English translation of Len Kamenev and Makhno

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Mike Harman
Joined: 7-02-06
Mar 16 2018 13:05
English translation of Len Kamenev and Makhno

Just seen this and wondering if there's a translation of these accounts in English.

The PDF is free to download, but the article itself is in French.



This article is devoted to a meeting between the anarchist leader Makhno and the Bolshevik leaders Lev Kamenev and Kliment Voroshilov in early May 1919. This meeting took place in Ukraine, in Huliaipole, the headquarters of Makhno, as the civil war was raging. A detailed narration of Kamenev’s expedition was published in the Soviet journal Proletarskaya revolyutsiya in 1925. Written by a member of the Soviet delegation, it is the only remaining testimony of the expedition and the meeting. It is this text, written by a member of the Soviet delegation, that Russian historians use when referring to the Bolshevik expedition in Ukraine and the meeting between Kamenev and Makhno. Until now, historians did not know the identity of its author. But this article brings to light the identity of the “anonymous chronicler” of the expedition, who happens to be Vladimir Sokolin, a Russian who grew up in Geneva and joined the Tsarist army before converting to Bolshevism and becoming Kamenev’s secretary in November 1918. His archives are kept in Geneva and Moscow. Sokolin is the author of four texts about the expedition in which he participated. The texts were written at different times and in different political contexts: between 1919 and 1966 in the USSR and Switzerland. After recounting the story of the texts, this article analyses their differences. Even though they seem minor at first sight, the differences allow us to think about the way past events are transmitted by a witness, as well as the use that historians can make of such accounts.

Also whether there's an account from the Bolshevik side of Makhno visiting Lenin:


Mainly for the purpose of winding up Leninists who continue to insist Makhno was an anti-Semitic bandit, I don't think the full extent of the relationships with the Bolsheviks is understood, and documentation from the Bolsheviks themselves disproves the usual 'but x historian is an anarchist' crap.

Karetelnik's picture
Joined: 19-12-07
Mar 16 2018 18:01

Mike Harman asks:

whether there's an account from the Bolshevik side of Makhno visiting Lenin

There is no account in the biographies of Lenin of a meeting with Makhno in June 1918. Nor is there any mention of Lenin's meetings with dozens of other "suspicious elements." For example, Lenin's meeting in that month with Evgenia Bosch, an important Ukrainian revolutionary but a future Trotskyist, is almost completely suppressed, while his alleged meeting with Alexander Parkhomenko, a future civil war martyr (killed by Makhno), is almost certainly fictitious.

In his memoirs, Makhno mentions only one meeting with Lenin, but in a letter to an old comrade written in the 1920s he refers to two meetings.