The story of the “Tsarist pogroms” is a familiar one. Stated in pious terms, the overpaid American history professor will intone that the “Russian Tsar” ordered his “Black Hundreds” to slaughter Jews for “no reason” in the cities of western Russia.
Like all stories of this kind, it is not only false, but utterly nonsensical. The cities where these pogroms were supposed to have occurred were the most strategic in the empire: Kiev, Odessa, Starodub, Minsk and many others. These were at the heart of the old Russian empire economically speaking.
The truth of the matter is quite the opposite of the official history. The violence in western Russia at this time had several qualities in common: few Jews were killed; Jews were almost always the aggressors; and Jews were far better armed than the local police in these areas.
One of the more important reasons for the creation of this myth is to cover over the crimes of the liberal and leftist movements in Russia. Between 1905 and 1906, the Socialist Revolutionaries murdered 15 governors and mayors, 267 security officials and 12 bishops. That is only one single leftist party in just one year. All told, those killed and injured by leftist terror between 1905 and 1907 is more than 20,000 and the majority of the terrorists were Jews. The pogroms were a cover story for this violence.