Maria Nikiforova

Ukrainian anarchist (1885–1919) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Maria Hryhorivna Nikiforova (Ukrainian: Марія Григорівна Нікіфорова; 1885–1919) was a Ukrainian anarchist partisan leader that led the Black Guards during the Ukrainian War of Independence, becoming widely renowned as an atamansha.

Quick facts: AtamanshaMaria Nikiforova, Deputy leader of t...
Maria Nikiforova
Марія Нікіфорова
Maria Nikiforova.
Its origin unclear, this photo is believed to have been taken in Yelysavethrad (c.1918).[1]
Deputy leader of the Oleksandrivsk Revolutionary committee
In office
4 January 1918 (1918-01-04)  18 April 1918 (1918-04-18)
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition disestablished
Personal details
Born1885 (1885)
Oleksandrivsk, Katerynoslav, Russian Empire
Died16 September 1919(1919-09-16) (aged 33–34)
Sevastopol, Taurida, South Russia
Cause of deathExecution by firing squad
SpouseWitold Brzostek
NicknameMarusya (Ukrainian: Маруся)
Military service
AllegianceFlag_of_France_%281794%E2%80%931815%2C_1830%E2%80%931974%2C_2020%E2%80%93present%29.svg France (1914-1917)
Flag_of_Ukrainian_People%27s_Republic_of_the_Soviets.svg Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets (1917-1918)
%D0%9C%D0%B0%D1%85%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%B5_%D0%B7%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%BC%D1%8F.svg Makhnovshchina (1919)
Years of service1914-1919
Battles/warsWorld War I

Ukrainian War of Independence


A self-described terrorist from the age of 16, she was imprisoned for her activities in Russia but managed to escape to western Europe. With the outbreak of World War I, she took up the defencist line and joined the French Foreign Legion on the Macedonian front before returning to Ukraine with the outbreak of the 1917 Revolution.

In her home city of Oleksandrivsk (today Zaporizhzhia), she established an anarchist combat detachment and subsequently attacked the forces of the Russian Provisional Government and the Ukrainian People's Republic. After the October Revolution escalated into a civil war, she joined the side of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic, leading her druzhina in capturing Taurida and Yelysavethrad (today Kropyvnytskyi) from the Ukrainian People's Army.

When Ukraine was invaded by the Central Powers, she was forced to flee to Russia, where she was prosecuted for insubordination by the nascent Bolshevik government. When she returned to Ukraine, she briefly participated in the civilian activities of the Makhnovshchina but before long she had returned to terrorism. She aimed to assassinate the leaders of the White movement (Anton Denikin and Alexander Kolchak) but was caught and executed.