Russian City Unveils Controversial Monument to Ivan the Terrible

2016-10-15 21:58:09

Authorities in the Russian city of Oryol unveiled the first-ever monument to Ivan IV the Terrible, one of the most controversial rulers of Russia.

Ivan founded a fortress that grew to become Oryol 450 years ago. The mounted statue depicts the tsar in a crown holding a cross in his hand.

On Friday, local officials and the Oryol Region's governor took part in an opening ceremony. Minister of Culture Vladmir Medinsky praised the step, saying the monument stresses the "continuity of all stages of our [Russian] history."

Ivan IV ruled Russia in the middle of XVIth century. He doubled the country's territory and created an up-to-date government system and the army. He also founded a secret police that launched mass repressions. Ivan the Terrible is widely believe to have killed his son in a fit of rage, that led to a severe succession crisis later. 

Ivan conquered vast territories, including the Kazan Khaganate. Today, Kazan is the stronghold of Russia's second biggest ethnicity, a 5-million Tatar nation and a FIFA 2018 host city.