During 5639 and 5640 (1879-1880) there was a considerable rise in anti-Semitism throughout Russia. In many cities and towns the enemies of the Jewish people incited the local populations to carry out pogroms against the Jewish communities. Rabbi Shmuel again traveled to St Petersburg to try to stop this new wave of persecution.

He had many personal friends and acquaintances among government officials, princes and nobles. They assured him that the anti-Semitic campaign would be stopped, but pogroms broke out again in 5640 (1880) in Kiev and Nieshin.

Rabbi Shmuel had just returned from a visit abroad in connection with the problems of the Jewish communities, when the sad news reached him. He at once set out for the Russian capital, and with the aid of Professor Bertenson, court physician to the Czar, he was able to obtain an immediate audience with the Minister of the Interior.

Filled with sorrow because of the desperate situation, the Lubavitcher Rebbe went so far as to reproach the Minister for not having kept his word to suppress the anti-Semitic outbreaks. He made it clear that continued failure to do so would create a very bad image of the Russian government among the highest circles in foreign countries.

In the course of his meeting with the Minister, Rabbi Shmuel mentioned that he had received letters from many personalities and bankers in other countries who had international influence. They all wanted to know what attitude they were to take, in view of the sad news concerning the plight of the Jews in Russia, and what they could do to protect the lives and property of the Jewish population in Russia.

The Minister asked: “What was your reply?”

“I have delayed my reply till I receive positive assurances in this matter from the Russian government," answered Rabbi Shmuel.

“Rabbi of Lubavitch,” said the Minister, “do you dare to intimidate the Russian government with threats of the power of foreign capitalists? Are you threatening a revolution in this country?”

“Your Excellency does not have to interpret my words as an attempt at intimidation,” replied the Lubavitcher Rebbe. “Regard them, rather, as a serious fact to be reckoned with, for this concern is shared by capitalists and great men even of the non-Jewish world, who are shocked by such barbaric and inhuman outbreaks as have occurred here. As to the second question, it appears to me that it is the negligent and weak conduct of the Imperial Government in the past that could now bring about a revolution in this country.”

That very evening, on returning to his hotel, Rabbi Shmuel was informed by the government that he was under arrest. Two policemen stood guard at the entrance to his room for two days. On the third day, however, he was called before the Minister of the Interior and given a positive reply to his request.

This is but one example of the numerous occasions when Rabbi Shmuel turned to the Ministers and princes of Russia on behalf of the Jewish people, displaying complete disregard for any threats of punishment to himself.