From Living My Life
by Emma Goldman
Volume Two, pp. 786-787.
New York: Alfred A Knopf Inc., 1931.
Nevertheless we had reason not to regret our efforts, particularly in the case of one of our finest comrades, Vsevolod Volin. He had been educationally active in the ranks of the Ukrainian peasant rebels headed by the anarchist Nestor Makhno, whom the Bolsheviki had formerly acclaimed as an effective leader of the masses, a man of great strategic acumen and exceptional courage. Not without reason, since it had been Makhno and his povstantsy army who had routed various counter-revolutionary adventurers and who had materially helped the Red forces to drive back the hordes of General Denikin. For refusing to submit his army to the absolute command of Trotsky, Makhno had been declared an enemy and bandit and his entire forces denounced as counter-revolutionary. Volin was an educator and in no way a participant in the military operations of Makhno. But the Ukrainian Cheka made no such fine distinction. At the first opportunity they had arrested Volin and held him incommunicado in the Kharkov prison, dangerously ill with fever though he was. Our comrades in Moscow realized the perilous position of Volin, for Trotsky had in the meantime sent telegraphic orders to have him executed. They tried to get the prisoner transferred to Moscow, where he was well known to the leading Communists as a man of revolutionary integrity and high intellectual attainments. They had circulated an appeal for his transfer, which was signed by every anarchist then present in the capital, and they had chosen Sasha and the local comrade Askaroff to present the petition to Krestinsky, Secretary of the Communist Party.
Krestinsky proved very fanatical and bitter against the anarchists, claiming at first that Volin was a counter-revolutionist deserving death and again pretending that he had already been brought to Moscow. Sasha succeeded in convincing him that he was wrong on both points and that Volin be at least given a chance to state his case, which opportunity he would not have in Kharkov. Krestinsky finally yielded to Sasha's arguments. He promised to telegraph to the proper authorities in Kharkov to have Volin removed to the capital. Apparently he kept his word, because before long our comrade was brought to Moscow and placed in the Butirky prison. Shortly after that Vsevolod Volin was entirely released.