Anarchists in the Gulag (and prison and exile)

Bolshevik repression of anarchists after 1917

Shlioma Asnin

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[Asnin was killed in the retaking of the Durnova dacha by government forces in Petrograd in June 1917. In this article Ivanov shows how an “ordinary” criminal could come to join the anarchists, and how his dead body, with its tattoos recording his “criminal past” was used to justify the repression.]

“Asnin derived the political authority sufficient for participation in the anarchist activities and for turning into a martyr and a hero after his death not from his elocutionary or literary talents, most likely not from his organizational or combat skills either, but from the political hard-labor subculture. Revolutionary subculture dictated to its participants “lifestyle, and forms of leisure, and range of books to read, and behavioral norms, … and even personal appearance.”  Russian revolutionary subculture was formed by the intelligentsia, but the boundaries of intelligentsia as a group were often rather blurred, and relations of radicalized intelligenty [members of intelligentsia] with the law were frequently rather tense. Would it be too much of a stretch to call Asnin – a self-taught poet and sociologist, teacher’s son – an intelligent? The rapid growth of the revolutionary movement in the early 20th century brought representatives of very different layers of Russian society into contact with the revolutionary underground subculture. Penitentiary system was the main point of contact between revolutionary and common-criminal subcultures. It changed both the revolutionaries and the inmates sentenced for common crimes.”

From “The Dying Criminal”: The Image of the Anarchist Shlioma Asnin and the Political Struggle in Petrograd, June 1917 by Dmitrii I. Ivanov in The Journal of Regional History (2587-8344) V.4 No.3

http://en.hpchsu.ru/archived-issues/the-journal-of-regional-history-v-4-no-3/the-dying-criminal-the-image-of-the-anarchist-shlioma-asnin-and-the-political-struggle-in-petrograd-/

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2, October 2020 at 11:03 am

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Berta Tubisman

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“Arrested in February 1937. Two years and eight months under interrogation. That covers the whole period of the “Great Terror” with its torture methods. This woman in her fifties evidently refused to confess to anything. Otherwise she would have received a death sentence. She managed to last till the “Beria thaw” and was rewarded with five years. Who can beat that?” – A. V. Dubovik

Read the biography by Sergei Ovsiannikov https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/kh19zs

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7, September 2020 at 11:14 am

Arendarenko’s odyssey

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“In 1937–1938 the last anarchists in the USSR were physically eliminated by Stalin’s terror. One exception was the Ukrainian anarchist Ignaty Vasilevich Arendarenko (1898–after 1953). A native of Poltava, he joined the anarchist movement in 1919, taking part in the Poltava branch of the Nabat Anarchist Confederation and the Makhnovist movement. From 1926 to 1936 Arendarenko was either in prison or serving terms of exile. Possessed of excellent survival skills, when he had the opportunity in 1936 he began to live illegally, spending the next few years in Ukraine. Dodging first Stalin’s agents, then the Nazis, he was finally swept up in a raid in 1944 and sent to Austria as a “guest” worker. After the war he lived in Western Europe, contributing articles to the Russian-American journal Dielo Truda-Probuzhdenie (DTP). In 1952 he emigrated to Mexico. In the following article written for DTP, Arendarenko honours the memory of the fellow anarchists (and others) he met in the Soviet justice system.”

The article, What I Saw and Experienced by Ignaty Vasilevich Arendarenko (1898–after 1953) can be read at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/pc87xw
Big thanks to Malcolm Archibald from Black Cat Press for translation and editing.

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11, May 2019 at 4:39 pm

The Funeral of Sazhin-Ross

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The funeral of P. A. Kropotkin on February 13, 1921, has often been described as the last public manifestation of the anarchist movement in Russia, at least until the final years of the Soviet era. But another funeral took place in 1934 in Moscow that also provided an opportunity for the display of anarchist sympathies. The occasion was the death on January 8 of Mikhail Petrovich Sazhin, born 1845, in his youth a close associate of M. A. Bakunin… [read the rest on the Kate Sharpley Library site https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/p2nj3h]

Translation and notes by Malcolm Archibald.

From: Delo Trouda-Probouzhdenie, No. 34 (November–December 1950), pp. 22–23.

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11, February 2019 at 11:29 am

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Faces from the anarchist past: Nabat anarchists in prison

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…probably in 1922.

They are:

Front row left to right: A. I. Levada, Ivan Charin, Liya Gotman, Aron Baron
Back row left to right: Rebeka Yaroshevskaya, Alexey Olonetsky, [not Aleksandr but] V.I. Protsenko, Anton Shlakovoy

taken from the KSL website, where there’s more information (and a correction) https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/bvq9fq

Written by gulaganarchists

9, February 2019 at 4:36 pm

Russian antifascists fundraiser (this is not historical)

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** Russian anti-fascists under attack: Urgent fundraiser launched **
Russian anti-fascists are struggling against a brutal wave of repression which has featured kidnappings, savage beatings, torture and fabricated court cases. Eleven anti-fascists are facing lengthy jail sentences. We are calling for everybody opposed to racism, xenophobia, fascism and the upsurge of far-right populism sweeping the world to help raise funds.

Please donate now at the link below. Solidarity is a weapon.

https://www.firefund.net/rupression

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15, December 2018 at 4:38 pm

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The Lost Memoirs of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Isaak Tarasiuk

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“In January 1929, during the search conducted at the time of my arrest, my memoirs were seized. They were written by me for the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution.

I would like to recover these memoirs so I can use them as the basis for the memoirs I’m currently working on for the 50th anniversary of October.”

More details at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/2jm776

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15, December 2018 at 4:29 pm

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Dina Tsoyrif by Nick Heath

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Dora Isaakovna Tsoyrif was born into a Jewish family in Kiev. There is some confusion about the name of her father as her patronymic is sometimes given as Nikolaevna. In addition she used the first name of Dina in preference to Dora.  Her sisters and brothers ended up in Odessa, Kiev, and the USA. She graduated from a gymnasium (high school) and became an anarchist communist in 1917. She participated in an anarchist detachment in Ukraine and the Don during the Civil War in 1918.

… read the rest at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/tb2t3j

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24, November 2018 at 5:54 pm

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Some articles on Russian anarchist history

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“Declaration of the Melekessian Group of Anarcho-Communists” from Anarkhia (Moscow, 1918, Translation and notes by Malcolm Archibald) at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/rjdhbw

“A Conversation with P. A. Kropotkin” From: Life and Creative Work of Russian Youth, (No. 32-33, May 18, 1919; Translation and notes by Malcolm Archibald) at https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/6t1h77

“The English Master” by Aleksandr Moiseyevich Atabekian (From: Pochin, No. 6, June 1920; Translation and notes by Malcolm Archibald) https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/41nt6h

and

Stürmer, Kira Arkadievna (1898-1937) by Nick Heath https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/xd26w8

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10, November 2018 at 7:44 pm

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Anarcho-syndicalist Rubinchik commemorated in Moscow

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The Last Address (Posledny Adres) is the name of a project started by the Russian “Memorial” Society in 2014 to commemorate victims of state repressions in the Soviet Union. The project, which has now spread to other countries, installs small commemorative plaques on the buildings known as the last residential address
of those arrested. One victim recently honoured in this way was the anarcho-syndicalist Efrem Rubinchik (1892–1938). At a small ceremony on March 25, 2018, a plaque was installed at 20 Smolensky Boulevard, Moscow. In attendance was Andrey Dolginov, a great-grandson of Efrem Rubinchik, who applied for the plaque. The following is a translation of the press release issued by “Memorial” in connection with this event as well as some other materials relating to his case. Notes have been added by the translator [Malcolm Archibald].

 

Read on https://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/z34wgk

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28, May 2018 at 6:37 pm

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