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Bloody Stake: 'Alternative' Monument To Ivan The Terrible Unveiled In Russia

A wooden stake dripping with blood-red paint has been erected in the Russian city of Kansk as an alternative monument to the controversial tsar Ivan the Terrible.

Ivan the Terrible was the first ruler to be called the "Tsar of All the Russias," but not all Russians today agree on the legacy of the 16th-century monarch.

Far from it: Some praise Ivan IV as a protector of Russia, while others believe he was a bloody tyrant who killed his own son and created a secret police force that set the stage for centuries of oppression at the hands of the state.

Now those two views are set out in two monuments. Despite protests, Russia's first-ever statue of Ivan the Terrible was unveiled earlier this month in the southwestern city of Oryol, which he founded as a fortress in 1566.

Some 4,500 kilometers away, in the Siberian city of Kansk, an artist swiftly responded by putting up an "alternative" monument to the infamous tsar: a wooden stake dripping with blood-red paint.

Vladislav Gultyayev, who created the unusual monument, suggests it is a warning to Russians today that too little separates them from the state-inflicted violence of Ivan's rule.

"This hints that the days when killing was 'just because' and for fun aren't that distant," Gultyayev said on Facebook.

"The baton of the battle against our people was passed on to Anna Ivanovna, blessed be her memory, and to the jolly, mustachioed Stalin," he added in an apparently sarcastic reference to two other Russian leaders known for their brutality.

Gultyayev said that he was inspired to counter the monument unveiled in Oryol on October 14. It depicts Ivan IV, on horseback, holding a Russian Orthodox cross.

The controversial monument to Ivan the Terrible in the city of Oryol.
The controversial monument to Ivan the Terrible in the city of Oryol.

By agreeing to such a monument, Gultyayev said, Russians silently condone repression, torture, and execution.

Officials have not commented on the stake, which juts from the ground on a riverbank in Kansk, near Krasnoyarsk.

Ivan the Terrible carried out mass repressions with the Oprichnina, the original Russian secret police force that he founded. The new force carried out the Novgorod massacre, an event that became notorious for its brutality and high number of casualties.

The alternative monument has an additional meaning, according to Gultyayev: It symbolizes the backbone that "every Russian person must have."

"Its elegant profile, stretching upward, shows the commitment of our people to glorious deeds and titanic achievements," he wrote. "The blood on it implies that the price is not a concern."

About This Blog

Using regional media and the reporting of Current Time TV's wide network of correspondents, Anna Shamanska will tell stories about people and society you are unlikely to read anywhere else.

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