The authoritarian state lives on horror stories, the totalitarian on myths.
The blogger “Haydamak” had this to say in a long blog post this weekend on the statue of Ivan Grozny [Ivan the Terrible, as he is commonly referred to in English] that the authorities in Oryol erected on Friday. The Tsar ordered a fortress built in Oryol in 1566, and is therefore considered the “founder” of the city.
People with icons, including the face of Nicholas II (in a sense, the debtor to Ivan the Terrible – if he had not killed his son, there would be no Romanov rulers), [and] some strange figures, with indistinguishable faces.
The blogger noted that they “honored him almost like a saint (that Ivan was excommunicated from the church for debauchery and murder is somehow forgotten).”
He also brought up the fact that the governor of Oryol said at a press conference several months ago that Ivan Grozny blamed himself for his son’s death.
“Ivan Grozny once said that “I am responsible for the death of my son, because at the time I did not give him healers.” When they were on the road and he [the son] was ill. They were traveling from Moscow to St Petersburg… History should be remembered and nobody should be allowed to rewrite it.”
This is, of course, a categorically untrue statement, and Russians had a field day mocking the governor afterward.
Previously it was customary to frighten, now it is customary to simply invent a parallel world.