Updates on the history of Russian anarchism (February 2015)

1, The Senya Fleshin papers partly online

The Senya Fléchine [Fleshin] Papers at The International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam are a primary source on Bolshevik persecution of the Russian anarchist movement. They also show the dynamics of the anarchist solidarity efforts with their imprisoned and exiled comrades. While most of the letters are in Russian, there’s also material in English and other languages. An incomplete set of scans from the Fleshin papers can be seen at: http://senyafleshinpapers.wordpress.com/

These letters are (partly) indexed: see https://senyafleshinpapers.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/flechinelettersindex.xls

A file of letters, published anonymously by the Joint Committee for the Defense of Revolutionists Imprisoned in Russia or the Relief Fund of the International Working Men’s Association (IWMA) for Anarchists and Anarcho-Syndicalists Imprisoned or Exiled in Russia is available at https://gulaganarchists.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/anarchistletters2015.pdf Some of the originals of these letters will be in the Fleshin papers scans. Please let us know if you can connect the original with the published version.

2, New Biographies of Russian anarchists

We have recently put up on the Kate Sharpley Library site three biographies of anarchists by Malcolm Archibald who followed very different trajectories.

Anarchist Renegade: Viktor Belash in Tashkent http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/31zdp5

Viktor Belash (1893–1938) is a controversial figure in the history of anarchism in Ukraine. After heroic service as a military leader in the Makhnovist movement, he spent the last 14 years of his life on a mission to eradicate the last traces of the movement for which he had sacrificed so much.

Peter Bianki: the Soviet years http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/tdz1w5

Bianki was a leading figure in the Union of Russian Workers in the USA, and was deported on the Buford in 1919. He joined the Communist Party and was killed in a peasant revolt in 1930.

The Tumultuous Last Months of the Anarcho-syndicalist Peter Rybin http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/qnkbt9

Peter Rybin took part in the revolutionary labour movements of Russia, Ukraine, and the United States and played an important role in the later stages of the Makhnovist movement. Yet he has remained a shadowy figure, known mainly through a brief biographical sketch in Peter Arshinov’s history. The recent discovery of Rybin’s Ukrainian Cheka (secret police) case file from 1921 has shed light on his life, particularly the last few fateful months.

3, Russian Anarchists in the Labour Movement in the Early 20th Century by Anatoly Dubovik

In Soviet historiography, the social basis of Russian anarchism was routinely ascribed to the petite-bourgeoisie. This legend has persisted into the post-Soviet period, despite a lack of empirical evidence. Using the database he has painstakingly constructed over many years, the Ukrainian researcher Anatoly Dubovik seeks to deal with this question scientifically by means of a statistical analysis. See http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/9cnqct –

PDF at http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/5qfvvq

Thanks to Malcolm Archibald for the translation.

4, Leah Feldman letters

We have two letters from Leah Feldman to the Relief Fund of the International Working Men’s Association (IWMA) for Anarchists and Anarcho-Syndicalists Imprisoned or Exiled in Russia, and a dedicatory poem from one of Leah’s books.





Thanks to Murray Glickman for the translations from Yiddish