Russian textbooks to expose 'falsifications of history'
Russia commissions new school textbooks that condemn 'falsifications of history'.
MOSCOW - Russia has commissioned new school textbooks that condemn "falsifications of history" and paint the Soviet Union in a more positive light in a bid to boost patriotism among the young.
The education and science ministry this month posted a call for new teaching materials for senior classes "on the problem of the falsification of history," according to the Zakupki official tender website.
New textbooks should be aimed at "creating a positive image of contemporary Russia in the world and among Russians themselves," the ministry said.
"Falsification of history" is one of the buzz words of the Russian leadership, referring to revisionist or more Western-oriented interpretations of the role of the Soviet Union, particularly in World War II.
While the Soviet Union's sense of identity revolved around victory in World War II, Russia is particularly sensitive about the postwar role of the Soviet Union in the Baltic States, which consider it to have been an occupier.
In 2009, then president Dmitry Medvedev warned "we are more often encountering what is is now called historical falsifications," saying they were becoming "more and more harsh, angry and aggressive."
"We must not allow anyone to put in doubt the feat of our people," he said. The education and science ministry said that "falsification of history is becoming one of the means of political struggle".
Such views are leading to "young people's lack of understanding of modern Russian history and opposition to the policies of the country's leadership to the detriment of Russia's interests," it said.
The budget for the teaching materials is over 9 million rubles ($293,000), with the deadline for entries in early June. Some historians agreed new textbooks were needed.
"If children learn that this is part of the world around us and learn to recognise falsifications, I can only see this as a good thing," Vladmir Kolotov of the Saint Petersburg State University told Izvestia daily.
But Ilya Usov of the Higher School of Economics warned in Izvestia against "an attempt to give a single right answer to the contradictory questions of Russian history".
"This could halt the development of history studies," he said.