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Textbook ‘reform’ in Russia

| March 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

The rewriting of school history textbooks is always a sensitive issue. In Russia, a new stateapproved instructional text will soon be introduced to schools. Exactly what messages will be sent to students has many academics worried. Says one,

“the authorities have been actively engaged in propagating their own concept of history and they’re ready to spend a huge amount of money to do it.”

Russian history is notoriously bloody and many issues have never been resolved through national public debate. Scores of elderly Russians still idolise Stalin, for example, although he is considered a butcher elsewhere. And President Putin is known for his public statements in support of both the Soviet era, the Russian Orthodox Church and Tsarist nostalgia.

Russia’s multi-ethnic population complicates matters still further, as each cultural group has their own interpretation of history.

Although the authors of the textbook say they’re striving to find “the most common point of view”, the proposed introduction of the book already has many critics concerned: “One cannot gloss over the tragedies, but it is necessary to emphasise that Russians and other people of our country found the strength to overcome… the hardships that befell them,” it reads.

Category: Autumn 2014

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