The teaching of history in Putin's Russia



During the period since the collapse of the USSR, a number of different history books have appeared in Russia. The book under review was published in Moscow in 2007 and appears to be the first textbook officially endorsed by the authorities. It has stirred up considerable controversy in Russia where liberals have portrayed it as an uncritical eulogy of President Putin and an attempt to gloss over Stalin's record. However, despite its sometimes polemical tone, the book is more nuanced. It is not pro-Soviet, but is decidedly anti-western; and claims to provide a new version of Cold War history and of Soviet collapse. It deserves study even by those who reject its arguments, because it throws further light on the emergence of nationalism as a political force in Russia.