Russian history "Do-Over"

There is apparently a new manual being distributed to Russia's history teachers that hopes to put a more positive spin on the nation's history and give a bit more upbeat and "feel good" view of Russia's past. It has the explicit support of President Putin and is part of the broader effort at defining the Russian national identity.

Some of the more interesting nuggets:

Stalin is apparently described as "the most successful Soviet leader ever" and the guide explains his purges and the system of camps for political prisoners as a function of his desire to make the Soviet Union strong.

Mr. Putin in a meeting with teachers apparently stated that killing at 700,000 of one's own fellow citizens at a time of peace and for political reasons is not as bad as the US use of the atomic bomb in World War II.

The manual says "The democtratic political culture that has formed in Russia over many centuries (emphasis added by MH) has become the main instrument of its rebirth and rise." Those pilars of democracy - the czars and the Politburo...

And one of the manual's co-authors had this final words of wisdom:

"Imagine in the U.S. you were told that all your history was awful and nightmarish. I'm sure you'd change the way history was taught too."

So if your history is a bit of a downer, just rewrite it...


Jules said…
a bit of a downer...that's funny;) i don't know any culture that's not revisionist in their history books about their own culture...lots of rosy, patriotic stories and few mentions of "lessons in how NOT to govern this country". without free would we ever hear the other side of the story and be able to make an informed opinion?
Evelinka said…
I'm sure you've heard this many times: In Russia, even the past is unpredictable.
It's sad. Everything that's been happening there in the last 2-3 years is beyond infuriating: it's just sad at this point.
Miljenko Horvat said…
Great to see you read it E. And yes, it upsets me greatly but oddly not as much most of the people there.

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