Well I was thinking I needed something to symbolize all the repressive and negative things that get me as a supporter of social justice and equality really really mad.
Things like :
War and Violence
Religion and all the baggage that comes with it.
That is when the Oprichniki came to mind. An group that during its time managed to roll all of the above into one monstrously evil organisation.
The Oprichniki were basically the secret police of Ivan The Terrible, a man whose sobriquet was if anything an understatement. This guy was full on crazy. He used to cook his victims alive in giant frying pans FFS. So you can only imagine what his gang of “fixers” were capable of doing.
From Wikipedia :
The Oprichniki were in charge of the supression of internal enemies of the Tsar. Guided by Ivan, they laid waste to civilian populations. They dressed in black garb, similar to a monastic habit, and bore the insignia of a severed dog’s head (to sniff out treason and the enemies of the Tsar) and a broom (to sweep them away). The dog’s head was also symbolic of “nipping at the heels of the Tsar’s enemies.” They were sometimes called the “Tsar’s Dogs” on account of their loyalty to him. They also rode black horses in order to inspire greater terror. The Oprichniki were given orders to execute anyone who was disloyal to Ivan IV.
The Oprichniki would supposedly use various methods of torture including tying each limb to a different horse and riding in opposite directions, or dropping the person into a vat of boiling water. They would impale victims, or even tie the victim to a pole and roast him over an open fire.
When Ivan declared himself the “Hand of God”, 300 of the Oprichniki were selected to be his personal “brotherhood” that lived within Ivan’s castle at Aleksandrovskaia Sloboda near Vladimir. Every night at 4 AM these Oprichnik “monks” would attend a sermon given by Ivan himself before the morning’s ritual executions. The Oprichniki would lead an externally ascetic lifestyle, like the monks they emulated, but there would be mad outbreaks of cruelty and debauchery. Ivan would sing while they ate, himself not eating till everyone had finished. He would go to bed at 9 PM, with three blind men telling him stories.
In the Novgorod incident, the Oprichniks killed an estimated 1500 “big people” (nobles), although the real figure is unknown. By 1572, Tsar Ivan disbanded the Oprichnik due to his realization that they were causing more problems and internal instability than he had planned them to counter. Moreover, despite having created them himself, Ivan made it a capital crime even to mention the name “Oprichnina” or anything in relations to it.
So there you are. A bunch of crazy religious zealots, fiercely loyal to their lord and truly sadistic in their love of suffering and torture. Famous for daily torture and execution sessions, mass resettlement programs and the deaths of thousands.
A perfect mirror of the ever growing authoritarian nature that our society is growing towards. These agents from a past time should surely stand as a warning to us all of the possible abuses of power that can stem from a security program with little or no oversight or transparency and of a society where far to much power is in the hands of far too few entitled men.