Ivan the Terrible as Pivotal Figure in the Ideology of Information Warfare

While working on a criminology and forensic science-oriented investigation into the seven tragic marriages of Tsar Ivan IV of Russia (aka Ivan Vasilyevich, Ivan Grozny, Ivan the Terrible,  etc.), I specifically began to note that there was a strong dimension of “information warfare” in the Russian narratives surrounding Russia’s first tsar. Enough so, that it deserved its own paper.

Here is the peer reviewed work presented this week to the virtual 2021 International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security (ICCWS): 2021 Ivan the Terrible as Pivotal Figure in the Ideology of Information Warfare

Read below the break for more thoughts on expanding this research.

For example, controversial professor Igor Froianov has argued that the West was responsible for the poisoning of Ivan’s wife Anastasia Romanovna, and that this poisoning falls within the context of a nearly 500 year old “informational-psychological war” being waged against Russia. The 2006 story was linked to allegations that claims Alexander Litvinenko had been poisoned by Russia were part of this same information war.

In 2016, Russia unveiled its first ever monument to Ivan IV. There, ideologists similarly made connection between the West and this ‘information war’. Arguments were made that, for example, claims Russian separatists had shot down MH-17 were lies, and directly linked to the same kind of information war waged against Ivan. However, in the Western media, this was seen in the context of historical revisionism and ideology. 

In 2017-2018, a series of ideological exhibitions called “Russia, My History” began to appear around Russia. Within these exhibitions, the claim was made that Ivan IV was the victim of the first information war in Europe. However, since at least 2009, Metropolitan Tikhon – the ‘ideological architect’ of these exhibitions has argued that Ivan and Stalin were tools of informational conflict used to divide Russia.

Translated Ivan the Terrible exhibit from ‘Russia, My History’, Moscow

Looking into an association of Ivan IV with information war on the internet (specifically in Russian), it seemed clear that this emergent view is closely linked to influential ideologists close to the Putin government, including the elite conservative ‘Izborsky Club’. In turn, many of these figures also have a strong connection to Metropolitan Ioann, a once-fringe figure who has been observed specifically for his ideology of Orthodox fascism.

This paper contributes to my prior published research, highlighting the importance of ideas like “antichrist” and “Ivan IV” to Russian information warfare (eg. my theory Nostradamus’ poorly translated “King of Terror” and “King of the Mongols” anticipated in 1999 is likely a reference to Ivan IV himself which Putin has leveraged for his own information warfare agenda).

It also begins to scratch the surface at some of the tsarist anti-Semitism which seems to be linked to ideas of Russian irrationalism, or anti-rationality, which seem to be linked to past movements like Pan-Slavism, but may appear today to be more in service of something like Dugin’s Eurasianism.

The harnessing of these ideas by Russian nationalists seems key to understanding aspects of their war of disinformation, as Russia evolves into a system of so-called Political Orthodoxy.

Check out the other papers in the series here: https://n01r.com/reading-list/