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Black Hundred


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#1 Anders MacGregor-Thunell

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 06:31 AM

I have taught history since the late 1970's and often focused on modern Russian History. During the turbulent years in the beginning of the 20th century I go through the political situation on the left as well as on the right. One of the rightist organizations was the "Black Hundred" (Чёрная сотня, черносотенцы in Russian, or Chernaya sotnya, chernosotentsy). I know about the organization in general, I know about their politics, some of the members as well as several of thier publications but I have never got a good explanation on the origin of the name. So I would very much like to find out where this name originated from.

#2 John Simkin

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 07:59 AM

I am sure you will finf the answer in Walter Laqueur's book, Black Hundred: The Rise of the Extreme Right in Russia (1993).

http://www.amazon.co...940832?v=glance

#3 Anders MacGregor-Thunell

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 02:56 PM

No John! Unfortunately I didn't. I had my hopes up when I got a hold of this book some years ago but I was dissapointed. No explanation to where the name came from. B)

#4 Zhenia Plotnikova

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 03:58 PM

I have taught history since the late 1970's and often focused on modern Russian History. During the turbulent years in the beginning of the 20th century I go through the political situation on the left as well as on the right. One of the rightist organizations was the "Black Hundred" (Чёрная сотня, черносотенцы in Russian, or Chernaya sotnya, chernosotentsy). I know about the organization in general, I know about their politics, some of the members as well as several of thier publications but I have never got a good explanation on the origin of the name. So I would very much like to find out where this name originated from.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hello,
I am sorry for trying to fit into the discussion between the experts, but I thought I could help. Being a Russian native and having studied Russian history in a Russian school for quite a while I remembered the word and did some research on Russian websites.

One of the sources said approximately the following:
The name ‘black hundred” formed as a result of quite common in Russian language functional transfer of the name from one phenomenon to another. In the Old Russian “black hundred” used to mean the most democratic, unprivileged social group of taxed city population (which used to be divided into hundreds). The metaphor “black” (as opposite to white) meant “paying impost, unprivileged and liable to national government tax”. This is why this phrase used to be part of semantic field that included other similar phrases such as “black tribute” = a general folk tax and others. In a dictionary of 1847 the phrase “black hundred” is defined as "lower class of city philistines”. This included as wide a social group as merchants, some groups of peasants, hunters, the children of priests, etc…
By XVIII century this meaning of the phrase was being lost. In the second half of XIX century phrase “black hundred” became an ironical reference to reactionary groups of petty bourgeoisie, merchant’s and philistine’s deputies in the city Duma. This use of the phrase is seen in “Russian thought and speech” by Michelson: “many useful reforms formed in the Duma are never passed due to short-sightedness and counteraction of the black hundred”. As nationalism in Russia developed, the meaning of the phrase gained new undertone of the most radical reactionary part of the monarchical party of tsarist Russia. This new meaning was largely developed by the leftist liberal pre-Revolutionary intelligentsia.


Another source gave a bit different explanation:
The word appeared already in the XII century in medieval Russia. The “black people” were the people “of the earth” (zemlya in Russian), “zemskie ” (city and village inhabitants); as opposed to “sluzhilie” = people who worked for the government institutions. In this way, “the black hundred” was a group of “zemskie ”, and by calling their organisation “black hundred”, the ideologists of the beginning of the XX century were emphasizing the fact that they were trying to revive the ancient “democratic” ways: in difficult times the groups of “zemskie” were called to preserve the main traditions of the country.
In addition, the “black hundred” also came from reference to common, ‘black’ Russian people that in the revolution of 1905 protected the tsardom.

#5 Anders MacGregor-Thunell

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 09:17 PM

An interesting answer. Thank you Zhenia. Now I have the possibility to see where the name might have originated from.
What I still wonder is - when did the "black hundred" get their name? By whom? and if possible what was the meaning of the name in this political context for these people?

#6 Zhenia Plotnikova

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 10:07 PM

An interesting answer. Thank you Zhenia. Now I have the possibility to see where the name might have originated from.
  What I still wonder is - when did the "black hundred" get their name? By whom? and if possible what was the meaning of the name in this political context for these people?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You are welcome Mr MacGregor-Thunell :D
I am not quite sure, would you like to know who gave and why gave "the black hundred" its name in XX century? If this is the question, I am afraid the resources are limited. I've translated most of what I found already. What I can do though is ask my friend who is studying at a Russian university at linguistics faculty and he'll ask his professors. If that will be OK for you, I'll gladly do that! Only that all the professors will be back in September, so if you do not mind to wait a little for the answer...

#7 Anders MacGregor-Thunell

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 06:23 AM

Yes I would like to know - Who gave this ultra-rightist group their name? Is it possible to see when they got their name? and finally why did they pick this specific name (or more what did they understand with the name that they picked for the group)?
I don't mind waiting at all. It have asked this question to many of my collegues both in the US and here in Sweden and no one has so far given me an answer to this question. I really appreciate your effort and I'm looking forward to hear from your friend. :D

Edited by Anders MacGregor-Thunell, 17 August 2005 - 06:27 AM.





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