Monument honors Ivan the Terrible
OREL, RUSSIA >> Despite local protests and court battles, the Russian city of Orel has unveiled the country’s first monument to Czar Ivan the Terrible.
At a ceremony Friday, officials inaugurated the statue of Ivan on horseback, wielding both a sword and a cross, in the city 350 kilometers (225 miles) south of Moscow. The region’s governor likened the brutal czar to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We have a great, powerful president who has forced the whole world to respect and defer to Russia — just like Ivan the Terrible did in his time,” Vadim Potomsky said.
Ivan, who reigned from 1547 to 1584, was responsible for violence including the Novgorod Massacre, which killed thousands, and is believed to have slain even his own son. But he is also respected as key to Russia’s establishing itself as an empire and as a patron of the arts, including commissioning the landmark St. Basil’s Cathedral on 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.