In the early 20th century, Ukraine was repeatedly a site of antisemitic violence and genocide. Even today, racism hasn’t disappeared — but Jewish people’s place in today’s Ukraine shows that antisemitism is no eternal national trait.
Brendan McGeever is a senior lecturer in sociology in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. He is also based at the Birkbeck Institute for the Study of Antisemitism. He is the author of The Bolsheviks and Antisemitism in the Russian Revolution.
The Civil War of 1917–21 brought the third wave of pogroms in the former Russian Empire, mostly perpetrated by the counterrevolutionary forces. But even some Red Army units committed antisemitic atrocities — and independent Jewish socialists played a decisive role in forcing the Soviet state to stop them.
Antisemitism was found across the political divide in Russia’s year of revolution.