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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Vladimir Putin Doesn't Even Know His Own Country's History

In fact, last week was rather comical with its overblown holiday celebrations. When President Vladimir Putin met with a group of young people, he urged them to study history and, in particular, to take an interest in the origin of the word "Rus." This comment once again left Russian and foreign observers at a loss as to Putin's intentions. The point is that one of the most widespread versions of the word's origin is that Rus is the name of a Scandinavian tribe, and that the citizens of Novgorod called on the tribe's leaders to come and establish order in their city. The first tsarist dynasty of the Ruriks later emerged from this. Could Putin have intended this as a subtle way to communicate his sympathies toward the West, despite all of his anti-West rhetoric of late?
-- Alexei Pankin, writing in the Moscow Times


Artfldgr said...

with history changing from decade to decade, paged being torn out... etc.. how can anyone there know history correctly?

A lot end up angry and resentful when they leave and they start to read history that is correct from many angles and many states and such... and are on a dead footing when discusing history as all the 'incnvenient parts' have been left out... inventors are different, etc.

so its of little surprise that Putin doesnt know history... one would have to figure out WHICH history of which era he was taught in... then you can figure out what he knows (as i did a while back with another poster here since i knew the quotes they were using and when that was promoted)

Slavabez said...

Putin's comment makes perfect sense. It is intuitively obvious to the casual observer (if one knows anything about Russia). He knows his Russian history. There are several theories as to the origins of the word Rus', which is the root of the words russkiy, rus'skiy,Russia, Rossiya, etc. In any case, the important point is the meaning of the country/nation called Rus', or sometimes Kievskaya Rus'/Kievan Rus. Hrushevsky and Ukrainian Nationalists call(ed) it Rus'-Ukrayina. This is the 1000 year old entity comprising most of present day Belarus', Ukraine, and a large part of European Russia. So he definitely knows his history.

La Russophobe said...


We put it to you that NOBODY educated in Russia knows their "history" because their history books were written by the Soviets and their teachers were communists.

Putin ESPECIALLY doesn't know it, because he received most of his "education" from the KGB.

If Russia had the slightest idea of the real facts of its own history, Putin would never have been elected in the first place.

Artfldgr said...

Slavabez, do you realize you are following a standard script?

first claim that the thing is correct while diminishing the person that says it isnt.

*it makes perfect sense
*it is intuitively obvious to the casual observer

the second point is a dare that says "if you dont see what i SAY, then you are an idiot"...

the technique is taught in the west in fairy tales. "the emperors new clothes" is the tale. in this case no one wanted to take a chance and be called an idiot or such for saying what they ACTUALLY see.

then you assert again

*he knows his russian history

then launch into a intelligentsia type authoratative speil to add weight to the assertions and put down...

then after all that you then obfuscate that the facts are not actually important, whats important is some abstraction.. (but not stemming from the facts)

and then... you finally end up with another assertion.

thats a script.. after a while you see it so many times that you realize that the parrot cant tell that they are follwoing a script and not actually thinking through..

which is why la russophobe said what she said.

Anonymous said...

But then doesn't Putin's lack of knowledge of Russian history solidify the saying "those who do not know history are bound to repeat it?"

Slavabez said...

I was only referring to the comments about whether Putin knows his Russian history, and then only based on the comments about his statement about Rus'. I follow no script. I was not educated in the USSR, but rather in the good ol' US of A. Prestigious schools BTW. And I have been a student of Russian history my entire life. I was specifically referring to the concept of Rus', which is nothing remote or alien to anyone who has studied Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian history. We are talking basics here, folks. I was not putting anyone down, I was not making a commentary on the latest textbooks, I was not making a commentary on the quality or lack thereof of Putin's education. Also, I was not subliminally accusing anyone of being an idiot for disagreeing with me. I simply tried to look at the context of the statement by giving a brief commentary on the meaning of the word Rus', not etymologically, but based on the historical/ethno-cultural and geographical meaning of the word, which is what I think Putin was referring to. So please don’t put words in my mouth. Cool down and address the facts. I was not obfuscating the facts. Just the opposite. I was only asserting that, in my opinion, Putin was not referring to etymology, based on my own studies of both the etymology and the further meanings of the term Rus’. There is something called scholarly debate, BTW. I made an educated assertion which is definitely not an abstraction or based on some abstraction. I dare say that the term Rus’ is actually at the heart of a concept with very important and deep geopolitical implications.

Also, if “NOBODY educated in Russia knows their "history" because their history books were written by the Soviets and their teachers were communists….”, where does that leave great scholars like Likhachev, great scientists and human rights advocates like Sakharov, and great writers like Solzhenitsyn? This blanket statement is absurd, and insulting to all those who fought against the Soviet communists, including those who survived with their dignity and honor intact against seemingly insurmountable odds.

It’s very easy to spout off condemnational rhetoric and insults. It’s a lot harder to think, assess, and discuss a topic intelligently.