The Telegraph reports that Putin has launched a new initiative to take control over the teaching of "history" in neo-Soviet Russia in order to protect Stalin the Great from the malicious lies of the West. He also claims that Stalin's murder of 20 million Russians is analagous to the U.S. war in Vietnam, where less than 100,000 Americans were killed, and the nuclear bombing of Japan, where no Americans were killed, as if Stalin had the same right to go to war against the people of Russia as America did to fight Japan or the North Vietnamese Communists, sponsored by the USSR. In other words, he's gone stark raving mad, himself a victim of the censored textbooks by which he learned the "history" of the world.
President Vladimir Putin has raised the prospect of a return to Soviet-style academic censorship after he accused the West of plotting to distort Russian history in an attempt to crush patriotic sentiment in schools. The Russian leader claimed that a generation of schoolchildren was learning a version of their past that had been deliberately skewed by historians in the pay of the West. "Many of our textbooks are written by people on foreign grants," Mr Putin told history and science teachers at a conference outside Moscow. "They are dancing a polka ordered by those who pay for it. This is undoubtedly an instrument for influencing our country."
In a warning that will send a chill through Russia's dwindling ranks of liberal academics, the president indicated that publishing houses that did not print more patriotic textbooks would face state censorship. "Publishing houses should become more responsible," he said. "The state should play a greater role in this respect." According to the president, Western historians have attempted to belittle the Soviet Union's role in World War II and exaggerate the negative aspects of Stalin's Great Terror in the 1930s, which saw millions of Russians die. He said Russia's past was much more benign and much less blood-soaked than that of the United States. "We have fewer such (dark) pages than do some countries, and they were less terrible than in some countries," he said. "We have never used nuclear weapons against civilians and we have never dumped chemical weapons on thousands of kilometres of land as was the case in Vietnam." Vladimir Ryzhkov, a historian and one of the last independent MPs in the Russian parliament, said that Kremlin hardliners were keen to revive Stalin's reputation in order to justify the country's increasingly autocratic path.'
A reader comments by e-mail:
COME ON! Repeat a lie often enough and you get people believing it. But, as I was saying the REALLY worrying thing is the censorship of history that Putin is proposing. Any one who tells the truth, or tries to find it out, is an agent of the West. Historians who come to Russia are suspect if they want to find out anything that doesn't glorify Russia. What else can you expect from a KGB man?