Why is there a monument to Ivan the Terrible's executioner in Estonia? ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Monument built for Ivan The Terrible's executioner Malyuta Skuratov
Monument built for Ivan The Terrible's executioner Malyuta Skuratov Source: ERR

A monument to Ivan The Terrible's executioner Malyuta Skuratov is located in Mäo, a village in Järva County. Astrid Kannel, a guest reporter on "Ringvaade", went to find out why there is such a monument in Estonia.

There is a monument in the middle of Estonia, in Mäo, which is dedicated to one of the most famous murderers in Russian history. From a distance, the monument resembles an old chimney and it has also been considered as a pillar of the War of Independence. Its location is in a pea field on the top of a hill and there is no passage or path to get to it.  

Raul Vaiksoo, an Estonian architect, has called the monument an obelisk in the book called "101 Eesti monumenti" ("101 Estonian monuments"). It is the evilest monument in Estonia. 

Russian tourists and visitors to the monument are often surprised to find that Skuratov died in Paide, a town in Järva County. 

The monument is dedicated to Russian soldiers who died during the Livonian War in 1573 during the conquest of Paide Fortress (the siege of Weissenstein).

Ivan the Terrible's most famous executioner, Malyuta Skuratov, was the leader of the Tsar's personal punitive army the oprichnina, and was present at the battle.  

During the last days of 1572, the Russian army besieged Paide Fortress. Ivan The Terrible himself was experiencing war for the first time in Estonia. Skuratov was one of the first ones who ran into the castle to murder him. Some of the chronicles write that he was immediately shot or stabbed. 

314 years later, Olaf von Stackelberg, a landowner of the Mäo area, built an obelisk for Russian soldiers who were killed in the conquest of Paide Fortress. Grand Duke Vladimir, the brother of Emperor Alexander the Third, visited Paide in 1886 to and learnt he was not the first blue-blooded Russian to visit that town. 

Ründo Mülts, the director of research at Wittenstein Center in Järva County, explained: "During the Paide visit, a member of Tsar's family heard that Ivan The Terrible and Malyuta Skuratov have been here before and they were both killed here. During the conversation, a discussion arose that such an important and dignified event cannot be unseen without a noticeable reminder – a monument. The landowner of Mäo, Stackelberg came up with the idea that he would build an obelisk on the top of a hill on the lands of his manor." 

Ivan the Terrible was the first to be proclaimed tsar of Russia in 1547. His reign saw the completion of the construction of a centrally administered Russian state and the creation of an empire that included non-Slav states.

Ivan engaged in prolonged and largely unsuccessful wars against Sweden and Poland, and, in seeking to impose military discipline and a centralized administration, he instituted a reign of terror against the hereditary nobility.

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Editor: Katriin Eikin Sein

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