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BLACK HUNDRED by Walter Laqueur


The Rise of the Extreme Right in Russia

by Walter Laqueur

Pub Date: June 16th, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-018336-5
Publisher: HarperCollins

 From prolific Russian scholar Laqueur (Stalin and Soviet Union 2000, both 1990, etc): a path-breaking analysis of the extreme right in Russia, including a thoughtful and plausible prediction of its role in that country's future. Laqueur first looks to the origins of the Russian right, initially at its 19th-century roots and then at the ``Black Hundred,'' an amorphous extreme-right organization that emerged between 1900 and 1917. This mindlessly anti-Semitic group--probably never representative of more than 20% of the Russian population- -influenced national affairs even while Stalin's own nationalist socialism was dominant. The importance of Russia's extreme right, Laqueur says, now lies in its alliance of convenience with former Communist and security-apparatus bureaucrats who are against glasnost and perestroika. The right has been given a boost by the dismay felt even outside more extreme circles over the breakup of the Soviet empire, by Russia's catastrophic economic decline, and by recent damage to veteran institutions of Russian life. Laqueur doesn't predict any rise to power of a far-right government- -Hitler's invasion and Stalin's rule, he contends, have inoculated the Russian people against fascism--but he thinks that ``an authoritarian system based on some nationalist populism appears more probable.'' Help, he adds, can come ``only through the Russian people's own efforts, their good sense, and their fortitude in adversity.'' Laqueur brings to this study an incomparable knowledge, sureness of touch, and deftness of judgment that make it far more than just an analysis of the role of the Russian right. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs)