Makhno anarchist overloads | The anarchist library


Among the more than five thousand types of currency and bonds that were issued on the territory of Ukraine, during the years of civil war and military intervention, banknotes with overprints made by anarchists. There are different opinions on the authenticity of these overprints up to this time among our bonists.

In the early 1920s, there was discussion of the issue of paper banknotes among anarchists. In the 1922 edition of the journal Caucasian collector, the question was directly asked: “Did N. Makhno’s links exist?” In his memoirs, published in the collection Revolution and Civil War, K. Gerasimenko, for example, argued that “Makhno, through Volin, put into practice everything he thought necessary, up to and including the printing of banknotes.” They were not found, although rumors persisted of their release.

In the 1960s, interest in Makhno banknotes increased again. This was due to the fact that in a fairly complete catalog of national banknotes of N. Kardakov, anarchist overprints were described in the section of Soviet issues as rare and in circulation.

Alma-Ata collector IN Koltyshev even cites overprints by anarchist N. Makhno. Five-ruble banknotes issued by the Rostov-on-Don bank in 1918 are stamped in red printing ink in four lines:

1 Rev. Ins. Army Ukr.

50 rub.


1919 N. Makhno

There are overlays in which the word “insurgents” is omitted. Overprints are known on banknotes in ruble denominations of Tsarist Russia, where, in addition to this text, the head of a man in a Kubanka (presumably Makhno) is depicted. Overprints on paper banknotes in denominations of one and five rubles increased the value of the currency tenfold.

In addition to the above – mercantile ones, there are also curious anarchist overprints. For example, this: “Hey, mate, stop worrying! Smart money is on Makhno! By the way, I. Koltyshev cites a similar overprint in his study: “as done without the knowledge of Makhno by individuals of the command staff and only out of curiosity.”

However, bonists are interested in the question: are anarchist overprints from southern Ukraine genuine or fake?

As you know, there is no surviving archival document that would shed light on this question. In the statement adopted by the Makhnovists in October 1919, there is some information about the attitude to money. One of the ancient theoreticians of anarchism, I. Teper, wrote: “On the question of how funds will be and should be collected for the implementation of general construction tasks (i.e. the “free society of anarchists”. – RT), the declaration answers: “Free and voluntary self-taxation of the workers”, i.e. “the money remains old, the new declaration does not recommend the impression “.

Until recently, it was believed that Makhno did not print his money “because it was useless”, since their source – the confiscation of valuables – “was inexhaustible”. But if the anarchists did not print them, they might overprint old banknotes for mercantile reasons. They were aware of the overprints on Freedom Loan bonds, other banknotes and substitutes that were in circulation in Ukraine at the time.

At the end of September – beginning of November 1919, the Makhnovists, having captured a large region of southern Ukraine, allowed the circulation of all banknotes: Soviet, Denikin (Don), Petliur, Kerenok, Tsarist and other local banknotes .

An eyewitness to Katerynoslav M. Gutman writes: “Makhno did not write off any money and took compensation from both Soviet and Don. However, the Revolutionary Military Soviet apparently preferred to keep the Don money, as only Soviet money was distributed to the population.

Issues of Rostov-on-Don were commonly called “Don”, banknotes that had the right to circulate throughout the Don region. Just as in Soviet Russia, all numbers of the Central Rada, Hetmanate and Directory were called “Ukrainian” or the numbers of various Caucasian governments were called “Caucasian”, etc.

The fact that the Makhnovists kept them at home suggests that it was this money that they decided to buffer. Moreover, as you know, it is the note which has been most often overprinted by anarchists.

In Katerynoslav there were large stocks of confiscated “Don”, the value of which decreased daily due to inflation. This apparently forced the anarchists to resort to an already proven method – stamping them, multiplying the cost by 10 and forcing the population to accept it at that rate. Already known to us, I. Teper wrote that “the financial specialist Joseph Emigrant […] carried out foreign exchange operations with such success that the rapid fall of the Soviet currency did not in any way affect the state of the cash desk. This convinces us once again that he had to resort at critical moments to stamping the “Don” to improve Makhno’s financial situation.

The text of the overprint given by I. Koltyshev is quite plausible. In various newspapers, leaflets, documents, the Makhnovists called themselves “revolutionary insurgents” or “revolutionary insurgent army of Ukraine”.

Why is the village of Huliaipole named in the overlays, and not another town captured by the Makhnovists? The answer is simple. Makhno toyed with the idea of ​​​​creating “autonomy”, and within it a “free order” with the capital in the village of Huliaipole.

Based on the above, we can conclude: the anarchists did not print money, because the banknotes themselves were not found. K. Gerasimenko’s statement that “Makhno, through Volin, put everything into practice […] up to and including the printing of the tickets” means overprints affixed to old tickets. Consequently, overprints of a mercantile character have taken place, these are originals, and not bonist counterfeits. Of course, there is no denying that there are counterfeits among them.

As for the curious overprints, it is difficult to determine who made them. It is possible that they were made during the Civil War. At the end of 1919, certain units of the Red Army, emerging from the encirclement of the White Guard, joined the anarchist army. It is quite possible that, having familiarized themselves with the “orders” in Makhnovia, some of the commanders of these units, in protest, stamped on banknotes unflattering quatrains for Makhno, signs borrowed from Ukrainian folklore.


About Author

Comments are closed.