Putin plans to shade history (update) Posted by: McQ
on Monday, August 20, 2007
When you see a Russian history school book in the future, ensure that you understand that when they talk about "truth" that, in fact, "truthy" might be a better description:
Critics are accusing President Vladimir Putin's government of a Soviet-style rewriting of Russian history with a series of new "patriotic" textbooks to be unveiled in the new school year.
Patriotism and the state will again take priority over history and the truth. It is much more important that Russians feel good about the state than remember what the state actually did to them.
A handbook for teachers, on the basis of which a future textbook for students could be written, is called The Modern History of Russia, 1945-2006. Only one of the authors is a professional historian. The book calls Joseph Stalin a "contradictory" figure, and states that while some people consider him evil, others recognise him as a "hero" for his role in the Great Patriotic War (the Second World War) and his territorial expansion.
I can imagine what the other 'author' really is if not a professional historian. How can you have good feelings about your history if you dwell in the "unpleasantness" of it? I'm sure it is the job of the other 'author' to ensure that's no longer a problem for students.
Officially, little attention has been paid to the darker aspects of Russia's Soviet past, such as the Stalinist purges or the deportation in appalling conditions of 3 million of its own citizens during the Second World War, with the focus instead on the strength of Stalin's Soviet Union and the victory over Germany.
Scant if any mention of the holocaust and little if any focus on the gulags. The "Great Purge"? Phaaa ... its all so negative, and besides, says Putin, other countries have done as bad if not worse:
Mr. Putin said that while 1937 shouldn't be forgotten, other countries had behaved far worse, making references to Hiroshima and the Vietnam War. "We should not allow anyone else to make us feel guilty. Let them think about themselves," he said.
Of course, Vlad, or should I call you Pooty-Poot? What others have done, right or wrong, certainly justifies you sanitizing the history of the monstrosity that was the USSR, doesn't it?
Vladislav Golovanov, a history teacher from Yakutsk in Siberia, told Putin at the meeting that Russia's history should help the country to be unified. The state should return to the teaching of history, he said, and ensure that it is used to instil a sense of patriotism and pride. "Our history should not be about self-flagellation."
Of course not, that's only de rigeur in leftist academia in the US.
Does anyone just teach the facts of history as they occurred anymore and let the students make up their own mind about the significance? Or is it now accepted that teaching history must support an agenda or ideology as well?
UPDATE: Lance at A Second Hand Conjecture brings us up to date on some other rather bizarre goings on in Russia.
Doesn’t much matter. Between, the lowest birth rate of any large nation, a basket case economy, the worse alcoholism of any nation, and a legacy of extreme environmental degradation. I do not see how Russia can possibly last much longer as a distinct historic entity. The crack up will come soon.