Anarchists in the Gulag (and prison and exile)

Bolshevik repression of anarchists after 1917

Archive for December 2017

Boris Klichevsky: A Letter from Tashkent (1925)

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In 1925 the anarchist Boris Klichevsky, exiled in Soviet Turkestan, wrote a letter to his old comrade Mark Mrachny in Berlin, reporting on the condition of repressed anarchists in the USSR. Klichevsky was a starosta, literally an “elder,” for the community of anarchist exiles in the city of Tashkent. This was an elected position which entitled Klichevsky to negotiate with the Soviet authorities on behalf of his fellow-exiles, and also gave him access to information about anarchist exiles and prisoners at other locations. Mrachny prepared a typescript of the letter which is now preserved in the International Institute for Social History (Senya Fléchine Papers: Folder 47, pp. 130-132). A heavily edited version was published in English translation in the Bulletin of the Joint Committee for the Defense of Revolutionists Imprisoned in Russia (November-December 1925) as an anonymous letter.

One remarkable feature of Russian anarchism has always been its ability to regenerate itself under the most adverse conditions. As Klichevsky’s letters shows, there was a new wave of young people coming into the movement, people who were too young to take part in the revolutions of 1905 and 1917. Despite being indoctrinated in the Komsomol (Communist Youth) or even the Party itself, these people, from all walks of life, gravitated to anarchism.

The letter has been translated and annotated by Malcolm Archibald. Read it at:

Written by gulaganarchists

12, December 2017 at 9:47 am

Posted in Sources / Links, Texts

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