The story of Nestor Makhno and his rebel movement is one of the most interesting pages in the Civil War history. In his youth, Makhno is involved in terrorist attacks and goes to jail for that. After the February coup, he is amnestied and becomes one of the most outstanding activists of the revolutionary movement. Makhno conducts his activity in Ekaterinoslav province (the south-east region of the future Ukraine). After returning to his native Gulyay-Pole in March, he soon dissolves the local zemstvo (district council), holds new elections and becomes the commissar of the district.

Makhno’s goal is to establish a free peasant commune. Anyone who stands in his way becomes his opponent automatically, be it landlords, church or the Provisional Government. Calling to ignore the orders of the Kerensky government, on September 25, 1917 Makhno nationalizes the land of the county and divides it among the peasants. After the intervention of the Austro-German troops and the formation of the Ukrainian state under their control in 1918, Makhno forms paramilitary detachments to fight them, adhering to the anarchistic ideology. Makhno often attacks hetman troops unexpectedly. The Old Man’s” soldiers are often dressed in the opponent’s uniform.

After the November Revolution takes place in Germany and the German army leaves the Ukraine, Makhno starts a fight against the Directorate of Simon Petliura, who assumed power. For the sake of his goals, Makhno concluded agreements with the Red Army more than once — often because he was totally against the White movement. However, Makhno never agreed with the policy of the Bolsheviks or with their dictatorship. He demanded the socialization of land and industry, freedom of speech and assembly, as well as renunciation of the monopoly of the Communist Party.

After another break-up with the Reds on September 1, 1919, Makhno proclaims the establishment of a peasant republic and the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of the Ukraine. Makhno rejects any proposals for cooperation with the Whites consistently. The Makhnovists conduct the partisan activities in the rear of the White Army marching on Moscow, and in 1920 they execute the negotiator General Wrangel publicly.

Makhno’s republic comes to an end after the capture of Crimea, when the Red Army orders that Makno’s units relocate to the Caucasus. Refusing to obey, Makhno determines his doom — his troops are driven out to the border of Romania and expelled from the country by the Red Army.

Visualization in the Road to Calvary

Katya is traveling from Rostov to Ekaterinoslav by train, but it is stopped by a detachment of Makhnovists. Katya is brought to the house of Nestor Makhno, who wants the girl to manicure his nails”. She is saved from humiliation by Alexeyi Krasilnikov, who takes her away from the Makhnovists to his native village near Kiev. In a while, Roshchin gets captured by Makhno in search of Katya. Makhno turns him into a bargaining chip in negotiations with the Bolsheviks: the White Roshchin must make the Red think that the Old Man has received an advantageous offer from the Volunteer Army.

Makhno knew very well that unless he now took a firm decision which would be satisfactory to the army, his cause and his glory would be lost. There were only two ways open to him: to make up to the Bolsheviks, and do what the Commander in Chief ordered, and then wait for the inevitable moment when he would be shot for arbitrary conduct, orů to get up a peasant rising in the Ukraine against all authority whatsoever. But would the latter move be a timely one? Might it not be a mistake?”

The Road to Calvary by A. N. Tolstoy