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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  • NomadUK

    I assume that’s similar to the way in which history in British schools jumps straight from Henry VIII to the Blitz and sort of bypasses the Empire entirely?

  • Craig


    I don’t actually think that’s true. If I had a criticism it would be the opposite – excessive political correctness.

  • NomadUK

    I don’t know, Craig. My youngest son’s gone through primary and secondary school, is finishing up his first year of GCSEs, and I don’t think anywhere in there did he learn anything about the rise and fall of an empire that, for good and bad, forged the world we live in right now.

  • Ruth

    Are we taught in school exactly where the major decisions in UK government are made? For instance, there was no debate in Cabinet about going to war with Iraq, so are we to assume that this decision was made by Tony Blair alone? Just one man made this mammoth decision. I don’t think so.

    Instead of diverting our attention to other countries it is far more important to find our who really governs our country?

  • paul

    Might want to check out our “history” books before poking fun of the Russians.

  • Ruth

    No doubt our history books will state four Muslims were responsible for 7/7 and avoid the evidence that it was most probably a false flag operation conducted by our intelligence services to lend credence to aggressive wars and to hype up the terrorist threat to reduce our civil rights ready for the mass unrest when the economy starts to bite.

  • Dick the Prick

    Gadzooks, this thread’s gone a bit postal already. Fair enough complaining about how history is taught in schools, for that matter any subject when we’re churning out kids (even with degrees) who can’t communicate effectively, but we do have a free press and other than Justice Eady, an historically free publishing industry. As far as I know we can get access to all websites and search for any info we want.

    Airbrushing history is obviously a bit of a problem for every society, in that people forget or that there’s a lack of incentive and enthusiasm in the teaching profession, but i’d be inclined to think that Britain has always fostered a spirit of eccentricity which allows and even respects opinions and narratives which don’t usually gain academic acceptance.

  • Ed

    Are they planning to downplay the horrors of the post-Soviet era as well? Chechnya presumably will be dressed up as the war on terror and it accomplices, people like Anna Politkovskaya.

  • Anonymous

    Quite right Ruth, when and who will own up to the shooting at Canary Wharf on 7/7/05 seen by bank employees told not to look and prevented from leaving the building.

    Do you know anything? – contact me confidentially at [email protected]

  • Anonymous

    We should worry more about the lies and omissions in history lessons in our own schools.

    Omissions are more deadly than downright lies.

    Lies, at least, will possibly be challenged……unless there is a D-Notice on challenges to subject matter or on the mentioning of any other unmentionables.

    There are many such taboos in operation, itches that must no be scratched.

  • Paul J. Lewis

    Some one above mentioned Anna Politkovskaya. These might be of interest:

    Her book ‘A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya’ is worth reading. Going from memory – I read it some time ago – she recounts summary executions by Russian forces (including of patients in hospitals). Also, the imprisonment of a three year old child in, essentially, an oubliette (pit in the ground). There’s much more – these are just some bits that stuck in memory. She doesn’t ignore the actions of Chechen rebels either.

    Haven’t got round to reading ‘Putin’s Russia’ yet – probably ought to.

  • Blegburnduddoo

    Ruth said “are we to assume that this decision was made by Tony Blair alone? Just one man made this mammoth decision. I don’t think so.”

    I don’t think so either. The House of Commons debated the issue on 18 March 2003 and voted for war by 412 – 149.

    We mustn’t be guilty of re-writing history.

  • Ed

    To Paul J Lewis –

    Thanks for the links.

    Would highly recommend “Nothing but the Truth: Selected Dispatches” – an anthology of Politkovskaya’s work. Amazing journalism, as courageous at it gets.

    Two brief things to say about her here in response to some of the comments – (1) she was often very critical of Chechnya’s leaders; (2) she was at her best, in my view, in establishing that the Nord-Ost theatre massacre was facilitated by one of the Russian security/intelligence agencies.

    But as they say, read the whole thing.

  • Ian

    “It is already the case that the Stalin/Hitler pact and invasion of Poland in 1939 are not taught in Russian schools.”

    Or, I’m guessing, pre-war Soviet assistance to Nazi Germany in development of weapons and providing an out of sight place to train its armed forces.

  • Ruth


    True, the House of Commons debated the issue on 18 March 2003 and voted for war by 412 – 149. But surely Parliament wouldn’t have voted for war if they hadn’t been misled. The question is why did Blair have to lie to Parliament? On whose authority did he do this?

    The former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said, “I have no doubt whatsoever that if Mr Blair had told his Cabinet what he is now saying, he’d have found it very difficult to keep all of them – he did of course lose Robin Cook and eventually Clare Short.

    “But the one place he would have undoubtedly failed would have been in the House of Commons. He would not have obtained the endorsement of the House of Commons on 18 March 2003 if he had been as frank with the House of Commons then as he appears to be willing to be frank with the BBC now.”

  • sabretache

    I have a recommendation:

    Read ‘Conjouring Hitler’ by Professor Guido Giacomo Preparata. It is a seriously unsettling antidote to the ‘official narrative’ of the genesis, conduct and denoument of World War II which we are all so sedulously schooled in. A narrative that in near equal measure is sanctimonious, self-serving and false; not to mention well past its sell-by date.

    The Invasion of Poland and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact indeed turn out NOT to have been the pivotal events of fond, popular and simplistic imagining.

    There are 3 reviews and an afterword on my site for anyone interested – all linked from the front page ‘Latest Articles’.

    Preperata’s own site is also well worth a visit. As a bonus, it’s also a veritable work of art with some exquisite music on hand to boot.

    PS while I’m overstaying my welcome here (in-for-a-penny, in-for-a-pound as they say) I could do with some good editors/authors on WikiSpooks too. Volunteers most welcome.

  • avatar singh

    That gaurdian which was pimping for war criminal still at large tony bastard blair?

    the same gaurdian which was opimping for british attack n iraq anad afgansitan and most of the agenda to make another british empire now derailed by resitance by brave iraqi and afggan fighters?

    U.S. relations with Russia have been horrendously bad ever since Putin threw out the oligarchs and decided not to take dictation from either Washington or London.

    chamberlain in 1938 at Munich was several times heard saying_intercepted by the soviets-that “we shoudl make soviets and Germany fight amosnt each other till they are bloodied and then we british will get in Europe”


    “Modus operandi of british and american scumbags –Groom an opposition candidate to run against the guy you hate, pay him well and line up your media to back him.

    During the campaign, sell him as the savior of the bourgeois opposition who lost their money in the revolution. Use your own pollsters and media propaganda to convince his followers that they are going to win by a wide margin.

    When your guy loses, scream “FRAUD!” It’s akin to yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theatre, inflaming all those disappointed bourgeois counter-revolutionaries. Get them out on the street, setting fires, playing the victim, waving flags, ready-to-go placards, banners, women crying in front of CNN and BBC cameras and men yelling angrily ”

    Russia i=under medvedev is already looking like yeltsin style sell out to anglosaxon bastards. itis high time that the world says to the anglos acumbags-keep off my territory otehrwise you will ose your teritory.!

  • avatar singh

    World war =all two ere started by the british to wage war agasint Germany and Russia and ruin them.

    As America teetered on the brink of entering World War II, Charles A. Lindbergh gave a fateful speech that did more damage to the America First movement for peace than all the propagandistic efforts of the pro-war groups he named in Des Moines that day. In his oration, the great aviator and American hero sought to define who and what had brought us to the point of no return:

    “The three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war are the British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt administration.

    “Behind these groups, but of lesser importance, are a number of capitalists, Anglophiles, and intellectuals who believe that the future of mankind depends upon the domination of the British empire. Add to these the Communistic groups who were opposed to intervention until a few weeks ago, and I believe I have named the major war agitators in this country.”


    “During the months prior to his assassination, U.S. President John F. Kennedy had come to a solid agreement with U.S.A. General of the Armies Douglas MacArthur respecting the implications of a U.S.A./Indo-China conflict. The President and General MacArthur had agreed, that the U.S.A. should abhor any effort to conduct extended warfare within the continent of Asia; they, and those who shared this view, were able to block a Trans-Atlantic, Anglo-American oligarchical faction’s impulse for such warfare for as long as President Kennedy lived, but not much longer.

    The United States has never recovered, whether in physical economy, or in the morale of its citizens, from the effects of that long war of ten more years, then, a war through which the U.S.A. largely destroyed both its own economy and public morality as a result.

    The inception of that war-policy which President Kennedy had opposed, had already been set into motion on the day following the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The sweeping change, from President Franklin Roosevelt’s anti-imperialist policy, to the Churchill-directed, contrary policies of the U.S. under President Harry S Truman, was expressed as Truman’s support for Churchill’s defense of pre-war British, Dutch, and French imperialism, that against what had been the just-deceased Franklin Roosevelt’s intention to eliminate all territorial imperialisms as soon as the war had been won.

    The U.S. major warfare in Indo-China which was unleashed after the assassination of President Kennedy, became, in effect, the means employed for the British empire’s revenge against the United States, revenge for what London hated as President Franklin Roosevelt’s declared intention for the post-war period, his repeatedly stated commitment to bringing the existence of imperial systems such as the British quickly to an early end once the war had concluded.

    Those facts must remind us, that the nations of continental Europe, including Russia, have had repeated experiences of a similarly ruinous type of what the British slyly term “foreign relations” among nations, still, to the present date, as I note that fact here in the following terms.

    There had been the case of the long religious warfare in Europe during the A.D. 1492-1648 interval. There had been the so-called “Seven Years War,” whose concluding 1763 Peace of Paris saw the newly hatched British Empire of Lord Shelburne as triumphant over nearly all of those nations of continental Europe. Later came Napoleon Bonaparte’s imperial wars, which were, in effect, a new “Seven Years War,” in their turn, wars which strengthened that British Empire immensely, as had been done in the Peace of Paris earlier, thus, once more at the expense of the nations of a duped continental Europe.

    So, later, Germany’s then-ousted Chancellor Bismarck had warned, insightfully, that the British monarchy’s plans for what would become the general war in Europe and Asia of the 1895-1917 interval, would be “a new Seven Years War.” Later, the great war of 1939-1945, had been launched with initial British backing of the Adolf Hitler regime. Virtually at the moment of the cessation of that war, Britain’s Winston Churchill, and his admirer and accomplice President Harry S Truman joined an evil Bertrand Russell in launching what came to be called a 1946-1989 “Cold War”; that was, at that time, a more recent illustration of the same kind of strategic folly of “long wars” in the tradition of the “new Seven Years War” to which the ousted Chancellor Bismarck had referred. Today, the long warfare which is presently centered in the poppy fields of Afghanistan, has been another such case of the follies of the often half-witting powers of the post-World War II modern world

  • [email protected]

    war monger state england the real criminal state.

    How did England started the w.w.2. It happened like this. Though admirer of Hitler and his despicable views, England got worried of German might. (England always has inferiority complex versus Germans).England made a secret pact with Germany that it was all right for Germany to attack East And later Russia. England will in public make a few sound-bites but inside it will fully support Hitler and his nasty aims. England may offer token resistance for public consumption. Hitler believed it. He should have known better. In fact what Hitler described in

  • Richard Robinson


    Would this be a good time to recommend the ‘preview’ button ? Or learning from other peoples’ mistakes ?

    No. Too late.

    Posting links would be a great improvement, if only it didn’t cause posts to disappear into “moderation”, never to be seen again.

    Sorry if this sounds a bit sour, I just wish meaningful conversation wasn’t so easy to make difficult (even if inadvertently).

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Nothing like the anti-Semitic revisionism of the comments at Craig Murray’s website to get me going in the morning! Thanks Avatar Singh!

    (I’m still in the Seattle area, btw. That still does not mean that I’ve moved to the Seattle area).

  • Ishmael

    They don’t appear to be moving in the right direction. That Larry bloke sounds like a cock.

  • Abe Rene

    Craig, you are a qualified historian. Why not write a history of Russia better than the others? You might be invited to lecture at the Foreign Office or Harvard on the modern history of the ex-Soviet Islamic republics relevant to diplomats, and have even more money and influence as a special advisor, than you did as an ambassador (no harm dreaming).

  • somebody

    Off topic but the flotilla posts are now way back here.

    This is about the yellow belly of the FCO and in particular the one of Alistair Burt, the ME Minister and a good member of the CFoI. Shame on him and Hague. We have heard from the passengers that the British consular people hardly lifted a finger in Ashdod and at the prison in Beersheva.

    British Flotilla activists meet FCO Minister Alistair Burt and are frustrated with the outcome

    17 June 2010

    Thirteen British peace activists from the Gaza flotilla met with Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt MP, at 11am today. The meeting was the first between the FCO and the group of activists, taking place almost two weeks after most activists returned to the UK following their ordeal.

    Others present at the meeting, which lasted 1 hour 10 minutes, included representatives from the Consular Directorates and FCO staff. ……

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Avatar, there certainly are areas of the history of the British Empire about which it would do well for people in Britain to be made aware. The situation vis a vis Germany and the USSR, etc. during the inter-war period is certainly one of them.

    However, if that’s what you are seeking to do, if I may suggest, you rather defeat the purpose by making derogatory comments on various peoples. You seem to be ascribing fixed personality and political characteristics to entire groups of people based not on what they might or might not have done but on their presumed genetic composition.

    Your understandable hatred of the British Empire ought not to blind you to rational analysis. It just plays into the hands of the defenders of imperialism.

    I know what you’re saying about people in the West critiquing Russia and that’s a valid argument. But my advice would be please don’t go spoiling it with emotional diatribes!

  • Richard Robinson

    When did the same war start, I wonder, for people who lived in China ?

  • nobody

    Dear oh dear Craig,

    As if we’re any different? I’m in the Pacific so why don’t I bring up the local bullshit? Says our textbooks: the Japanese started the war in the Pacific. This in spite of the fact that they’d been put under a total oil, coal, and steel embargo, which, were it done to us, would be viewed as an act of war.

    And sure, this was in response to their wickedness in Manchuria but they were only following the example set to them by the West who’d so rudely sailed their gunboats into Yokohama Bay a few decades earlier. Any roundeyes who want to pretend that the Japanese were somehow worse than the West who brutally occupied every single other country in Asia is an idiot. In fact they should pile in with their textbook-quoting arguments and prove my point for me.

    I think this single example says it all – see if any English history books contain even a mention of David Sassoon, the then richest man in the world and for whom the Opium Wars were fought. The mere fact that he has no entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (at all!) is enough to make whatever you want to say about the Russians look silly.

    And how about the Americans in the Philippines? As soon as the Spanish were defeated, the Americans went on to slaughter every male old enough to bear arms. Is that in any textbooks? Hollywood movies? Anywhere at all? No?

    The Russians have a loooooong way to go before they can even come close to our ability to utterly disappear our sins, sins which make those of our ‘enemies’ look half-arsed. And we do this not just from our textbooks but from every medium that exists – books, movies, TV, all of it.

    I swear to God – every single crime committed by our enemies, we in the West topped. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

    And you want to wag your fingers at the Russians? Well of course! What with us being so free of sin, ha ha ha ha.

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