Putin’s History Books

The Washington Post has a depressing account of how the Putin administration is bringing his cult of personality and campaign of misinformation to Russia’s children. The old joke about the USSR, that it was a “country with an uncertain past” can now be revived. We believe in a strong Russia, but not an isolated, xenophobic, antagonistic Russia that attempts to brainwash our citizens and whitewash our history.

With two new manuals for high school history and social studies teachers, written in part by Kremlin political consultants, Russian authorities are attempting to imbue classroom debate with a nationalist outlook.

The history guide contains a laudatory review of President Vladimir Putin’s years in power. “We see that practically every significant deed is connected with the name and activity of President V.V. Putin,” declares its last chapter. The social studies guide is marked by intense hostility to the United States. . . .

But the United States may be near “final collapse,” according to the manual, because “America can no longer integrate into a single unit or unite into a nation of ‘whites,’ ‘blacks,’ (they are called African-Americans in the language of political correctness) ‘Latinos’ (Latin Americans) and others.” . . .

To historian Nikita Sokolov, the manual is so equivocal on Stalin’s terror that “his crimes are being taken into the shadows.”

“A very dangerous thing is happening,” said Sokolov, co-author of the book “Choosing Your Own History.” They want to take us back to unified thinking. The president and the presidential administration believe we lack the national self-confidence to confront and debate the past.”

We can only wish that the Putin regime would spend its efforts on improving the future of our country instead of trying to alter its past. Rehabilitating Stalin to make Putin’s authoritarian rule look more palatable is reprehensible. Using our nation’s textbooks as just another propaganda tool is another illustration of how Russia’s system of education is being dismantled along with the rest of the country. We await Putin-friendly physics and mathematics books.