International

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Russia Revises Its History Books

March 06, 2008 12:45 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
President Putin’s administration has approved Russian history textbooks that laud Stalin. But historical revisionism is nothing new.

30-Second Summary

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It is often said that history is written by the victors. That privilege is now being exercised by outgoing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

His administration has approved a high school history teachers' manual that calls Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin Russia’s “most successful” leader. A PBS biography of Stalin describes him as "the man who turned the Soviet Union from a backward country into a world superpower at unimaginable human cost." Tens of millions died in Stalin's prison camps and through man-made famine.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that Vladimir Putin’s administration has called the book “the most accurate history text available.” 

Of course, this won't be the first time leaders have revised their national history.

In 2001, Asian nations condemned a controversial Japanese history text for “glossing over Japanese atrocities during World War II,” the BBC reported

And Chinese history textbooks got an overhaul in 2006, shedding the Marxist template that had dominated the Mao Zedong-influenced school texts since the 1950s.

Chinese Communism before 1979 is covered in one sentence, and the new textbook mentions Mao only once, according to The New York Times.

American science textbooks have also come under scrutiny as the battleground of an ongoing debate over whether intelligent design should be taught in U.S. schools.

Headline Link: ‘Putin Legacy: In the Classroom, a More Controlled View of History’

Background: President Medvedev and rewriting history

Related Topics: Evolution vs. Intelligent Design, Japan and China

Japan and China’s historical revisions

Reference: Correcting American history

Biography: Joseph Stalin (1879–1953)

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