Makhnovia (Russian: Махновщина Makhnovshchyna), also known as the Free Territory (Ukrainian: Вільна територія vilna terytoriya; Russian: Вольная территория volnaya territoriya), resulted from an attempt to form a stateless anarchist society during the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917 to 1921. It existed from 1918 to 1921, during which time free soviets and libertarian communes operated under the protection of Nestor Makhno's Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army. The area had a population of around seven million.
Makhnovia was established with the capture of Huliaipole by Makhno's forces on 27 November 1918. An Insurrectionary Staff was set up in the city, which became the territory's de facto capital. Russian forces of the White movement under Anton Denikin occupied part of the region and formed a temporary government of Southern Russia in March 1920, resulting in the de facto capital being briefly moved to Katerynoslav (modern-day Dnipro). In late March 1920, Denikin's forces retreated from the area, being driven out by the Red Army in cooperation with Makhno's forces, whose units conducted guerrilla warfare behind Denikin's lines. Makhnovia was disestablished on 28 August 1921 when a badly-wounded Makhno and 77 of his men escaped through Romania after several high-ranking officials were executed by Bolshevik forces. Remnants of the Black Army would continue to fight until late 1922.
As Makhnovia self-organized along anarchist principles, references to "control" and "government" are highly contentious. For example, the Makhnovists, often cited as a form of government (with Nestor Makhno as their "leader"), played a purely military role, with Makhno himself functioning as little more than a military strategist and advisor.