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Top Frightening 10 Rulers Far Worse than Putin

These are the rulers far worse than Putin: 

No, no, I am not trying to take sides, nor am I trying to diminish how bad the world we’re living in today is. While we’d expect to have a lot of good things in 2024, unfortunately, we still have to fight with each other and even start wars in various parts of the globe.

History has somehow a bad habit of repeating itself, and because of that, in today’s article, we will put together a list of some of the worst rulers who are even worse than Putin. Some of them will seem familiar to you, while others may not so much. Let’s go!

rulers far worse than Putin
Photo by Free Wind 2014 from Shutterstock

1. Ivan the Terrible

Of course, first on the list must be a Russian ruler too! Ivan IV, the first czar of all of Russia, extended Moscow’s power throughout the territories of the former Kievan Rus, an Eastern European federation.

Ivan IV’s nickname in Russian means more imposing or menacing than bad. Ivan established a centralized government, broadened reforms, and produced the first black-clad members of Russia’s notorious secret police.

He enjoyed torturing and executing nobles cruelly to subjugate them. Ivan tried to step down in 1564 because he was tired of the reign, but he was persuaded to come back a year later. Later, he established his fief, known as the “oprichnina,” which allowed him to rule over up to one-third of the Muscovite domains. Ivan killed his own son and heir in 1581 after becoming enraged and beating him with a sharp stick.

2. King Leopold II of Belgium

Another ruler is King Leopold the Second, and for a lot of people, he isn’t very well known. But let me tell you his story and why I considered it important to put it on the list. By forcing the Congolese people to work as slaves to produce rubber and ivory, he established the Congo Free State as “his own” private colony and went on to amass enormous wealth from it.

Tens of thousands of people were slain in attempted uprisings, millions of people perished from famine, and the birth rate decreased as a result of the separation of men and women. According to demographers, there was a 50% decline in population between 1880 and 1920. Later, authorities from France, Germany, and Portugal replicated this forced labor scheme.

3. Nero

Caligula’s nephew Nero was reputedly much more vicious. In addition to being notorious for his murders, indiscretions, and casual brutality, he is also said to have played the violin as Rome burnt during the Great Fire of 64 A.D. We still don’t know if this was just a rumor spread by one of the many people who were his enemies, or if he was just “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”. I tend to believe the second one…

4. Wu Zetian

This is the first ruler who was a female and contrary to many people’s opinion it has been proven that women can be…well.. ruthless too. Let’s see what’s the catch with this Chinese empress. She had heard countless tales of turmoil in politics and a large number of deaths.

To maintain her position of power, she killed many Teng dynasty members and even massacred members of her own family. Out of all these bloody stories, only one is particularly surprising since it seems that some think she even killed her mother. Wu gave the order for her two grandchildren to commit suicide, as if this wasn’t awful enough.

5. Irene of Athens

With her young son, Constantine, whose rule started when he was just nine years old, Irene had the title of queen regent. The king would often be the lone ruler and ascend to the throne after turning sixteen. But, guess what? The concept didn’t sit well with Irene. She just held the reign until her son exiled her from the empire when he was 19 years old.
This only occurred after she put her child in jail and assassinated seven of his generals.

Constantine wasn’t exactly the best ruler, so he crawled back to his mother and asked for help. Soon after, they ruled together for five years. She wanted to get rid of Constantine as quickly as possible; therefore, peace didn’t last very long. In the same chamber where he was born, Irene imprisoned him, blinding him and gouging out his eyes. She continued to be the only monarch of the empire after his quick death.

6. Mehmet Talat Paşa

According to historians, Talat Paşa was the mastermind of the genocide against the Armenian people. He is said to have been in charge of the deportation and eventual killings of some 600,000 Armenians while serving as interior minister.

An Armenian assassin killed him in Berlin in 1921. In a unique turn of events, Adolf Hitler transported his remains back to Istanbul in 1943 in an attempt to convince Turkey to ally with the Axis forces during World War II.

…psst! The article isn’t over yet but are you curious about more famous figures who left their mark on history? Check out this tremendous book called History’s Worst Dictators: A Short Guide to the Most Brutal Rulers, From Emperor Nero to Ivan the Terrible. This compendium is going to give you more insights about some of the rulers I talked about in this article and a few more others. 

Nice to have in your bookcase or on the Kindle, which is way affordable at just $3.14. 

7. Timur

The seventh ruler on the list of frightening rulers is far worse than Putin, and his name was Timur. He was a Turkish Mongol conqueror who oversaw military operations over most of western Asia.

Timur brutally built a tower out of living men in his show east, in what is now known as Afghanistan. Using bricks and mortar, he stacked and solidified the guys together. Timur put an end to a rebellion in the Iranian capital of Isfahan by carrying out a slaughter.

Minarets made of 70,000 people’s heads were put together. After reading this, I am sure you won’t forget Timur if you haven’t heard of him before.

rulers far worse than Putin
Photo by Everett Collection from Shutterstock

8. Benito Mussolini

He was a political figure in Italy who, from 1925 to 1945, ruled the country as a fascist dictator. He started as a revolutionary socialist and worked as a journalist and editor for newspapers. In 1919, he helped to create the violent paramilitary fascist movement in Italy, and in 1922, he took office as prime minister.

Known to his fellow citizens as “Il Duce,” “the Leader,” or just “Mussolini,” he sided with Adolf Hitler in World War II, depending on the dictator of Germany to maintain his position of power. Mussolini attempted to escape in April 1945, after he had already been ousted from office, but he was fatally shot by anti-Fascists and hanged upside down in a Milanese square.

What do you think, was Mussolini one of the rulers far worse than Putin? Let me know your opinion in the comments.

9. Vladimir Lenin

The October Revolution, headed by Lenin, overthrew the czar’s interim government in 1917. Following a civil war that lasted for around three years, the Bolsheviks emerged victorious and seized power over the nation.

Lenin showed a heartbreaking indifference to the suffering of his fellow citizens throughout this time of revolution, war, and hunger, and ruthlessly put down any dissent.

10. Idi Amin

Last but not least is Idi Amin the ruler of Uganda or as he is widely known “The Butcher of Uganda.” Amin used a military coup to overthrow an elected government in Uganda, drawing inspiration from the British colonial army. He took office as president and governed brutally from 1971 until 1979. Amin began massacring the Acholi and Lango tribes once he came to power.

Since many of the Asians were business owners, Amin’s forced immigration of 80,000 of them from the nation in 1972 led to the collapse of the Asian economy. Amin is thought to have killed at least 300,000 people throughout his reign.

You may also want to check out 7 History’s Most Gruesome Female Assassins


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