El Conde: Is Fyodor Krasnov Based on a Real Butler?

‘El Conde’ is a Chilean horror-comedy Netflix film directed by Pablo Larraín that presents a satirical take on Chile’s dictatorial ruler, Augusto Pinochet, by reimaging him as a vampire. The film follows Pinochet after he fakes his death following the end of his reign in Chile and resorts to a life of isolation in a deserted, remote town. Awaiting his final death, Pinochet resides in his home beside his wife, Lucía Hiriart, and loyal butler, Fyodor Krasnov, who has a long professional history with his master. However, when his greedy kids bring an accountant/nun with a hidden motive inside Pinochet’s house, it brings a new chapter to the vampirical tyrant’s life.

Providing a social and political commentary on Pinochet and his legacy, this film possesses a mystifying cinematography cleverly paired with an intriguing base premise. Amongst the narrative’s countless straight-faced characters, Fyodor remains the sternest and stands out with the juxtaposition present within his character. Given the film’s historical roots and the instrumental role Fyodor plays in the narrative, viewers must be curious to know if the butler has any relation to a real-life person. Let’s find out!

Fyodor Krasnov is a Fictional Character

Director/Writer Pablo Larraín and his co-writer Guillermo Calderón fictionalized a majority of ‘El Conde’s’ plot points and storylines. As such, Fyodor’s character is a subsequent result of the same. Since there are no records of any real-life person named Fyodor Krasnov with connections to Augusto Pinochet, it’s fair to assume the man’s character in the film is a fabrication created to serve the narrative.

Fyodor Krasnov, the second vampire introduced in the story, is Pinochet’s most loyal subject who follows him into his life of desolations. Pinochet, notoriously known for refusing to turn his wife, Lucía, in the face of her countless requests, had bitten Fyodor as a gift for his ruthless service in Pinochet’s army. Fyodor used to be a master torturer during Pinochet’s dictatorial rule in Chile.

According to reports, following Pinochet’s coup d’etat against President Salvador Allende, Pinochet’s regime tortured thousands of people who opposed them. Within the first three years of rule, the regime reportedly arrested approximately 130,000 people, many of whom faced torture at their hands. Lelia Pérez, detained by soldiers at the age of 16, shared her experience of the time when Pinochet’s security services used her as the subject to hone their torturing skills.

“They would teach them how to interrogate, how to apply the electricity, where and for how long. When they were torturing me, I went into my own world – it was as if I was looking down on myself – like it wasn’t happening to me. It was brutal,” said Pérez. Therefore, Fyodor’s torture-ridden past is likely an intentional characteristic added to remind the viewers of the grave violence that constituted Pinochet’s reign.

In terms of the narrative and its humorous base, Fyodor occupies a uniquely entertaining space by constantly exhibiting contrasting character traits. For instance, Fyodor remains a deadpan pillar in Pinochet’s life committed to fulfilling his every wish, yet he’s the first one from the ensemble of characters to express genuine emotion. Likewise, his unending loyalty to Pinochet, which forms a key character feature, exists beside his scandalous affair. These off-beat contrasting character traits infuse Fyodor’s character with a uniquely comedic tone.

Furthermore, Fyodor’s constant support and admiration of Pinochet’s horrifying crimes of human rights abuse mirrors the former dictator’s band of supporters that he finds himself lacking throughout this film. In real life, Pinochet’s regime announced that 75% of the country endorsed his rule in 1978. Even in the present day, according to a recent poll, 36% of Chileans believe Pinochet “freed Chile from Marxism.”

In that regard, Fyodor is a reminder of Pinochet’s past glory, when the latter was rich in countless faithful followers while also emulating the persevering support Pinochet’s name garners. Through this character, the narrative also makes a statement about how supporters of certain political ideologies end up becoming complicit in their crimes as well. Still, despite his contribution to the film, Fyodor is a fictional character with no firm basis in reality.

Read More: El Conde Ending, Explained: Who is Pinochet’s Mother?