Friday book # 48: Volunteer Army & Ukraine

This week’s book is something of a Ukrainian nationalist take on the White movement in the Russian Civil War. According to the cover blurb, ‘The Volunteer Army failed to defeat the Bolsheviks because it was unable and unwilling to come to terms with the Ukrainian question. At critical junctures during the Russian Civil War, its struggle against an independent Ukraine overshadowed its struggle against the Bolsheviks’. Author Anna Procyk casts the blame for the Whites’ failure on the liberal politicians who advised the White generals. She ‘challenges the view that the Volunteer Army’s generals were reactionary monarchists’ and argues that it was the liberals in General Denikin’s entourage who ‘reinforced [his] refusal to deal with the independent Ukrainian governments of 1918-19’. This led to the Whites’ defeat as it forced them to fight a two-front war (against Ukraine as well as against the Bolsheviks).


10 thoughts on “Friday book # 48: Volunteer Army & Ukraine”

  1. Eh, what? “For Russia, United and Undivided” was a liberal, not imperial/monarchist slogan? Okay, live and learn, I guess…


    1. Remember that Miliukov is said to have been keen on annexing Constantinople. So, Kadets like him were hardly likely to have been in favour of Ukrainian independence or even autonomy.


      1. Milukov who ran away after the October Revolution to Hetmanate/German occupied Kiev, where he SUDDENLY became a bosom friend to both the Ukrinian nationalists and the Germans (should I remind his position vis-a-vis Germany during his capacity as the minister of the Foreign Affairs in the first post-February cabinet). Milukov, who argued most voicefully that Germans and Ukrainians must march onward to Moscow.


        I guess this only shows – once more – the inherently rotten (and mystically transcending time and space) natura of the so-called Russian liberals

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “At least being pro-German is something you could never accuse the Volunteers of.”

        Denikin’s Whites? No. Kaledin, Drozdovskiy and Krasnov OTOH

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “Kaledin and Krasnov weren’t part of the Volunteer Army.”

        They were.

        Granted, the formal “unification” with Krasnov’s cossacks happened after Germany’s defeat in November 1918 and, oficially, the Volunteer army and the Don Host refused to cooperate on the grounds that their “sponsors” and handlers were at odds – but they were not fighting each other (in January 1918 in fact Kaledenites and early Volnteer Army were fighting together). And all those former “germanophiles” had little difficulties integrating into the White Host structure afterwards. Were rather successful I’d say.


      4. Or think about this analogy. Both USA and Quatar are sponsiring different “rebels” in Syria. But Quatar is not squimish to fund, say, Front al-Nusra (aka Al Qaeda) durectly. For the CIA and the Pentagon this is not kosher, so they have to find some “moderate” headchoppers to hand down arms and ammo and make them promise to chop heads moderaterly and do not cooperate with unhandshakable elements within the “Rebellion”.

        Bum-blam – and the “moderates” become radicalized very soon, taking all USA donated gear and hardvare with them to their new commanders be they AQ or ISIL. Sure, swell – the US talking heads and officialls will furiously deny and dismiss as conspiracy theories any insinuations that they were funding the terrorists. But the ugly facts remain.

        Now, Germany gave over a crapton of fighting gear to the Don Cossack Host…


  2. Wasnt it actually a 3 front war due to Makhno?

    Unless the author believes that Makhno was an Ukrainian nationalist, or a Bolshevist, 2 notions that would be pretty moronic.


  3. Granted – there were some liberals within the White Army of Russian South. Denikin though had no pleasure, like Kolchak, to kick the whole bumbling ineffectual lot of them from power (aka – “sent into Republic of Irtysh” (c)). There were some so-called liberal hanger-ons within the White Host, true – e.g. A, Tyrkova. But they, according to their memoirs, spent most of the time engaged in soul searching and crying about Russia That We Have Lost ™. And were having lots and lots of get togethers and party conferences.I.e. basically were doing nothing productive.

    As for the “Octobrists” – Guchkov funded from his non incosiderable purse early Volunteer Army and agitated for it. At the same time Rodzyanko, who accompanied the White Army during the first Ice March (rus. “Ледовый поход”) had been given a cold shoulder, with the most of the White officers looking at him like he was a shit primarily guilty of kickstarting the February Revolution and should be blamed for the present mess.

    White commanders needed little nudging from someone else in their rigid “For United and Undivided Rus” crusade. They had to put up, to a degree, with the existence of new states because their Entente sponsors told them so – but amorphous and chaotic Ukraine under Petlyura had no sanction from the West and was a fair game (besides – if not them, then Bolsheviks or Poland will solve the Ukrainian question).

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s