Professor Avrich records the history of the anarchist movement from its Russian origins in the 19th century, with a full discussion of Bakunin and Kropotkin, to its upsurge in the 1905 and 1917 Social Democratic Revolutions, and its decline and fall after the Bolshevik Revolution. While analyzing the role of the anarchists in these fateful years, he traces the close relationships between the anarchists and the Bolsheviks and shows that the Revolutions were conceived in spontaneity and idealism and ended in cynical repression. The Russian anarchists saw clearly the consequences of a Marxist "dictatorship of the proletariat" and, though they had no single cohesive organization, repeatedly warned that the Bolsheviks aimed to replace the tyranny of the tsars with a tyranny of commissars.
Originally published in 1967.
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