Russia Still Moves Backwards 148

Putin’s Russia continues to move smartly in the wrong direction. Interesting article in the Guardian here:

Russia’s ruling political party is gathering academics to draw up a uniform textbook presenting a party-approved version of Russian history and seeking to downplay the horrors of the Soviet era.

“We understand that the school is a unique social institution that forms all citizens,” Irina Yarovaya, the deputy head of the Duma’s constitutional law committee, told a meeting of 20 party members and academics today.

“We need a united society. We need a united textbook.”

The move comes amid a mass ideological project, promoted by the United Russia party, seeking to build a national identity on the glories of its second world war victory, turning a blind eye to some of the crimes committed in the Soviet Union

That is of course the Great Patriotic War that only started in 1941. It is already the case that the Stalin/Hitler pact and invasion of Poland in 1939 are not taught in Russian schools.

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148 thoughts on “Russia Still Moves Backwards

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  • Clark


    it is a subtle form of trolling that you repeatedly indulge in, and I wish that you wouldn’t. It demeans you and wastes time.

    Regarding your post of June 21, 2010 11:00 PM, where you finally get around to making your actual point rather than merely inciting argument, has it not occurred to you that human evolution (biological, social, technological and spiritual) is an ongoing process, and maybe, just maybe, enough progress has recently been made to avert a futile fight over diminishing resources, and that enough ordinary humans will see that their best options for their future can be secured by simply ignoring the ‘elites’ and cooperating with each other?

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Clark ( let’s give ‘ol Alfred a good one)

    @ Alfred,

    Judge: You are charged with support of colonialism, imperialism and the concomitant exploitation that goes along with same.

    Alfred: Well belligerence is as old as the Bible itself ?” didn’t Cain kill Able, so what’s wrong if Britain did it?

    Judge: Are you saying that two wrongs make right? Because someone else did something exploitative or inhumane, are you positing that as justification for British colonialism and imperialism?

    Alfred: Oh no, I am just saying that I know that we are a Christian nation, are truly humane, and the way we used our force was so much more humane, regardless of how we acted ?” we simply are. As I said, “There is no force in the world but force… ”

    Judge: Are you seriously arguing that the only way for humankind is force, wars, and belligerence? Well?

    Alfred: Duh… huh… . We are British and better than all the others who ever used force! Well, what is remarkable about British Imperialism is that although it was often brutal, it was not always so.

    Judge: And so by your logic I am to assume some form of exceptionalism here, in that for all the others who used force, they too did not always act brutally? Well…

    Alfred: Duh… .huh.

    Judge: Guilty as charged – next case.

    Guess you are just the UK equivalent of the tea baggers in the US, and you like your old cuppa too don’t you Alfred ?” even if it comes from India… huh?

  • Clark

    Courtenay Barnett,

    ol’ Alfred’s really not that bad. He just makes out that he supports the BNP, winds everyone up for a dozen or so comments, and then reveals that really he’s asking why the BNP advertise some of the policies that other parties should be offering. Or he poses as a racist, winds everyone up for however many comments, and then points out that he isn’t racist in such a clever manner that I couldn’t work out what he’d said. Look at his latest: “The British Empire was good! Yes it was! It really was quite good! No what I mean is that it wasn’t as bad as some arbitrary alternative. Look, would you like to be killed, or would you rather kill someone else?”

  • Roderick Russell

    Gentlemen – Just to bring my contribution to this topic to a close, may I say that I have mixed feelings about the Empire. My view is that that Britain would have been better off had we concentrated on developing our manufacturing sector rather than trying to run the world, and had we kept our capital at home rather than exporting it abroad, The problem with Empire for Britain is that once a colony showed signs of becoming profitable it went independent. Yes, there were those in the UK who profited greatly from Empire, but I doubt that the average British citizen got much out of it at all, except wars and taxes.

    But Courtenay I think you are being a little unfair to me. Did I not say that by enlarge I thought the Empire unfair (as well as unprofitable)? It encouraged racism and was ridden with class issues (still the British disease today); two very foolish and inefficient ways to run anything? Imperial rule operated on the “who you know” not “what you know” principle, so it didn’t need universities anyway. Yes, Havana (the oldest European city in the Americas) is quite magnificent and well worth a visit.

  • Anonymous

    Re: trolling

    If you look at Suhayl’s comments that prompted mine you will see that he accuses me, entirely without justification that I can understand, of engaging in “a little bit of race theory”. He then calls me a “racialist.”

    I am quite sincere in rejecting both claims. And I do think it silly to accuse someone of being a British racist when it is also asserted that there is no such thing as race and certainly not a British race.

    As for my comment in response to super390, his tone was offensive and his comments wild. He calls me bastard and sneers at my being a Christian, although there is no justification for calling me either.

    The idea of ordinary people ignoring the elites and settling international differences in a fair and reasonable way is appealing but naive. The elite have means, like guns, tear gas, Homeland Security detention centers, assassination units, and tanks to ensure that ordinary people have no role in determining the affairs of state. If it were otherwise, WW1 would have ended on Christmas day with German and British soldiers singing carols together and playing football.

    No doubt people here would like to see a better world; a fairer world, a world in which justice trumps wealth and power. Hence the readiness to admit Britain’s alleged past sins. Or at any rate the readiness to accuse me and other realists of past sins or of approving past sins. However, I fear that like the pacifism so fervently promoted in Britain and France in the aftermath of WW1, such attitudes will be understood as signs of Western decay and feebleness, and thus make future conflict all the more certain.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Alfred, people do remember your comments on previous posts. I did not call you a ‘racialist’. I said that one might term some of the ideas which you had put forward (on other threads) as ‘racialist’. I am really pleased that you now appear to accept that “there is no such thing as a British race”. I was suggesting that perhaps some of your arguments re. the British Empire arose from these premises. I accept that I may have been wrong on this particular point of linkage and that you were simply arguing from a fresh perspective on this thread.

    I accept your comments about all empires being polyvalent and in fact I made the point earlier that rule by the Japanese empire would not have been good for India. It’s unfortunate that Indians had to choose between two imperial rulers at that point. There is no question that French, Belgian, Dutch Empires were consistently and systemically more brutal than the British Empire – we’re talking in relative terms here, of course. Britain ought to have granted independence to India in the early 1920s, after WW1. But it was the jewel in the Crown.

    Anyway, as Roderick says, I do think we’ve expended this discourse and thanks for engaging in it.

    Thanks, Roderick, for your nuanced and measured views which prudently also encompass social class analysis.

    Courtney, good on you – keep on pushing!

    Richard, I do see you as a pirate, with, of course, one of the pirate-flutes. Bluebeard, possibly… (!) He had more fun.

    And avatar, thanks for introducing the subject in a suitably explosive manner from out of a discourse on the Russian ‘Empire’.

  • Clark


    please don’t be too upset; I did write “*subtle* trolling”, mainly for want of a more appropriate linguistic label. I see that you’ve made more references to past conflicts. Remember that human action over time is showing a tendency to become more moral, empathic and inclusive. You have rightly criticised ‘globalisation’, but it has this positive aspect too, as people discover how much they have in common; this web site is a fine example, with contributions from all over the world. Look for evolution in action; there is more to it than the slow sifting and mutation of the genes. The Internet has introduced something new. It may prove to be the physical substrate of an emerging global consciousness.

  • Richard Robinson

    Suhayl – the Captain Pugwash tune is a well-known session favourite. Killing people & nicking their stuff, not so much.

    How about International Talk Like A Human Day ?

  • Alfred

    Fuck off Suhayl.

    You expound a farrago of anti-British historical rubbish and then, when I refute it, you call me a racialist. Now you allege that I deny the existence of the British race.

    Craig Murray’s hate the English web site with its bodyguard of fanatics is a strange and futile place indeed.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thank you, Alfred.

    Are these your true colours, I wonder? Scratch away the veneer and what lies underneath?

    You seem to want everyone to simply salute and fly the flag, fanatically, one might say, unquestioningly. Sorry, that’s not going to happen. If you can’t take criticism of your views, perhaps you ought to avoid dishing it out.

    I think I’ve made very clear my view that the British Empire had good and bad points, that the impact of imperialism is polyvalent. Yes, I am against imperialism in general.

    For that, and for reminding you of some views you expounded recently on other threads, I am addressed by you as though you were a spam ad for tumescence.

    It reflects on you, Alfred. I am sorry that you have resorted to this kind of thing. There’s no need.

  • Richard Robinson

    “a spam ad for tumescence”

    Good grief, Suhayl, you *read* them ?

  • Richard Robinson

    “Ahrrr, Bluebeard, me hearty”

    Eeeek ! He’s stereotyping me ! I’m a _northern_ English pirate bastard, tha knows. (How do they talk ? I’ve no idea, I’ve not heard the stereotypes. Boom boo… I’ll get me coat).

    Blackbeard ?? Bluebeard was a different style of bastard, and a fictional French landlubber to boot.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    I know, but Blackbeard didn’t get the wenches like Bluebeard did. So I’ve launched Bluebeard, with a bottle of rum and a yo-ho-ho, in a man ‘o’ war, see? The lusty pirate ship. Don’t forget the flute and the tunes!

    Then there were several Redbeards.

    But there wasn’t a Yellowbeard. There was a Yellowman, but he was a reggae singer.

    What was it about beards?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    In any case, me hearty, you’re a Lancastrian – pah! And don’t give me talk about the Wars of the Roses. Richard III got a bad name. That bard, William Somethingorother… Tudor propaganda!

  • avatar singh

    I thought only the enlgish (not all ofcourse)were from Neaanderthalls-seeing from their behaviour not from genses.!

    Interesting article -if out of topic -sorry. that explains many nanderthalls attributes in so called humans.

    Evidence for interbreeding with Neanderthals, only Africans pure

    By R. C. Camphausen.


    Leipzig – An international team of scientists have successfully sequenced the Neanderthal genome, and the evidence shows that humans in Europe, Asia and Papua New Guinea carry Neanderthal genes – while African peoples are 100 percent human.

    An international team led by scientists from the respected Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig have successfully sequenced 65 percent of the Neanderthal genome. It is the first time that the genetic code of an extinct human relative has been decoded, and the present announcement cam after 4 years of diligent study.

  • Richard Robinson

    I don’t think many of them actually had anything much to do with Lancaster. Accordingto the local museum, John of Gaunt only ever came here once, for 2 or 3 days. Anyway, he was French …

    Whitebeard, me. Living on the last of a pile of empirical Loot and muttering Vile Imprecations and Unspeakable Oaths against Scurvy Dogs and Whippersnappers.

    Rum, did you say ? Now you’re talking.

    “Hand me down my telescope, and a bullet I can chew,

    I’ll be walking down the streets of Paradise …”

    Oh, and there are whistles with finger holes found buried in Neanderthal graves. They got a bad press, me hearties, bloody human stitchup …

  • Syd Walker

    I notice that Britain, reeling from the ferocity of unprecedented budget cuts, can still find funds for the really important things in life: see ‘UK government appoints first-ever envoy for Holocaust-related issues’ at

    For a moment, I thought the old country might really be broke. What a relief! A nation that can afford ambassadors to history clearly has money to spare.

  • stephen

    It is just not universally true that Russian schools don’t teach about the Hitler/Stalin pact of the invasion of Poland some do. The real problem about all teaching in Russia is that it is very patchy – teachers, textbooks, buildings and other resources still vary widely from place to place. Private/semi private schools are now pretty common in Moscow and other big cities.

    Reverting to a standard history text may not be an entirely bad thing

    We should always be vary wary of black/white views about anything to do with Russia – there is increasing interest in the general public in the work of organisations that look at what happened in the Stalin years and Putin’s stance isn’t always pro-stalinist e.g recognition of Katyn/showing of the film. Still a riddle wrapped in an enigma or was it the other way around.

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