As Russian highschool college students returned to lessons after the summer time break on Friday, they had been anticipated to obtain a closely revised historical past textbook that claims that Ukraine is an “ultranationalist state” the place “opposition is forbidden,” and that the USA is “the primary beneficiary of the Ukrainian battle.”
The rewritten model of “The Historical past of Russia, 1945 to the start of the twenty first Century,” a textbook for 16- and 17-year-old college students, was first unveiled firstly of August. The guide follows a singular and standardized model of historical past permitted by the very best echelons of energy in Russia, and it seems to be the most recent push within the Kremlin’s youth-targeted propaganda marketing campaign to justify its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The textual content devotes 28 pages to Russia’s battle in Ukraine, which the authors body as a response to an more and more aggressive West that supposed to make use of Ukraine as a “battering ram” to destroy Russia. Revised historical past textbooks for youthful college students will probably be launched subsequent yr, based on a report from RIA Novosti, a Russian state media outlet.
One of many guide’s authors, Vladimir Medinsky, is a former tradition minister and an adviser to President Vladimir V. Putin. Echoing Mr. Putin’s personal phrases, the authors accused the USA of spreading what they name “Russophobia” in former Soviet republics and of escalating the battle in Ukraine, leaving Russia with “no different alternate options” than to name for a partial mobilization that aimed to press 300,000 males into service within the battle in 2022.
The revised historical past textual content is just one of a number of methods the battle effort has affected fundamental eduction. The Ministries of Schooling and Protection has mentioned that, beginning in 2024, highschool college students will probably be required to take a category referred to as “The Fundamentals of Protection and Protection of the Homeland,” which is able to embody restricted army coaching. Boys will research drill formation, drone utilization and the ins and outs of Kalashnikov rifles, whereas women will probably be instructed in battlefield first support.
Critics have referred to as the brand new textbooks an entire falsification. “As an alternative of historical past, they’re educating propaganda in colleges,” Anton Orekh, an unbiased Russian journalist, wrote on the messaging app Telegram.
One instance of the omissions within the textbook is its therapy of gulags, the infamous labor camps the place the dictator Joseph Stalin despatched numerous political prisoners and the place tens of millions of Russians died between 1929 and 1953. They’re talked about as an apart, with no particulars about their brutality.
Mikhail Myagkov, the director of the Russian Navy Historic Society, praised the brand new academic supplies for offering a extra “goal” view of Mr. Stalin, whose insurance policies led to a famine that killed an estimated 3 to 4 million folks in Ukraine. The up to date textbooks current Mr. Stalin as somebody who “clearly defended the Soviet Union’s international coverage pursuits,” Mr. Myagkov mentioned.
“Not a phrase of reality,” Lyubov Sobol, an exiled opposition determine allied with the jailed dissident Aleksei Navalny, wrote on social media.