The Black Hundreds (sometimes The Black Hundreds), also known as the black-hundredists (Чёрная сотня, черносотенцы in Russian, or Chyornaya sotnya, chernosotentsy) was an antisemitic conservative movement in Russia in the early 20th century, a supporter of the tsarist regime, which stood for inviolable autocracy in its struggle against the revolutionary movement.
Members of these organizations came from different social strata, such as landowners, clergymen, high and petty bourgeoisie, merchants, artisans, workers and the so-called declassed elements (see Declasse). "Sovet ob’yedinyonnogo dvoryanstva" (United Gentry Council) guided the activities of the black-hundredists. The tsarist regime provided moral and financial support to the movement. The Black Hundreds were founded on a devotion to Tsar, church and motherland, expressed by the tsar's motto, Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and National Character (Pravoslavie, Samoderzhavie i Narodnost). Despite certain program differences, all of the black-hundredist organizations had one goal in common, namely their struggle against the revolutionary movement. The black-hundredists conducted oral propaganda in churches by holding special services, during meetings, lectures and manifestations. Such propaganda provoked antisemitic sentiments and monarchic "exaltation" and caused numerous pogroms and terrorist acts against revolutionaries and certain public figures, performed by their armed wing, the Yellow Shirts.
The Black Hundred movement published newspapers, such as Znamya (The Banner) or Russkoye znamya (Russian Banner), Pochayevsky listok (The Pochayev Page), Zemschina, Kolokol (Bell), Groza (Thunderstorm), Veche and other. Many rightist newspapers, such as Moskovskiye vedomosti (Moscow News), Grazhdanin (Citizen) and Kievlyanin (Kievan), published their materials, as well. Among the prominent leaders of the Black Hundred movement were Alexander Dubrovin, Vladimir Purishkevich, Nikolai Markov, Pavel Bulatzel, Ivan Vostorgov, A.I.Trischatiy, monk Iliodor, M.K.Shakhovskoy and others. Black Hundred influenced, according to Polish historian Jerzy W. Borejsza, the Romanian fascist movement called Iron Guard (Garda de Fier).
It is to be noted that the first known publication of the notorious antisemitic text, now popularly known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, was serialized in 1903 in the paper Znamya, then under the editorship and owndership of Pavel Krushevan.
A 1906 edition of these Protocols of Zion were published by the Union of the Russian People under the name or editorship of G. Butmi, and under the Russian title, Vragi roda cheloviecheskago (Enemies of the Human Race).
The black-hundredists organized four all-Russian congresses with the purpose of uniting their forces. In October of 1906, they elected the so-called glavnaya uprava (a kind of board of directors) of the new all-Russian black-hundredist organization "Ob’yedinyonniy russkiy narod" (Объединённый русский народ, or Russian People United). After 1907, however, this organization disintegrated and the whole Black Hundred movement became weaker with membership rate steadily decreasing. During the February Revolution of 1917, the remaining black-hundredist organizations were officially abolished. After the October Revolution, many leaders and regular members of these organizations fought against the Soviet authorities, although overall their participation was much lower than that of more moderate forces of the White movement.
After emigrating abroad, Black Hundredists became the main right wing critics of the White movement. They blamed the movement for not moving out monarchism as its key ideological foundation, and being run under the influence of liberals and Freemasons.
The term "black-hundredist" was later used with reference to the extreme reactionaries, belligerent adversaries of socialism and others.
In Jack London's 1908 novel The Iron Heel, which predicts the rise of a Fascist government in the US, the hired thugs who are loyal to the regime and specialise in attacking labour meetings use the name of the Black Hundreds.
In Bernard Malamud's 1966 novel The Fixer, which portrays Yakov Bok as a Jewish man from the pogrom moving to Kiev, Yakov changes his last name to sound more Russian and soon becomes employed by a member of the Black Hundred.
In Edward Rutherford's Russka, a young Bobrov (one of the fictional families portrayed in the novel) is beaten in the street for being Jewish looking and being the son of a social-democrat; by a gang of young Black Hundreds.
In today's Russia, the term "black-hundredist" has become synonymous with far-right thuggishness of a fascist character. Organizations such as Pamyat, a nationalist organisation known for its anti-Semitism are often referred as the black hundreds.
There is also a psychedelic pop band called Black Hundreds, from Lincoln, NE
Michael Kellogg, The Russian Roots of Nazism: White Emigres and the Making of National Socialism, 1917-1945.(Book review)
Jan 01, 2007; Michael Kellogg, The Russian Roots of Nazism: White Emigres and the Making Of National Socialism, 1917-1945. 327 pp. Cambridge:...