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Looking at a map, one can easily locate Borzna in western Ukraine. First, find the capital, Kiev. Go north a few miles up the Dnieper river to where the Desna river feeds into it. The Desna comes from the north where, at a city called Chernigov, it curves east. Along this course, where the river bulges southward, is Borzna; more specifically, on the Borzna River, a tributary of the Desna. It is located on the main road that goes from Kiev (Kyiv in Ukrainian) to Moscow. Borzna lies roughly 60 km ENE of Nizhyn, 122 km ESE of Chernihiv, and 66 km W of Konotop. In Tsarist times, it was located in the Nezhin uezd (district) of Chernigov guberniya (province). Today it is administratively within the Chernihiv oblast.
It was known during the 15th century as Selishche, a farming community. As Borzna, it was founded in 1633 and became a county town in the Chernigov Gobernia in 1782, adopting the emblem of the Russian period. The name comes from the river on which it is located.
Because of its distance from the railway (14 km), it has not grown (1897 pop 12,000 - 1988 pop 12,500 - 2001 pop 11,707). The city has a brick factory, a lumber-processing factory, and a food industry.
There was a pogrom there that began on August 6, 1880. Another in 1919 was described thusly in a Kiev newspaper:
During the pogrom in Borzna on the night of September 10, 22 Jews were killed, their houses destroyed, their belongings taken. The women were raped - young and old. Those Jews who managed to survive are hiding themselves in the woods and marshes. In the borough of Borzna a group of women and girls were flogged and after that, stark naked and raped in the street.
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