Viktor Belash

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Viktor Fedorovich Belash (1893, Novospasovka, Russian Empire– 24 January 1938, Kharkiv, Soviet Union) was the Chief of Staff of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine (RIAU) under Nestor Makhno.[1] He was of Ukrainian ethnicity.[2] Belash's Memoirs are an important source for the history of this insurrection.

After Makhno was forced to retreat over the border with Romania on 16 August 1921, as the result of multiple wounds, Belash directed operations against the Reds in his absence.

He was captured by the Bolsheviks on September 23, 1921, after being heavily wounded in battle at Znamenka. He was imprisoned in Kharkov prison, where he was sentenced to death. Whilst in prison, he was encouraged to write his memoirs by the Cheka, which he was able to do in great detail with the help of his military notes and campaign diary. He filled three large exercise books with these memoirs. Extracts from these appeared in Issue 3 of Letopsis Revoliutsii (Annals of the Revolution) No3, May–June 1928 with many text changes by the Soviet censors. Released by the Soviet government under an amnesty in 1923, he was banished to Krasnodar in the Kuban region. There he worked as a mechanic for the Hunters Union. On 13 December 1937 during the mass purges of Stalin, he was arrested and put in front of a firing squad on 24 January 1938. He was posthumously rehabilitated on April 1976 for “insufficient evidence”.

His son, Alexander, a World War II veteran, was able to obtain the manuscript of his father's work, with other previously unknown documents, in 1993. It has proved, with its minute details, to be an extremely valuable source on the Makhnovist movement. It was published in 2007.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Skirda, Alexandre, Nestor Makhno: Anarchy's Cossack. AK Press, 2004, p. 86
  2. ^ "Жертвы политического террора в СССР". Lists.memo.ru. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  3. ^ "Οι δρόμοι του Νέστορ Μαχνό". goodreads. Retrieved 2013-06-14.