View Full Version : D.Medvedev: we shouldn't let them to rewrite the history

05-29-2009, 07:50 AM

Commission to Guard Against False History
20 May 2009
By Nabi Abdullaev / The Moscow Times
President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the creation of a new commission tasked with countering attempts to rewrite history to the detriment of Russia's interests, the Kremlin said Tuesday.

The presidential decree establishing the commission follows a May 8 video address posted on Medvedev's web site in which the president complained that attempts to falsify history were becoming "increasingly harsh, depraved and aggressive."

The initiative appears to be part of a Kremlin drive to defend its vision of the country's 20th-century history.

The Kremlin has bristled at Ukraine's efforts to get the Stalin-era Holodomor famine to be declared as genocide and the Baltic states' anti-Soviet positions on World War II.

At the same time, Russian historians have repeatedly accused the Kremlin of trying to whitewash Soviet history in school textbooks and elsewhere.

Medvedev's chief of staff, Sergei Naryshkin, is to head the 28-member commission, which is charged with collecting and analyzing information about attempts to diminish Russia's prestige by falsifying history, according to the decree signed by Medvedev last week and published Tuesday.

The commission, which is to meet at least twice annually, is also to coordinate the government's efforts to combat such falsifications, the decree says.

In his May 8 video address on the eve of the Victory Day holiday celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, Medvedev said Russians find themselves "in a situation in which we have to defend the historical truth and once again prove facts that not so long ago seemed most clear.

"It is difficult and sometimes even creepy. But it is necessary to do," he said.

Members of the new commission include senior officials -- primarily deputy ministers and security service officials -- historians, Kremlin spin doctors and State Duma deputies.

Alexei Makarkin, a political analyst with the Center for Political Technologies, welcomed the initiative, saying it could help the state formulate a coherent policy toward Soviet history and lead to the opening of archives for researchers.

Should Russia's historical archives -- many of which are maintained by the military and the secret services -- remain closed, the entire campaign would degenerate into a "defense of the historical myth about Russia in the interests of the country's rulers," said Dmitry Oreshkin, an analyst with the Mercator think tank.

The creation of the new commission comes on the heels of a bill submitted to the Duma by a group of deputies from the ruling United Russia party that would criminalize attempts to rehabilitate Nazism in former Soviet republics.

Under the bill, which is likely to sail easily through both houses of the parliament, Russian and foreign citizens could be sent to prison for up to three years for accusing the Red Army of atrocities or illegal occupation during World War II, an allegation commonly lodged in the Baltic countries.

If such accusations are made by an official or disseminated in the media, the crime would be punishable by up to five years in prison, according to the legislation.

The bill, spearheaded by Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu, also calls for severing ties with countries that officially revise the history of World War II and barring the leaders of such countries from entering Russia

It seems the Russian authorities wanna to introduce the special means and laws, against some sort of revisionists.
The so called "pro-russian view on history" now will be the official supported and shared by the state.
It's looks like the returning to USSR, but Russian official have to do something, when Russian WW2 vet are under pressure and crime punishment in some of former states of USSR ( Baltic states and Ukraine).
For the while , it's hard to say what exacly the commission has been created for - the state controll itself can't improve the situation with Russin vets. However the experts hope it will not be the new Censorship.

Rising Sun*
05-29-2009, 09:43 AM
There's plenty of scope for questioning the motives for this Russian history commission, which seems to be drifting towards the Japanese approach of whitewashing its war history so that the government and nation don't have to confront unpleasant aspects of their past, such as for the Soviets and now Russia the carving up and betrayal of Poland and related outrages such as the Katyn abomination.

However, the Western approach to their nations' war histories, while ostensibly free of such overt government control and distortion, might not be much better.

Under-informed amateur, and many less justifiably ill-informed professional, historians are fond of quoting 'official histories' as the last word on any issue, as if 'official histories' are the inevitable and indisputable result of careful, dispassionate and unerringly accurate analysis by teams of government historians with full knowledge of every relevant aspect.

The reality is that Australian and the like, including British, ‘official histories’ are not the official government version of events but just the histories as interpreted by independent official historians granted access to official documents not accessible to any other historians.

Official histories are "official" in the sense they are commissioned by government as the national record of Australia’s involvement in particular conflicts. The official historians are granted unrestricted access to closed period and security classified government records. The Australian official war histories contain the authors' own interpretations and judgements and do not follow any official or government line.

The works are the first published official record of Australia’s involvement in war. They are a detailed, chronological record of all services and theatres of conflict. They comprise an invaluable resource for researchers at all levels, from the scholar to the general reader. The official war histories are our enduring national record providing a comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible account of the Australian experience of war. http://www.awm.gov.au/histories/

'Official histories' may not even be written by trained historians, as was the case with Australia's WWI official history which was written and edited by a lawyer become war correspondent with a particular pre-war view of Australia which is reflected in his official history http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-heroes/bean.htm and in Australians' emerging view of themselves at the time and since.

Such 'official histories' are as independent of government as are, say, the decisions of an appellate court whose judges were carefully selected by the ruling party to reflect its views, as commonly happens in English speaking democracies which like to delude themselves that the judiciary is independent of government and impartial.

As the governments appoint the official historians the governments aren’t likely to appoint historians who will reflect badly on that government or the nation, any more than they appoint appellate judges likely to oppose the government which appointed them.

There are countless instances of war crimes by Australian troops during WWII against Japan in many personal memoirs, diaries and other documents I have read, and a few personal confidences. You won’t find any of them in the Australian official war history of that conflict, not least because those histories are based on offical documents, from after action reports upwards.

No commander from platoon upwards is likely to file a report saying “We marched half a dozen captured and disarmed Japs into the bush and bayoneted the bastards to death in retaliation for them – well, at least, their side even if it wasn’t them – doing the same to our troops.”

The number and scale of Pacific Australian, and American, war crimes was vastly less than those perpetrated by Japan in the Pacific war and immeasurably less than those perpetrated and experienced by any of the several sides in Eastern Europe, but they are generally as invisible in Australian official war histories as they are in Japan’s version of its war and as they are likely to be in Russia’s latest commission.

It’s all just another aspect of victor’s justice, where the winner conveniently gets to ignore its misdeeds while punishing those of its enemy.

06-01-2009, 12:41 AM
All it is true mate.
The any sort of commission can't really help us to learn the real histrocal events.
But we can't ignore the simple fact that some political forces use the list of SOviet/Allied crimes as justification of Axis.
We can't just watch on it, you know why.
LIke we, russians, can't look at Baltic states where today the Waffen SS vets in honor ( it's official policy of state), exaclty by the same reason , that you can't look at Japane state revisionism.
Though, i think the State historical comission can't improve the educational process of history via whitewashing our war history.

The Historian
12-06-2009, 08:44 PM
It’s all just another aspect of victor’s justice, where the winner conveniently gets to ignore its misdeeds while punishing those of its enemy.

Especially for "democracies" where we try to make ourselves look like saints and unable to commit horrible acts in hellish conditions

The disappearance of the death penalty in many instances over here I see as an indication of our "civilized" outlook on things...