The anniversary of Ivan IV’s birth occurs this Sunday (August 25). Ivan IV (Иван IV) is probably the most famous Tsar of the first royal dynasty in Russia, the Ruriks. He is infamously known for its nickname, “The Terrible” (Грозный).
However, this nickname was not used by the people in a negative way: the Russian adjective “grosny” has much more layers of meaning than “terrible”. It also means “threatening”. In fact, he was a “threat” for the boyars, who oppressed the people and were often responsible for the disintegration of Russia. In fact, he reduced the power and the abuses of the nobility, and was seen as a champion of the poor and the homeless.
Ivan’s father died when he was just three, and he spent most of his childhood in prison. He was constantly risking his life because of conjures and intrigues in the royal house. Because of that, he developed a cruel behaviour towards the ones who opposed him and left no space to other opinions. When he was a kid, he tortured pets and threw them out of his window. When he grew up, he did some horrible tortures also to men.
Ivan IV was the first who used the title of “Tsar of all the Russias” (Император и Самодержец Всероссийский), since he managed to make it a proper Empire. A major figure of Russian history, he stands out among all the Tsars for his leadership skills and his unlimited energy.