At the beginning of the last century, a phenomenon such as the “Black Hundreds” developed in Russia.
Initially, it meant an informal movement of Russian chauvinists and anti-Semites who aggressively oppressed Jews and enemies of the monarchy.
Over time, the meaning of this word has changed, but personally in my perception, the “Black Hundreds” are the accomplices of the ruling regime, forcibly suppressing opposition to the authorities, with the demonstrative connivance of the state. They do what they want with their own hands, but they hesitate to do it with their internal enemies.
“Black Hundreds” appear in the period of aggravation of the political situation in the country. They arise with the hidden assistance of the authorities, and most often even without it, simply on the wave of general state policy.
It seems that Putin personally did not order anyone to whip the girls from “Pussy Riot”, kill Nemtsov, beat Navalny. But the Kremlin’s propaganda machine, with its jingoistic patriotic slogans, insulting opponents with rhetoric and boorish behavior, warms up the respective public so much that it no longer needs to give instructions. It acts in a given way. The authorities can only reap the benefits of the Black Hundreds, create the appearance of taking measures and write off everything on the actions of “individual criminal elements.”
Such tactics have been applied and can be applied in any authoritarian country.