Race relations: Lenin, himself an ethnic Russian, made major efforts to reverse the Russian chauvinism typical of the capitalist era. Largely at his insistence, and over opposition led by Tomsky, Russia initiated broad programs of affirmative action, minority-language recognition even for the smallest minorities, and self-determination. Revolutionary Russia took an active interest in and contributed assistance to the emancipation of American Blacks, the Chinese, and other oppressed people. Among the top party leaders in Lenin's time were the Polish Radek, the Armenian Mikoyan, the Ukrainian Rakovsky, the Georgian Stalin, and the Jewish Zinoviev, Trotsky and (his brother-in-law) Kamenev. Stalin, as commissar for nationalities and acting on Lenin's support, differentiated between the economically "backward" nationalities of Asia, who were given large-scale assistance (as military and economic exigencies permitted) and Poles, White Russians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and Jews, who were concentrated in parts of the former empire that were more developed and better educated than the Russian heartland. These peoples were also allowed to benefit from affirmative action and minority-language programs that addressed Russian chauvinism, but their nationalist demands were treated with greater suspicion, particularly when they sought to compound their economic advantage or when Poles sought to dominate Ukrainians, Ukrainians sought to dominate Poles, or both sought to dominate Jews. Jews were about 6% of the population of the Soviet Union at the time of its creation, but about 30% of the membership of Lenin's party, and an even higher percentage of the Mensheviks. They were a majority in the Communist Party in Belarus (Byelorussia), as they were a majority in its major city, Minsk, and nearly a majority of the Ukrainian Party. The White (anti-communist) forces led by Kolchak and Denikin systematically murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews. Nationalist opposition to the Bolsheviks came from Czechs and Slovaks, who worked out a deal with the French to get an independent Czechoslovakia in former Austro-Hungarian land in exchange for fighting the Russians, and from Siberian nationalities (Tanguts, Mongols, Tatars, etc.), who were encouraged by Japan to found an independent buffer state under Kolchak. Both states were met by military force as reactionary enemies but the peoples also encouraged in their ambitions toward self-determination if they would adopt a friendlier attitude toward Russia and the working classes. The Don Cossack tribe, which historically achieved aristocratic knightly privilege as military shock troops for the czars, murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews and Communists in an effort to establish an independent republic. Led by Lenin and Dzerzhinsky, the Bolsheviks responded with a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign again st them that killed tens of thousands in less than 2 months. Ethnic clashes between Armenians and Azeris also broke out as Armenians resisted Azeri efforts to dominate them; Lenin's government intervened on the Armenian side. Georgia meanwhile elected a Menshevik - led government that fought against the Russians. On Stalin's initiative and over Lenin's objections, they were met with an ethnic cleansing campaign that killed thousands.