11 JANUARY 2003, Page 24

Pogroms? What pogroms?

From Count Nikolai Tolstoy Sir: Among the historical 'facts' upon which Mr Farrel Lifson (Letters, 28 December 2002) relies in his summary account of the foundation of Israel is the statement that 'the tsars unleashed their pogroms in the early 20th century'. The only 20th-century tsar apart from Nicholas II was his brother Michael, whose 'reign' lasted for one day — which surely afforded scant time for indulging in the iniquitous policy ascribed him by Mr Lifson. More seriously, is Mr Lifson in possession of evidence unknown to Russian scholars which proves that the imperial government instigated or countenanced pogroms in early 20th-century Russia? If not, can he provide any credible alternative explanation to his having invented the charge?

Nilcolai Tolstoy

Southmoor, Berkshire

Jack Jones's 'achievement'