Denikin, Anton

Image - Anton Denikin with Volunteer Army officers (Kharkiv, 5 July 1919).

Denikin, Anton, b 16 December 1872 near Warsaw, d 8 July 1947 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo: Anton Denikin.) The Russian general who, after L. Kornilov's death (13 April 1918), commanded the ‘White’ anti-Bolshevik ‘armed forces of Southern Russia’ consisting of the Volunteer Army and Cossack regiments from the Don region and the Kuban. Many Russians and ‘Little Russians’ in Ukraine were recruited in the last half of 1918 by an officers' network that covered all Ukraine and had close ties with reactionary Russian organizations (the United Center, the Kyiv National Center, the Rus' Society, etc). When the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic took power, these officers, as well as many Hetman government officers and officials, fled to the Don region or to Odesa, where they joined Denikin's army. In May 1919 Denikin launched a major offensive from the Kuban northwest into Left-Bank Ukraine against the Bolshevik forces, which at the time were fighting the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic and partisan forces led by Nykyfor Hryhoriv, Nestor Makhno, and others. In July Denikin began his advance towards Moscow by way of Voronezh and Orel and also moved into Right-Bank Ukraine. The offensive was accompanied by intense agitation for ‘one, indivisible Russia’; the destruction of Ukrainian cultural organizations, schools, books, and the press; terrorization of the population; and the exclusion from administrative posts of anyone formerly active in Ukrainian institutions or with pro-Ukrainian sympathies. Land and local power was returned to the gentry. As Denikin advanced, White regiments led by N. Bredov entered Kyiv on 31 August 1919 and confronted troops of the Ukrainian National Republic that were already there. An armed conflict nearly ensued. On 24 September 1919 the Ukrainian National Republic declared war on Denikin's army, which lasted from September to December 1919.

Because the Ukrainian Galician Army was blockaded by the Allied Powers, was decimated by typhus, and lacked supplies, its commanders signed an alliance with Denikin on 6 November 1919 in Ziatkivtsi near Uman. This treaty caused a political crisis and mass dissatisfaction in the Galician army, but it soon lost its validity because of the rapid retreat of the disintegrating White army along the whole front in December (the Whites left Kyiv on 16 December). Denikin's defeat was the result of his policies, aimed at restoring tsarism, and his treatment of the population, particularly in the Kuban, which provoked the Kuban Cossack Host to abandon him. Denikin's rear forces had repeatedly been paralyzed by various forces in Ukraine from the beginning. In January and February 1920 the disorganized remnants of his army retreated from Ukraine to the Crimea. A leadership crisis led to Denikin's replacement on 4 April 1920 by Petr Wrangel. From that time Denikin lived in the West as an émigré.

Doroshenko, D. ‘Denikin i Ukraïna,’ Polityka (Lviv), 1925, no. 3
Denikin, A. Ocherki russkoi smuty, 5 vols (Berlin 1925–7)
The White Army (London 1930)
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Omelianovych-Pavlenko, M. Perehovory i viina z rosiis'koiu Dobrovol'choiu Armiieiu (Prague 1940)
Aleksashenko, A. Krakh denikinshchiny (Moscow 1966)
Brinkley, G. The Volunteer Army and Allied Intervention in Russia, 1917–1921 (Notre Dame 1966)
Kenez, P. Civil War in South Russia, 1919–1920: The Defeat of the Whites (Berkeley, CA, 1977)
Suprunenko, M. Borot'ba trudiashchykh Ukraïny proty Denikinshchyny (Kyiv 1979)
Procyk, A. Russian Nationalism and Ukraine: The Nationality Policy of the Volunteer Army During the Civil War (Edmonton–Toronto 1995)

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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