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Published on Apr 1, 2008
Song: Hey, There's the Village (ukrainian folk-song) The Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Революційна Повстанська Армія України, Revolyutsiyna Povstanska Armiya Ukrayiny), also known as the Black Army, was an anarchist army formed largely of Ukrainian and Crimean peasants and workers under the command of the famous anarchist leader Nestor Makhno during the Russian Civil War. The Black Army numbered between 15,000 and 110,000 men and was organized on conventional lines, with infantry, cavalry, and artillery units; artillery batteries were attached to each infantry brigade. Makhnov's cavalry incorporated both regular and irregular horse-mounted (guerrilla) forces, and was considered to be among the best trained and most capable of any of the cavalry units deployed by any side in the Russian Civil War. The Black Army was frequently referred to at the time by the Bolshevik Communist government and Red Army commanders as Makhnovist forces, since they pointedly declined to accord the Ukrainian anarchists the status of having either an army or a legitimate political movement. One source described the Insurrectionary Black Army of the time (less its cavalry, which normally ranged far afield) as follows:
"The infantry, when it was not fighting, led the march of the army...[The Black Army also used horse-drawn carts or] tachankas. Each of these vehicles, which were drawn by two horses, carried the driver on the front seat and two soldiers behind them. In some sections a machine-gun was installed on the seat between them. The artillery brought up the rear. A huge black flag floated over the first carriage. The slogans Liberty or Death and The Land to the Peasants, the Factories to the Workers were embroidered in silver on its two sides."