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members of certain reactionary public organizations in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Black Hundreds, who believed that the autocracy should remain intact and continue to pursue a policy of great-power chauvinism, assisted the tsarist regime in its efforts to repress the revolutionary movement. Precursors of the Black Hundreds were the Sviashchennaia Druzhina (Holy Host) and the Russian Assembly in St. Petersburg; beginning in 1900 these organizations united reactionary members of the intelligentsia, the bureaucracy, the clergy, and the landowning class.
During the Revolution of 1905–07 numerous right-wing organizations were formed in response to the intensifying class struggle; these included the League of the Russian People, located in St. Petersburg; the Union of Russian Men, the Russian Monarchist Party, and the Society for Active Resistance to the Revolution, all located in Moscow; and the White Two-headed Eagle, located in Odessa. The organizations drew support from diverse social elements: landowners, clergy, members of the big and petite urban bourgeoisie, merchants, meshchane (members of the lower urban strata), artisans, politically unaware workers, and déclassé elements. The activities of the Black Hundreds organizations were directed by the Council of the United Nobility and were given financial and moral support by the autocracy and the camarilla of the tsarist court.
Although their programs differed somewhat, all the Black Hundreds groups were united in their opposition to the revolutionary movement. Members of the groups spoke on behalf of their cause at churches, assemblies, political meetings, and lectures; they held religious services and demonstrations, and sent delegations to the tsar. This agitation, by arousing anti-Semitism and monarchist fervor, led to a wave of pogroms and acts of terrorism against revolutionaries and progressive public figures.
Newspapers published by the Black Hundreds groups included Russkoe znamia, Pochaevskii listok, Zemshchina, Kolokol, Groza, and Veche. Such right-wing newspapers as Moskovskie vedomosti, Grazhdanin, and Kievlianin also printed articles by the Black Hundreds. Leading figures of the Black Hundreds included A. I. Dubrovin, V. M. Purishkevich, N. E. Markov, the lawyer P. F. BulatseP, the priest I. I. Vostorgov, the engineer A. I. Trishchatyi, the monk Iliodor, and Prince M. K. Shakhovskoi.
In an effort to form a united front, the Black Hundreds held four national congresses, and in October 1906 a central board was elected for the United Russian People, an organization representing all the Black Hundreds organizations. After the Revolution of 1905–07 the national organization collapsed, the Black Hundreds movement lost momentum, and the number of organizations sharply declined. During the February Revolution of 1917 the remaining groups were officially banned. After the October Revolution the leaders and many rank-and-file members of the groups opposed Soviet power. The term chernosotenets (member of the Black Hundreds) came to be applied to, for example, extreme reactionaries and militant opponents of socialism.
REFERENCESLenin, V. I. “Opyt klassifikatsii politicheskikh partii.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 14.
Lenin, V. I. “Politicheskie partii v Rossii.” Ibid.,vol. 21.
Lenin, V. I. “O chernosotenstve.” ibid.,vol. 24.
Levitskii, V. “Pravye partii.” In Obshchestvennoe dvizhenie v Rossii v nachale XX v., vol. 3, book 5. St. Petersburg, 1914.
Soiuz russkogo naroda: Po materialam Chrezvychainoi sledstvennoi komissii Vremennogo pravitel’stva 1917 g. Compiled by A. Chernovskii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1929.
N. P. EROSHKIN