01:47 Z

I didn't inject Trotsky's writing into the article; there are simply very few critical sources about Makhno and his anti-state. For what it's worth, Trotsky was an accomplished historian; his History of the Russian Revolution is an unparalleled work on the subject. Anyway, I counterpose that the anarchist side of this debate rests on the personal accounts of Makhnovist military leaders, namely Makhno himself. I agree that a general is a less reputable source than a historian, but once again I defend myself and my changes with the fact that the previous, completely pro-anarchist version of this article rested on Makhno's testimony and Makhnovist propaganda; and unlike the anarchists who wrote that original version, I clearly identified my additions as "leninist POV."

Black Army[edit]

This article says that Makhno's army was called the Black Army, however all Russians seem to connect Makhno with the Green Army, and the black more with figures such as Petlyura. Any idea about the confusion?Yarilo2 13:11, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

The book Black Earth, Red Star: A History of Soviet Security Policy, 1917-1991, by R. Craig Nation, agrees with you, calling Makhno's army the "Green" army on page 27. Larry Dunn 20:36, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
The book The White Generals: An Account of the White Movement and the Russian Civil War, by Richard Luckett also makes no mention of any "Black Army", and indeed refers (briefly) to the "Makhnovist movement" as being among the "Green armies". I can't cite a page as I've since sold the book, unfortunately. It appears to me that both scholarly sources as well as the Russians (Marxist-Leninist or otherwise) all seem to have referred to the anarchist army as a part of the broad swath of partisan rebellions known as the Green Armies. So far as I can tell - and I can't tell very far! - it is the Makhnovists themselves as well as sympathetic anarchists who referred to it as the Black Army, alone. Also, [1] cites Peter Arshinov's A History of the Makhnovist Movement (1918-1921), ca. 1974, in its' claim that "The RIAU was also called the Makhnovists (after Nestor Makhno), the insurgent army and the black army after it’s distinctive black flags (black being the color of anarchism)." Being that the referenced book was not published until 1974, (and Luckett's work itself having been published, according to and to my own memory, no earlier than 1971), I think that a fine temporary conclusion would be that the anarchist army was not widely known as "The Black Army" outside of, perhaps, anarchist circles. Zanturaeon 01:10, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Zanturaeon. Any ideas on how the article can be adjusted to reflect this discussion? Larry Dunn 14:57, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

As far as I can tell there has never been a cohesive entity in the Russian Civil War that identified itself as the "green army." I think that "Green" was a catch all tag applied by Bolshevik historians and propagandists to various largely peasant insurgencies that rejected both the 'Reds' and the 'Whites.'

I've only ever seen "green" army as well. I think it should at least be reflected in the text, I've never heard "black" army anywhere.Dan Carkner 01:31, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Victor Serge refers to the 'Black Army' several times, in Memoirs of a Revolutionary and elsewhere.
Wnjr 12:07, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

As far as I know the term 'green army' in the civil war referred to any nationalist army rather than a cohesive entity. Since the black army was a Ukrainian phenomenon this may explain it being referred to as green, despite the fact that it was not nationalist. In conclusion I would say that applying the green label to Makhno & company is misleading. Whether or not they were referred to as the black army 'on the ground' at the time I do not know, though I do not think it unlikely considering the use of black flags. This is all coming from my AS level (UK college qualification) history so I doubt I got this impression from a source with notable bias, though I cannot quote a specific source for this. 19:27, 2 December 2007 (UTC)


So, there's been a neutrality tag on this article for months, but not really a discussion here about the issues of concern. If somebody has issues, they should bring them up here instead of tagging and running. Murderbike (talk) 07:49, 24 December 2007 (UTC)


Have the following deleated:

which eventually were united into the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine (RIAU), .....


Makhno was not nationalistic (see the quotation in the article). Hence any ethnicaly-colored adjectives are not valid (Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine included)

sk 09:06, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

You can't just change the name of a historical organization (or pretend it didn't exist) because you feel it should have been named differently! Ahuitzotl (talk) 03:48, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Donetsk Basin[edit]

Have deleted:

eastern Ukraine included the largest coal and iron mines in the former Russian Empire and was relatively industrialized.

Reason: Machno has no major influence in Yusovka arrea. sk 09:08, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Edits by Mzajac[edit]

User:Mzajac has included a "Atrocity" section by using a source "Magocsi 1996". He should give full name of the reference. Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 17:45, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Look in Nestor Makhno#ReferencesMichael Z. 2008-05-03 17:56 z
Well, do you have some more reliable sources supporting these claims? Although the book is scholarly reference, Paul Robert Magocsi is not an authority in the field of anarchism. He has written several book on Ukrainian history, not about anarchism. Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 18:02, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, sorry I only had a respected U of T historian supporting this, and not some anarchist books from the 1920s. I've added a few more. If you have specific evidence that Magocsi is unreliable, then please cite it here. Otherwise, we footnote historians, we don't accuse them of "alleging" things (unless perhaps we are a bit too emotionally invested in a subject).
Magocsi characterizes Makhno's tenure as "military ravages", and points out that the Makhnovists' destructive attacks on Germans and Mennonites were partly responsible for a huge depopulation. He also includes an extended quotation which helps show what happened to the Mennonites.
Regarding pogroms against Jews: "Whether the pogroms and excesses were carried out by White Russian armies, by forces loyal to the Bolshevkis or to the Ukrainian National Republic, or by uncontrolled marauding bands and self-styled military chieftains (like Hryhoriïv and Makhno), the Director of the Ukrainian National Republic and particularly its leader, Symon Petliura have been blamed in most subsequent Jewish writings." (Magocsi 506–7)
Magocsi is acknowledging that Makhno has been accused, and it may never be possible to prove the specific guilt or innocence of him or his forces. Indeed, could Makhno himself have controlled or been aware of every act committed by a huge volunteer army of varying composition, conducting so-called expropriations ("ravages") throughout Katerynoslav? To ignore this accusation, which so many people take it very seriously, would be naïve or revisionist. I'm sorry I don't have more conclusive information about this, but most of what I can see on the net about this question is strongly partisan for or against Makhno—but the Wikipedia article shouldn't be. Michael Z. 2008-05-04 07:32 z

It is Magocsi's view to charcaterize Makhno's tenure as "military ravages". It is not mainstrem view. Noam Chomsky describe George W. Bush as "terrorist", this is Chomsky's view, not mainstream view. What Magocsi tells it it his personal view, not mainstream view. Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 14:58, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Well, he is a mainstream historian (while Chomsky in your example is considered somewhat fringe). Can you cite some others who have a contradictory view? Is it just the one statement you have a problem with? Michael Z. 2008-05-04 15:05 z
"Chomsky in your example is considered somewhat fringe" it is your personal opinion. You need other views? Emma Goldman, Libcom, Richard Stites, Mikhail Khvostov, Andrei Karachtchouk, Hiroaki Kuromiya, David Porter - any more? Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 15:09, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Magocsi as reference[edit]

I have added a POV tag in the "Makhno's peasant army" section because:

  • Magocsi's view on Makhno is not mainstream view. Magocsi fails to adress that Makhno was a revolutionary anarcho-communist. I have more authoritative sources like Emma Goldman describing Makhno as "great revolutionary". Which is more authoritative? Emma Goldman or Magocsi? Not only Emma Goldman, in fact majority of the sources available describe Makhno as revolutionary anarcho-communist.
  • Yekelchyk tells Ukraine during the revolution was a "sea of anarchy, divided up and controlled by local peasant chieftains, the so-called otamany". He does not understand what is meant by "anarchy".

Since this section rely upon the view of Magocsi and Yekelchyk, as opposed to the mainstream view, I am adding POV and Unbalanced tag in the section. Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 15:07, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

I have to dispute your rationale.
  1. Emma Goldman was an anarchist political activist, active before 1940. Not a historian. Not mainstream. Not current. One might consider her opinion POV. Certainly not authoritative in the context of writing the free encyclopedia.
  2. Do you have a source supporting your view about Yekelchyk, or is this your own opinion?
Magocsi and Subtelny are published by the University of Toronto, Yekelchyk by Oxford University. They are as mainstream as you can get on the subject of Ukrainian history. If you can add some more reliable sources (not early-20th-c anarchists) then we can adjust the text accordingly. Currently, I don't see any substance to your explanation. Michael Z. 2008-05-04 15:19 z

Yes yes I have. Paul Avrich, a noted historian. The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern War published by Oxford University Press. Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 15:30, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

I welcome contributions from those sources which can improve the article. What do they say which contradicting this section?
Regarding mainstream views: both Subtelny and Magocsi are cited in Yekelchyk, and they are both referred to as the "standard surveys" by Anna Reid in Borderland and "standard histories of Ukraine" by Andrew Wilson in The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation.
What specifically are you disputing? Neither Magocsi nor the text in this section denies that Makhno was a revolutionary anarcho-communist. Yekelchyk uses anarchy to mean exactly what the dictionary says: "a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority." Michael Z. 2008-05-04 16:26 z

Anarchy not necessarily is "disorder". See definition of anarchy at the article Anarchy. Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 16:29, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes, but it clearly does in this quotation.
This Avrich article is not bad: "Russian Anarchists and the Civil War", but it seems to concentrate on Makhno's military actions and doesn't address the "expropriations", except for a mention of "attack the gentry". The description of Makhno's forces growing from "hitherto independent guerilla bands" and of their military methods help develop the picture, as well as:
"a 'partisan army' organized spontaneously by the revolutionary masses themselves."
"Makhno was a bold and resourceful commander who combined an iron will with a quick sense of humour and won the love and devotion of his peasant followers"
 Michael Z. 2008-05-04 16:46 z

Long quotation misinterpreted[edit]

At this time the agents of Tsentralna Rada [Ukrainian nationalistic government] roamed around the region harassing everybody who was not Ukrainian enough in their view....

The idea (of nationalism) was repulsive to peasants. They usually took these agitators from the podium and beat them up as the enemies of brotherly union of Russian and Ukrainian people.

This mean propaganda of Ukrainian nationalism raised the working population of the region to the fight against any form of separate Ukrainianism because the latter was seen as a death threat to the revolutionary cause.

This appears to be the source of this translation:

Оставаться нейтральным и к тем и другим тем более было невозможно, потому что население района было определенно враждебно настроено против политики Украинской Центральной рады, агенты которой, разъезжая по району, травили всякого и каждого революционера, называя его «предателем неньки Украины» и защитником «кацапiв», которых по «идее» Центральной Украинской рады (по выражению ее агентов), конечно, нужно было убивать, «як гобытилi в мови».

Такая идея оскорбляла крестьян. Они стягивали с трибуны проповедников и били как врагов братского единения украинского народа с русским.

Вот эта-то злопамятная проповедь шовинистов-украинцев толкнула трудовое население Гуляйпольского района на путь вооруженной борьбы со всякой формой обособленного украинства, ибо население видело в этом шовинизме, который фактически являлся руководящей идеей украинства, смерть для революции. [2]

The translation is inaccurate and incomplete. In this case "the idea" refers to the specific chauvinist comments attributed to the Rada's agents, not to the abstract idea of "nationalism". It is specifically this chauvinism which was seen by the people as death to the revolution (which the author considers to be the basis of Ukrainianism).

I'm removing this from the article until someone can provide a more literal translation, suitable to be presented as a direct quotation. Michael Z. 2008-05-08 21:35 z

Mzajac misrepresentation[edit]

The POV-pushing edits by the above user are inappropriate for the following reasons:

Makhno supported the Bolsheviks, it is true, but it was not part of his ideology. It was only part of a tactic in a special situation where he supported the Bolsheviks to counter the White army. It was a special military tactic. But it was not part of his ideology. Hence mentioning this in the lead sounds like support for Bolshevism was part of his ideology and misleading. Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 05:45, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Yekelchyk 2007, p 80, regarding the "local peasant chieftains, the so-called otamany. Some of them led peasant armies of many thousands and could influence national politics. Among the most famous were otaman Matvii Hryhoriiv, . . . and Nestor Makhno, a peasant anarchist, who concentrated his 40,000-strong army in the southern steppes, supporting in turn the Bolsheviks, the Directory, the Bolsheviks again, and finally, the idea of a peasant anarchist republic."
This speaks to the importance of Makhno during the Civil War. It undeniably describes his military and political actions, without removing the mention of his politics and character. The article can expand on this in detail, including his motivations and ideology, with support from reliable sources.
I also mention his background as a peasant, and add a word of context for who Emma Goldman was. Trying to make it more of a balanced history, and sound less like a tribute, by including more than one POV. Michael Z. 2008-05-09 06:23 z
We do not need to mention what was Makhno's strategy in the civil war. For this, there are other sections The Makhnovshchina. The lead section is for describing who Makhno was, not to describe the detail of his tactics. What is needed to mention in the lead is Makhno's identity, what he did or for what reason he is famous, what motivated him to become involved in revolutionary politics or his political viewpoint. And all these are mentioned in the lead. Should you mention that Stalin supported Hitler at the beginning of the Second World War in the starting paragraph. You can add in the lead of the Stalin article that "Stalin was a Russian communist who supported the Nazis and then turned against them". Will it be encyclopedic? Is it the identity of Stalin? No. What the reference is saying is supported by other references also but this reference does not explain why Makhno did this or what was the reason for his support for the Bolsheviks. Only mentioning a simple sentence without giving the explanation is misleading. This needs detailed explanation for which there is the section The Makhnovshchina. In the lead we need to mention the identity of Makhno and for what he is credited. The identity of Emma Goldman is unnecessary to mention because she is very much famous. You do not need to mention the identity of George H. W. Bush as "According to anti-communist and capitalist George H. W. Bush..." when you use him as reference in communism/communist country related articles. Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 06:38, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
We need to mention Makhno's major influential actions, just as the intro to Stalin says that he consolidated power, launched a command economy, conducted purges, and fought Nazi Germany.
Emma Goldman is not as famous as George Bush, and when he is mentioned the first time in another article, I would write "U.S. President George W. Bush." Michael Z. 2008-05-09 06:53 z
Why the hell don't you want to mention that Emma Goldman was an anarchist activist? Michael Z. 2008-05-09 06:55 z
Oh yes yes, Emma Goldman is as much famous. And yes we need to mention Makhno's major influential actions, but not in a way that is misleading. Will you start the article George W. Bush that "George W. Bush is the president of the United States during who's rule human rights abuses were reported in Iraq like the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse"? No, it will be misleading. Do not present facts in a misleading way only because it serves your POV and political agenda. Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 06:58, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I never heard of Emma Goldman before editing this article. Neither have most Wikipedia readers. Saying she is as famous as George Bush is either hyperbolic or naïve. Her name needs at least a word or two of identification. All the more so because she praises him, and was an anarchist colleague of his, and not a neutral source, so her POV also needs to be identified. If you won't concede the point, let's get a third opinion.
There is nothing misleading about this. Yekelchyk wrote a book on Ukrainian history, mentioning about Makhno only what I quoted above. The fact is that he was militarily significant, he led his forces for several causes, and changed allegiances several times. Michael Z. 2008-05-09 07:09 z
If you have not heard about Emma Goldman, this is your personal matter. Well I agree that Emma Goldman is less known than George W. Bush because all philosophers are less known than state leaders or politicians or celebrities. This is because there are very few people who can understand the writing of the philosophers, general people are more inclined in watching films. But Emma Goldman is one of the most influential philosopher in the twentieth century. If you use Ludwig von Mises as a reference, you do not need to mention that "According to capitalist Ludwig von Mises...". Emma Goldman is equally notable as Ludwig von Mises is. You need to provide some reliable sources to prove that Emma Goldman is not well-known. If you use Human Action in any communism related article, you do not need to mention that "According to pro-capitalist book Human Action...".
And yes there is misleading about this. No one is denying Yekelchyk wrote a book, but if you mention the fact that he changed alliance you need to explain the reason, otherwise it is misleading. The lead is for describing for why Makhno was famous, not a simple sentence that he changed alliance without any explanation. Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 07:17, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Like it or not, Makhno is famous because he led a huge peasant army which changed sides several times. Yekelchyk mentioned the fact that he changed alliances, without explaining the reason.
The Emma Goldman question is much simpler. Michael Z. 2008-05-09 07:35 z
Like it or not, Makhno is famous because he led a revolutionary anarcho-communist movement. Majority of the sources mention this fact including The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern War. You have not answered to the original questions. Why your rewrite is misleading is very simple. And the Emma Goldman question, that there is no need to mention her identity, is also very simple. Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 07:41, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
You said yourself that most people are not very familiar with philosophers. Anyone mentioned in an article should be identified, all the more so such a person. Furthermore, as a person who took part in the revolution in Ukraine as an ally of Makhno, she is a primary source sharing the POV of the subject of the article: it's important to identify her as such, if such a subjective quotation from her is to be allowed in the article at all.
See Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, and Wikipedia:Attribution#Primary and secondary sourcesMichael Z. 2008-05-10 18:26 z

(outdent) (from Wikipedia:Third opinion) A good portion of this discussion seems to touch on the issues dealt with in the undue weight policy. Specifically, what verifiable information should be discussed at what length and in what order. That is, if you will pardon the pun, a weighty issue. I may offer an opinion on that as well after reading a few sources, as Makhno was hitherto unknown to me (history is not my strong suit, sorry).

As for the specific issue of providing a brief introduction before giving Goldman's opinion: I would say that a few descriptive words would not detract from presenting the main subject of the article. Clearly "Emma Goldman, a late 19th to early 20th century Lithuanian-American anarchist and feminist whose political consciousness was shaped by the Haymarket riot, ..." would be excessive and superfluous. Given, however, that their historical interactions were limited in scope, it is not unreasonable stylistically to provide a cue both to help identify her (there are surely other Emma Goldmans in the world) and indicate why we should care about her opinion on this issue. Where the present context does not make it otherwise obvious, I would warrant that readability is enhanced through a small number of adjectives on the first mention of a person - the text does not need to be maximally information-dense. Consider it akin to a host briefly introducing a guest speaker before the main speech.

Consider, for example, the article on Pierre Curie. The second paragraph opens with mention of his shared Nobel Prize. Becquerel is given no additional introduction since as a co-awardee his entire relevance is the subject of the sentence. Marie Curie, on the other hand, is additionally identified as his wife; this secondary information is not the subject of the sentence, but adds to its expository value by providing additional context. There is no indication that the authors expect the readers to be unaware of a famous physicist, only that they expect them to find the additional information topical and useful.

As I indicated above, I have no opinion at present as to whether it is appropriate to include Goldman's documented opinion in the lead or elsewhere. If she is cited, however, an adjective or two indicating the relevance of her opinion may be included. This introduction should not interrupt the flow of the sentence and must neither unduly deride nor extol her. - Eldereft ~(s)talk~ 22:17, 20 May 2008 (UTC)


Don't call me a "religious propagandist".[3] You are far off of the mark, but don't resort to any name-calling in your edit summaries. Michael Z. 2008-05-09 08:28 z

Are you volunteering to the title? I have not named anyone. So it is not "name-calling". Otolemur crassicaudatus (talk) 10:09, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Throwing "this article is under constant attack from religious propagandists"[4] into your discussion with me is uncivil. The guideline defines this clearly: "insults and name calling. Comment on the actions and not the editor". You are calling names, and then using a snide comment to deny responsibility for your own words. I suggest you stick to discussing the topic, and avoid characterizations of other editors altogether. Michael Z. 2008-05-10 18:14 z

Missing dates and places[edit]

There is a need to add dates and place names to some of the events described in the article, especially for the section "A White and Red counter-strike". Michael Z. 2008-05-10 00:07 z

References format[edit]

Repeating full citations is redundant, and the extended cite templates clutter the wikitext. The notes should be kept short, to avoid the "disruptive effect" as recommended in Wikipedia:Citing sources#Clearer editing with shortened notes, and citations belong in a separate references section. Michael Z. 2008-05-10 18:36 z

Personal Life[edit]

This whole paragraph reeks of favortism for N. Makhno... Don't know if it is justified or not, but it clear is a most unneutral paragraph. V. Joe (talk) 16:28, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

My Mother-in-law, who was born in Odessa, described meeting Nestor Makhno when she was only seven years old. She remembered three things about him: his white horse, his long, black boots and his revolver. Makhno was looking for gold that might be hidden. After being told that there was no gold to be found, he raped and murdered my children's great grandmother. My mother-in-law described the blood running down her mother's long hair when she was standing in the kitchen. Makhno then shot her in the front yard of their house in front of the whole family. There was no gold and the family wss certainly not rich. This atrocity was committed by Nestor Makhno personally. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:17, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

the preceeding comment has zero credibility[edit]

The precceding unsigned comment has not more credibility than my comment would if I claimed that the Makhnovists were extraterrestrials and that they did their fighting from flying saucers.

Miasnikov (talk) 19:10, 24 August 2009 (UTC) miasnikov Miasnikov (talk) 19:10, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

I Assume He Wasn't Married to His Sister?[edit]

I have never editted on here before and have no idea how to change this, but the wording of the sentence under the 'Exile' section make it sound as if he was married to his daughter: 'Makhno's widow and daughter, Yelena, were deported to Germany for forced labor at the end of the WW2.' Now, if he was married to his daughter, my apologies. Otherwise, I would argue that this sentence should read: 'Makhno's widow, along with his daughter Yelena, were deported to Germany...' (Joshstride (talk) 02:15, 19 June 2008 (UTC))

Mennonite Massacre Apologetics[edit]

While i understand this article is mostly done by anarchists for anarchists i think the apologetic tone for mennonite massacres is repulsive. this passage should contain data on the massacres not arguments to massacre a perfectly pacifist ethnic group. (talk) 14:59, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

I'd agree with this. Even from the subtitle: Allegations of Atrocity. 'Alleged' at no point does the sub-article try to refute the occurrence of the atrocities, so why is it considered 'alleged.'

Rather the article goes on and on about the justifications for the acts, without really describing the acts. But the implication of the sub-article is that the acts happened (hence the justification). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:13, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

"Marxist Dogma" & Neutrality[edit]

While I understand that a good portion of the Anarchist community holds Marxism in contempt, I have to say labeling the concept of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat as a Marxist Dogma isn't particularly subtle or neutral. I've editted it accordingly. Anatoly-Rex (talk) 16:08, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Image of money or stamps[edit]

There is an image currently used in the article: The caption in the article read "Money of the Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine with a portrait of Makhno" which seems to be a translation of the caption on the Russian-language Wikipedia article. However, the info on the image in the commons says that it is "Post stamps of Ukraine" and it certainly does look more like stamps than money. See also this discussion about Makhno and money, which includes a quote from Malet's book on Makhno: . Given this, and lack of reference for what the original source of the image is, or who actually issued the stamps or money, I'm going to remove it.--Larrybob (talk) 17:19, 17 August 2011 (UTC)


I made a couple of edits today:

1. I added a source and quote about Makhno's experience working for Mennonites as a boy. The quote is originally from his memoir "A Rebellious Youth" which has not been published in English yet, so I sourced the quote to M. Archibald's preface to volume 3 of Makhno's memoirs where the quote appears. The quote has been misinterpreted by some authors as proof of Makhno's animosity towards Mennonites and Germans specifically. In none of Makhno's writings does he articulate any ethnic hatred. All his actions were motivated by class struggle. Regarding the Mennonites he would have considered a large segment of them pomeshchiks and kulaks and would have attacked them on that basis alone.

2. I removed the sentence that claims Makhno regarded the Mennonites as enemies due to their religiosity. According to numerous Makhnovist publications discrimination on the basis of religion was strictly prohibited. There are examples of Orthodox priests being executed but always on the grounds that they had collaborated with the enemy [i.e. the White Army]. Regarding the Mennonites specifically I know of no primary source where Makhno voiced his opposition to them on the grounds of his personal atheism. If someone does have such a source feel free to revert my edit and quote the source. Some Mennonites today believe their relatives were attacked because of their religion but in my research I have found no primary sources to confirm this feeling. (talk) 23:05, 26 May 2012 (UTC)SeanP

Further edits made to the Mennonite section:

1. Grammatical problems. Largely subject-noun agreement issues. 2. Additional contextual information. 3. Added that massacres were perpetrated at the Chortiza, Yazykovo, Molotschna and Zagradovka colonies "while under the administrative control of the Makhnovists." This is verifiable through numerous primary sources from both sides. For example, the massacre that occurred at Eichenfeld [Yazykovo colony] is described in detail by numerous first-hand Mennonite accounts. Makhnovist literature does not describe this event but it is clear from V. Belash's [Makhno's Chief of Staff] account that part of the main force of Maknno's army was occupying Yazykovo when the massacre took place. That being said there is no evidence that Makhno was personally present at any of the massacres or issued any related orders relating to these incidents. Details on the specifics of each massacre could be added at a later date if necessary. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:48, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

4. Added information surrounding the burning of Bolshe-Mikhailovka, a key event in the history of Makhnovist-Mennonite relations. 5. Rewrote the fourth paragraph of the Mennonite section. It contained historical inaccuracies and no source for the contention that the Makhnovists began applying a scorched earth policy with the Mennonites in 1919. Rewrote to correctly indicate that the Mennonite Selbstschutz was formed during the German occupation in 1918 and not under Denikin's watch. Added a scholarly source. (talk) 05:46, 27 May 2012 (UTC) SeanP

Heading Change[edit]

I have changed the section heading "Allegations of Atrocities Against Mennonites" to "Relations Between the Makhnovists and Mennonites". I felt the original heading was biased and potentially insensitive in its wording. The word "allegations" suggests that experiences reported by the Mennonites may be untrue. That many Mennonites died while under Makhnovist occupation is easily proven through reference to archival sources and population records. Some specifics, such as Makhno's presence or knowledge of events, may be questioned but the fact that massacres did occur is widely accepted by specialists in this topic. Regardless, I feel the new heading is much more neutral and does not indicate bias for or against Makhno. If anyone out there is opposed to my change, I would be willing to discuss the issue. I have a mass of material I can share with anyone interested in the topic. Kairos1919 (talk) 21:59, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Translation of Bat'ko[edit]

I have reverted the edit of translating Bat'ko as "daddy". I have put in brackets the most common translation of the term in the context of Makhno: "Little Father". Bat'ko is notoriously difficult to translate and even "little father" doesn't do it justice. Bat'ko is a diminutive term for father indicating familiarity and respect. It was a title sometimes given to charismatic leaders in the civil war (i.e. Bat'ko Pravda), and is generally synonymous with "ataman". The Ukrainian scholar V. Chop traces the roots of the word back to the Zaporozhian Cossack era in which it was given to their leaders. "Daddy" or perhaps "Papa" could conceivably work as a translation but as mentioned most academic translations prefer "little father". I suggest that if the article chooses to translate the term we stick with the consensus translation. Read the Makhnovist literature or do a google search for batko and nine times out of ten it is translated as "little father." Kairos1919 (talk) 05:47, 15 July 2012 (UTC)


Two years after the last comment and still no sign of it becoming GA or FA? Wondering what's wrong?--Mishae (talk) 22:34, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Request for Comments[edit]

There is an RfC on the question of using "Religion: None" vs. "Religion: None (atheist)" in the infobox on this and other similar pages.

The RfC is at Template talk:Infobox person#RfC: Religion infobox entries for individuals that have no religion.

Please help us determine consensus on this issue. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:39, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

Non-neutral (anarchist) sources[edit]

The sources in many sections are exclusively or almost exclusively anarchist authors, often even companions-in-arms of Makhno himself. For example, the debunking of charges of anti-Semitic actions, mistreatment of women and drunkenness is sourced only to anarchist publications; in the case of women and drunkenness, the accusation is even raised by an anarchist publication and then even more anarchist publications are cited to disprove it. I'm not saying any of these accusations are correct - I don't know enough about the issue to have a definite opinion - but what's certain is that this kind of sourcing is very far from meeting normal Wikipedian standards as per WP:V and WP:NPOV. Surely assessments by neutral sources, or, in the absence of such, at least by additional sources unaffiliated with anarchism, would be appropriate; and the sources affiliated with anarchism should be explicitly marked as such. I can't exclude the possibility that the most detailed research on Makhno was in fact done by anarchists, but the topic must have been addressed by others, too.-- (talk) 14:55, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

Religion in the infobox[edit]

There have been several RfCs on religion in the infobox:

This RfC had a clear consensus for removing the religion parameter from the infobox for individuals (living, deceased, and fictional), groups, schools, institutions, and political parties that have no religion, but that RfC was determined by the closing administrator to not apply to nations.

This RfC had a clear consensus for removing the religion parameter for countries, nations, states, regions, etc., all of which were determined to not have religions.

This RfC was a response to certain individuals insisting that the previous RfCs did not apply to their favorite pages (schools, political parties, sports teams, computer operating systems, organized crime gangs...) and had a clear consensus that in all all infoboxes in all Wikipedia articles, without exception, nonreligions should not be listed in the "Religion=" parameter of the infobox.

In this RfC, there was a clear consensus to remove the "religion=" and "denomination=" parameters from all infoboxes, not just the ones that call atheism/agnosticism a religion.

There have been four RfCs on this, and all four showed the same overwhelming consensus. All of the RfCs also concluded that you are free to put a section about religion in the body of the article, subject of course to our usual rules such as WP:V, WP:RS and WP:WEIGHT. --Guy Macon (talk) 14:43, 15 June 2017 (UTC)