In any war, including in a cold war, it is usual to dehumanise and even demonise the enemy by telling lies, known as ‘propaganda’, about him. In this country we saw it in the First World War, when invading Germans were falsely accused of butchering Belgian babies. There are elderly people who still believe this. In recent years, in the NATO bombing of Serbia, the double Western invasion and ruining of Iraq and takeover of its oil and gas, the bombing and ruining of Libya and takeover of its oil and gas, and in the support offered by Western governments and media for fanatical Sunni Islamic terrorists against the Syrian government (‘regime’), the leaders and armed forces of those countries have been accused of all sorts of atrocities.
These propaganda accusations include ‘ethnic cleansing’ (as opposed to protecting the Serbian people and their ancestral territory), possessing ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (as opposed to Western governments supplying and using them), ‘torture’ (as opposed to Western secret services carrying out torture on their territories), suppression of ‘freedom and democracy’ (when it is in fact Western countries that are tyrannical and anti-democratic), and using ‘chemical weapons’ (as invented by Western countries and used by Churchill against the Kurds in 1930s Iraq, by the US in 1970s Vietnam, and by NATO and the US in the form of uranium-enriched munitions causing ‘Gulf War Syndrome’ in Iraq and the same radioactive poisoning in Serbia).
Thus, in reality, it is more commonly Western countries that carry out or allow the atrocities. This most common, hypocritical and outrageous propaganda technique, used expertly by Nazi Germany, is always to accuse your enemies of doing the terrible things that you do yourself. In this context anti-Russian propaganda has taken various forms according to the period. For instance, hatred and jealousy of Russia in the nineteenth century tried to discredit it in as many ways as possible, even by going back into history to try and ‘barbarise’ ancient Kiev, a civilisation far in advance of Western societies of the time and which it protected from the Tartars. It also deemed as ‘barbaric’ Russian Tsars, who were in fact ten times less ‘barbaric’ than Western rulers of the same period. We have the example of Ivan the Threatening – called by Western propaganda ‘the Terrible’ – as compared to the truly terrible Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
In that nineteenth century, first Napoleon invaded Russia without provocation, and then France and Great Britain together invaded during the Crimean War, which they still justify. Some fifty years later Great Britain invaded Tibet and massacred Tibetans for the sake of control and warding off an imaginary Russian threat. At the same time, through a compliant jingoistic press, partly owned by arms manufacturers, it accused Russia of anti-Jewish pogroms and anti-revolutionary activities (see the propaganda even in Nesbitt’s children’s story ‘The Railway Children’) and in the Russo-Japanese War it financed and sided with Japan, provoking the Hull incident. Incidentally, this War broke out when the Japanese behaved just as treacherously as in World War II. (Port Arthur and Pearl Harbour almost rhyme).
In its hatred of Tsar Nicholas II, this anti-Russian propaganda even used to accuse him of being both weak and tyrannical at the same time! In 1916 British spies murdered Gregory Rasputin and then Buchanan, the British ambassador in Saint Petersburg, organised the Russian Revolution and the captivity of the Tsar. Lies about all this, still widely repeated and even believed!, were merely the result of ‘The Great Game’, a rivalry with Russia, imagined and fomented by British imperialism. This used systematic and highly-organised anti-Russian propaganda, because British imperialism (‘civilisation’) wanted total, or rather totalitarian, control of the globe, just as American imperialism (‘globalism’) does today.
Post-World War I anti-Russian propaganda asserted – and still asserts – that the reign of the Tsars (‘Tsarism’) was far worse than Communism, despite the Gulag and the obvious evidence that the reign of Tsars was a thousand times better. It even asserted that Russian losses in the First World War had been very high, ignoring outrageous Western losses (‘the generals were donkeys, the men were lions’), the fact that Russia had been relatively demilitarised and that the Russian Army had had to face alone far higher numbers of the enemy than the Allies on the Western Front.
In the 1930s American propaganda invented ‘Russian roulette’, which was and still is quite unknown in Russia. As for post-World War II anti-Russian propaganda, it wants us to forget that it was Western ‘civilisation’ that invented the genocide of the Jews and concentration camps. The latter were arguably invented by the US in the form of ‘Indian’ ‘reservations’, then used by the Spanish in Cuba, but much developed soon after by the British in their genocidal anti-Boer War and again used in the 1950s in British genocide in Kenya.
This propaganda that Russia persecuted the Jews also conveniently ignores the fact that the greatest recent Western genocide was not against the Jews, but against the Slavs, some 30 million of whom were slaughtered by Nazi Germany, over 25 million of them, mainly civilians, being from the Soviet Union. It also ignores the horror of hardened Red Army soldiers when they discovered anti-Jewish German atrocities in the Ukraine, for example at Baby Yar, and when they liberated most of the German slave camps, like that at Auschwitz.
Typically, such anti-Russian propaganda also invented the myth that virtually every Red Army soldier in 1944-45 was a rapist. This ignored the real figures and also the huge number of rapes previously carried out on the Eastern Front by German soldiers, the 10,000 rapes carried out in Britain (!) by US soldiers between 1942 and 1944 and the many rapes carried out by Allied soldiers when they invaded France and Germany (Dieppe and Stuttgart come to mind). It is typical therefore that such propaganda forgets that the greatest anti-Jewish pogroms of the early 20th century took place not on the territory of the Russian Empire, but in Berlin and Vienna.
What can we say about the pogroms that took place on the territory of Imperial Russia at that time? Firstly, why were there so many Jews living on the territory of the Russian Empire? Simply because the Jews had been viciously persecuted in Western Europe from the late eleventh century on, at that time by the ‘Crusaders’ who massacred all who were different from them. Finally, the Jews were thrown out of Western Europe during the Middle Ages and emigrated to the far more tolerant Eastern Europe. Thus, their large presence in Poland and Romanian-speaking Bessarabia, as well as in Russia and the Ukraine, was due to Western ‘pogroms’ – which became even more systematically and brutally apparent under the Nazis – another product of ‘Western civilisation’.
Incidentally, Jewish minorities, who survived in or returned to Western Europe, were still much disliked there, as can be seen from the 19th and early 20th century history of all Western European countries (Roman Catholic anti-semitism, the Dreyfus case in France, pre-World War II British anti-semitism and anti-semitic ‘jokes’ as in Noel Coward songs, pre-Nazi German and Austrian anti-semitism etc).
The Russian Empire inherited Jewish refugees when Poland was partitioned in the 18th century under the German Empress Catherine II (called ‘the Great’ despite her destruction of two thirds of Russian monasteries and immoral life). Under her Russia freed Polish-occupied western Belarus, western Ukraine, Lithuania and also occupied eastern Poland as a buffer against Prussian and Austro-Hungarian aggression, at the same time liberating Orthodox Bessarabia from the Ottomans. In all these places, the Jews lived in relative peace until the late 19th century.
Unfortunately, the money-lending activities of some of the wealthiest Jews and the subsequent chronic indebtedness of Slav and Romanian peasants often got them into trouble. (Their tendency to drink, encouraged by Jewish innkeepers, was similar to the enslaving alcoholism encouraged by Western traders, ‘Indian agents’, among Native Americans). Seeing their exploitation and oppression by certain Jews, by the early 20th century there was great local anger against Jews who were seen as ruthless exploiters. Mutual antagonism led to clashes between Jews, workers and peasants in these areas, so-called ‘pogroms’. 57% of the victims were Non-Jews. It is often forgotten that many of the pogroms were actually started by Jews, armed with revolvers. Between 1903 and 1907, ther were over 1600 deaths, mainly of Non-Jews, in these Non-Russian parts of the Empire.
The Imperial authorities did their best to stop these pogroms, but felt that unscrupulous Jewish money-lenders were the real cause of the problem, drawing hostility towards all Jews. The Russian Orthodox Church, for example with Bp (later Metr) Antony (Khrapovitsky) in largely Jewish Zhitomir, also did her best to stop the pogroms, but had little influence among the Non-Orthodox population.
Meanwhile, the relatively few Jews in Russia proper lived in relative peace and many prospered, although their career options were limited. The fact that it was basically Non-Russian and Non-Orthodox peasants who carried out the pogroms is naturally overlooked by ‘Great Game’ propaganda. Particularly unpleasant were the activities of Uniat populations, notorious for their nationalism – which is the main reason for the existence of Western-backed Uniatism. It is notable that later Nazi anti-semitism found fertile recruiting grounds for the SS precisely among western Ukrainian (by nationality Polish) Uniats and Baltic Catholics and Lutherans, whether in Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia.
Pogroms did take place in the Russian Empire, though on a much lesser level than in Berlin and Roman Catholic Vienna. Jews fleeing from pogroms all over Central and Eastern Europe took refuge above all in Great Britain and the USA. Today we are in a US-fomented post-Cold War Cold War, with, for example, the absurd, Western-orchestrated ‘Pussy Riot’ incident and the criticism of Russian laws against homosexual propaganda. However, as we have said above, all this propaganda, of every cold war period, does not want to admit that anti-Jewish persecutions were above all a Western problem. These persecutions spilled over into the Russian Empire and were disguised by propagandists (= liars) under a Russian name – ‘pogroms’.