Historical Ivan the Terrible — a victim of its own rukopozhatnoy intellectuals and kindness

Reflecting on the overwhelmingly dominant criticism against the Russian history — the criticism, often acquiring a truly extremist — it is necessary to understand its most profound basis.

Let me speak about this to the figure of Ivan the Terrible. Vast majority of historians and, further, publicists, writers, etc., see it as a deliberately "unprecedented" and, in fact, even just a pathological tyrant, despot, the executioner.

It would be absurd to deny that Ivan IV was despotic and cruel ruler, a modern historian RG Skrynnikov, who has spent decades studying his era, proves that the reign of Ivan IV the Terrible in Russia was carried out "mass terror" in which "destroyed some 3.4 million people [1]," — and in many cases destroyed apparently innocent and also brutally tortures and with the most serious ways penalty.

But we can not all be forgotten, or rather not consider that Western European contemporaries Ivan the Terrible — the kings of Spain, Charles V and Philip II, King of England, Henry VIII and the French King Charles IX of the most brutal way executed hundreds of thousands of people. So, for example, that during the reign of Ivan the Terrible — from 1547 to 1584 — in the Netherlands alone, were under the authority of Charles V and Philip II, «… the number of victims reached 100 thousand. [2]" — and we are talking primarily about executed or died under torture "heretics" (by the way, even those who have not studied specifically the history of Europe are aware of the monstrous and even sadistic terror of Philip II of the popular historical novel by Charles de Coster's "The Legend of Ulenspiegel and Lamme Gudzak").

Limiting the cruelty of executions is expressed in the fact that much of the victims burned alive in front of a huge crowd and, as a rule, in the presence of kings themselves, for it is reliably reported to have been "burned alive 28,540 people [3]." It should be said that the mass terror of the XVI century is often entirely "cheat" on the Inquisition. But this is not true, in England did not have the Inquisition, and the terror was no less massive (see below), even more important to note that the Inquisition was a just court of law, and punishment is carried out at the behest of the royal government and its agents.

The French king Charles IX 23 August 1572 took an active "private" part in the so-called massacre of St. Bartholomew, during which were brutally killed "more than three thousand Huguenots [4]" — just for the fact that they belonged to Protestantism, and not to Catholicism, so that in one night destroyed about the same amount of people, but for all the terror of Ivan the Terrible! "Night" had a sequel, and "in general in France died then for two weeks about 30 thousand Protestants" (op. cit., P. 264).

In England, Henry VIII only for "vagrancy" (it went largely been driven on to the turns in the sheep pasture lands peasants) along the main roads "were hanged 72,000 vagrants and beggars [5]."

In short, if in Russia Ivan the Terrible had been executed 3-4 thousand people (as evidenced not only Skrynnikov, but another modern historian, and several decades of studying the era of "the king of terror victims were 3-4 thousand people", but for some reason he -then immediately deduces that de "royal tyranny of the absolute nature of the acquired … [6], that is" unprecedented "in nature), the major Western European countries (Spain, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain) at the same time and with the same brutality as well as time and again "innocent" executed no less than 300-400 thousand people! And yet — as it is strange and even striking — in Russian, and equally the Western mind appears as Ivan the Terrible anyone incomparable, unique tyrant and executioner …

This sentence for some reason did not shake the fact that the number of executions of those times western Russian exceed two orders of magnitude, a hundred times, with such excess, to use the once popular simplified Hegelian formula "quantity turns into quality", and the sinister face Ivan the Terrible was like a completely fade next to monstrous faces of Felipe II, Henry VIII and Charles IX. But this is not happening. Why? Who is to blame for such a construction of Ivan IV in the first rank and ultratirana sverhpalacha, although he is hopelessly "behind" from this point of view, crowned by their Western contemporaries?

There is no doubt that this guilty Russian public figures, historians, journalists, and the Russian people in general. But from a certain point of view, the main culprit of this presentation about Ivan the Terrible as wholly exceptional, out of all the series coming out is a tyrant and a butcher himself … Ivan the Terrible, who, for example, in 1573 (ie one year after the cancellation oprichniny) in a a widely famous letter to the St. Cyril-Belozersky monastery blamed himself "in filth, in the murder … in hatred, in any wickedness," is that he — "impure and bad dushegubets [7]."

It is quite natural to find Ivan the Terrible consummate murderers, if he himself is fully recognizes … Also later, in 1582, Ivan the Terrible officially announced "forgiveness" (as we would say today, rehabilitation) of all the people with him were executed and delivered Monasteries in huge amounts of money for their eternal remembrance, — in fact, fully recognizing their innocent victims …

Nothing like this has ever made Western European sovereigns — contemporaries of Ivan the Terrible. No less characteristic and the fact that the Western Church strongly disapproved of and blessed penalty, because, according to the historian, "Pope Gregory XIII at the news of the" deeds "of St. Bartholomew Illuminated Rome and the most important points of the area, knocked a medal in honor of this charitable affairs, and sent in Paris Cardinal Orsini for congratulations "Christian King and his mother" — Charles IX and Catherine de 'Medici [8]. "

Yet it is precisely at this time of Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow in the Assumption Cathedral publicly refused to bless Ivan the Terrible (in spite of its three times the request for it), publicly saying, "For the innocent blood shed oltarem Christian, and die in vain." Philip was sent to Tver and, according to legend, secretly killed there, but in 1591, just seven years after the death of the king, his canonized. And St. Philip — one of the most respected in Russia.

Less widely known for its direct predecessor (the image of Philip as if to protect him) — St. Herman. He belonged to the glorious old Field, is inextricably linked to the activities of one of the greatest Russian Saints Joseph of Volokolamsk — indomitable human spirit and will fearlessly spoke out against Ivan III (and then repeatedly slandered by historians and publicists that lasts even today). In May 1566 (oprichnina terror began in 1565) Ivan the Terrible built the German Poleva in metropolitan, but the new head of the church immediately announced that the king is waiting for Judgement for their actions. Ivan the Terrible Herman impeached from his post, and July 27, 1566 Metropolitan (until November 4, 1568) was the Philip eventually gone the way of Herman.

The sharp contrast in relation to evil head of the Western and Russian heads of the Church in a highly characteristic. The reasons for this contrast is written by many Russian thinkers and writers. Here are thinking I. Kireyevsky the distinction of "Western" and the Russian people:

"West, generally speaking, are almost always pleased with his moral state, almost all of the Europeans always ready, proudly beating his own heart, saying to yourself and to others that his conscience was quite calm, he is perfectly clean before God and man … Russian people, on the contrary, always keenly feels its flaws … even in the most passionate moment of enthusiasm is always ready to realize its moral illegitimacy. "

And the words of Dostoevsky: "… Let our people and the brutality of sin, but that's what it is undeniable: it is exactly what he is in his whole, at least (and ideally only, and in the zapravskoy reality) never takes, will not and do not want to take the sin of the truth! "

Kozhinov Vadim Valepyanovich
from the book: History of Russia and the Russian Word. The modern view

See also Russo-phobia West


[1] Skrynnikov RG-M Ivan the Terrible., 1975, p. 191.

[2] Grigulevich IR History of the Inquisition. — M "1970, p. 271.

[3] Lozinski SG History of the Papacy-M., 1986, p. 262.

[4] The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, Third Edition, Volume 4, Moscow, 1971, p. 312.

[5] Osinovsky JH Thomas More, Moscow, 1974, p. 62.

[6] DN Alshits Home autocracy in Russia. State of Ivan the Terrible. TL. 1988, p. 147, 122.

[7] Literary Monuments of Ancient Rus. MY. 8th, Moscow, 1988, p. 144, 145.

[8] Lozinski SG History of the Papacy-M., 1986, p. 264-265.


Like this post? Please share to your friends: