The Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine also known as the Black Army, was an anarchist army under the command of the famous anarchist Nestor Makhno during the Russian Civil War.

Ukrainian guerilla bands were active during the Civil War period. Some claimed to be loyal to the Ukrainian state, but others acknowledged no allegiance, and all fought both Reds and White Russians with equal ferocity. After 1920 they constituted the only Ukrainian forces left in Soviet Ukraine. At that date they were said to number some 40,000; some of them fought until 1924.

The most famous of these groups was that of the peasant anarchist leader Nestor Makhno, who began operations in the south-eastern Ukraine against the Hetmanate regime in July 1918. In September he formed the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine with arms and equipment obtained from the retreating Austro-German forces. He fought Denikin's Whites until they retreated in late 1919, then continued to fight the Reds until his forces were defeated and dispersed in August 1921. Makhno himself managed to slip across the Romanian border.


In mid 1919 the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine had a strength of some 15,000 men organised into 1 cavalry and 4 infantry Brigades, a machine gun regiment with 5000 guns, and an artillery detachment. At its peak in December 1919 it had about 83,000 infantry, 20,135 cavalry, 1,435 machine guns, and 118 guns, as well as 7 armored trains and some armored cars.[1] It was organized into 4 Corps and the strategic reserve. Each Corps had 1 infantry and 1 cavalry Brigade; each Brigade had 3-4 Regiments of the appropriate type.[2]


  • Batko Makhno (Huljai-Pole; anarchist-communist)
  • Simon Karetnik (Huljai-Pole; anarchist-communist)
  • Marchenko (Huljai-Pole; anarchist-communist (1907))
  • Grigory Vasilevsky (Huljai-Pole)
  • Boris Veretelnikov (Huljai-Pole; SR; anarchist-communist (1918))
  • Peter Gavrilenko (Huljai-Pole; anarchist-communist (1905))
  • Vasily Kurilenko (Novospassovka)
  • Viktor Belash (Novospassovka; anarchist)
  • Kalašnikov (Huljai-Pole; anarchist)
  • Mikhalev-Pavlenko (deminer)
  • Fedir Shchus (Bolšaja Mihailovka)
  • Ivan Lepetchenko (Huljai-Pole; anarchist)
  • Aleksandr Lepetchenko (Huljai-Pole; anarchist)
  • Dmitry Ivanovich Popov (Moscow; left SR)