Black Hundreds

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Black Hundreds


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.


Lenin, 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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Black Hundreds

early 20th-century armed squads ravaged Jews. [Russ. Hist.: Wigoder, 92]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
* The Black Hundreds were reactionary mobs organized by the perishing Autocracy in the Russian Revolution.
We were to see much of the Black Hundreds as the days went by.
Pitched battles had been fought with the small armies of armed strike-breakers* put in the field by the employers' associations; the Black Hundreds, appearing in scores of wide-scattered places, had destroyed property; and, in consequence, a hundred thousand regular soldiers of the United States has been called out to put a frightful end to the whole affair.
And through it all the Black Hundreds played their part.
The Black Hundreds were a development out of the secret agents of the capitalists, and their use arose in the labor struggles of the nineteenth century.
In Tsarist Russia, the reaction was led by the proto-fascist Black Hundreds and funded by the Okbrana, the Tsarist secret police.
On another tack, at no point did I suggest the viability of a political alliance stretching from Black Hundreds to Bolsheviks!
They continued after the Kishinev pogrom of 1903, replicated there in 1905 by forces of the Black Hundreds (in Russian, Chornaya Sotnya), the militant right-wing gangs that arose to suppress liberal tendencies after the revolution of 1905.
From here the pieces survey the Constitutional Democrats (Kadets), the Union of 17 October (Octobrists), and the radical right, namely the Union of the Russian People (Black Hundreds).
under the influence of Black Hundreds who call for Jewish blood and threaten Jewish neighborhoods." Soviet officials shuffled Hodis' supplication from office to office, claiming (typically) that no single commissariat had authority to approve the request.
She shows the Pogromists (the "Black Hundreds"), the pompous bishops and sinister priests, the capitalists preparing for war and, most feelingly, the farm and factory workers and the soldiers at the front.