(literally, Cloth Merchants’ Hundred), a privileged corporation of Russian merchants in the period from the late 16th to early 18th centuries. Ranking third in importance and wealth behind only the gosti (seeGOSTI) and members of the Gostinaia Sotnia, the members of the Sukonnaia Sotnia traded in cloth with foreign countries.
The Sukonnaia Sotnia is noted for the first time at the zemskii sobor of 1598. A corporation of sukonniki (cloth merchants) existed before the formation of the Sukonnaia Sotnia in Moscow and other cities. The members of the Sukonnaia Sotnia—the sukonniki—played an important role in domestic trade. Their status was defined by a special charter, granted at the turn of the 17th century. They were exempted from taxation and duties imposed on the posadskaia obshchina (community of merchants and artisans), were excluded from the jurisdiction of local authorities, and were extended other privileges. However, they could neither purchase votchiny (patrimonial estates) nor travel freely abroad. They served as assistants (v tovarishchakh) to the gosti, managed smaller enterprises, and bore material responsibility for treasury arrears.
In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the membership of the Sukonnaia Sotnia was 250, and in 1649, 116. Along with the membership of the Gostinaia Sotnia, the Sukonnaia Sotnia was augmented through tsarist ukase by well-to-do merchants, artisans, and peasants. Between 1625 and 1647, 156 families were admitted into the Sukonnaia Sotnia. Despite the requirements imposed by the government, not all sukonniki acquired houses in Moscow; some preferred to live in other cities. In 1678 the city of Moscow had only 51 sukonniki houses. By the 18th century, the Sukonnaia Sotnia had declined in importance, and its members were registered in the gil’dii (guilds)—in 1724 in Moscow and in 1728 in other cities.
D. I. TVERSKAIA