Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - KICKOFF - Pho­tos and text from wire ser­vices

Ivan, who reigned from 1547 to 1584, was re­spon­si­ble for vi­o­lence in­clud­ing the Nov­gorod Mas­sacre, which killed thou­sands. But he is also re­spected as both key to Rus­sia’s es­tab­lish­ing it­self as an em­pire and as a pa­tron of the arts, in­clud­ing com­mis­sion­ing the land­mark St. Basil’s Cathe­dral, which dom­i­nates Red Square in Moscow.

The czar’s moniker re­flects his mixed rep­u­ta­tion — in Rus­sian, it can mean not only “ter­ri­ble” but also “for­mi­da­ble.”

The erec­tion of the statue comes as Rus­sia, en­cour­aged by Putin, is un­der­go­ing a broad re­assess­ment of its his­tory. The cur­rent Rus­sian nar­ra­tive jus­ti­fies vi­o­lence and re­pres­sion if it’s seen as hav­ing been nec­es­sary to strengthen the Rus­sian state, in­clud­ing atroc­i­ties or­dered by Soviet dic­ta­tor Josef Stalin.

Among the crowd of 1,000 who wit­nessed the mon­u­ment’s in­au­gu­ra­tion in Orel was Alexan­der Zal­dostanov, the burly leader of the proPutin biker group Night Wolves.

On the other side of the political spec­trum, some ac­tivists in Orel had held protests against the statue and launched an un­suc­cess­ful court at­tempt to block it. One of them, Natalia Golenkova, told The As­so­ci­ated Press she had been as­saulted walk­ing home one night and warned to stop her op­po­si­tion to the statute.

“Who was a fan of Ivan the Ter­ri­ble? Stalin,” she said. “Tyrants love tyrants.”

A mon­u­ment to Czar Ivan the Ter­ri­ble af­ter be­ing un­veiled in the city of Orel, 225 miles south of Moscow, in Orel, Rus­sia, Fri­day.

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