Co-author of new history textbooks for grades 5-11, presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky answered questions RBC about published textbooks. Among other things, he responded to criticism of the chapter on the conflict in Ukraine, argued that “children are being prepared for war,” and told how the chapter on the deportation of peoples, which had attracted criticism in the North Caucasus, was rewritten.
“Do you consider the criticism of the textbook for the chapter on the conflict in Ukraine, based on the argument that children are being prepared for war, to be justified?” – they asked Mr. Medinsky. “Actually, I myself have always been a supporter of the “imperial” model of teaching history, which existed in our country before 1917,” the presidential aide said in his response.
“SVO is one of the central topics in the public space. Schoolchildren must understand what is happening and why it is happening, what the state’s position is on this matter. There is no other way. I’ll say more. This is not just the topic of today. What is happening now in Ukraine and Novorossiya has a long history. It is described: very briefly, but objectively,” added Mr. Medinsky.
“And believe me, preparing textbooks from the fifth to the ninth grade from the so-called. “Kievan Rus” – through the mythology of “Reunification of Ukraine with Russia” at the Pereyaslav Rada – the authors also cannot help but think about what is happening today. But only in this way – through an understanding of the continuity and inseparability of our history – can we understand the logic of the historical process,” he noted.
Speaking about the preparation of textbooks for grades 5-9, Mr. Medinsky said: “We are moving away from many years of cliches that made serious historians smile. For example, what kind of “reunification of Ukraine with Russia” can we talk about in the 17th century if there was no Ukraine at that time? Did Russian Orthodox people from the lands of the Zaporozhian Army swear allegiance to the Russian Tsar? There are other interesting changes, we’ll tell you when the work is completed.”
Regarding the rewriting of the paragraph on the deportation of peoples in the Soviet years, Mr. Medinsky said that “the authors did not resist” and “expanded the material about this tragedy”, having previously consulted with the leadership of several regions. When asked whether there was an error in this paragraph, Mr. Medinsky replied that it was not a matter of “erroneous interpretation” of historical facts, but that the new textbook attracted attention. “Previously, the same fragments in previous versions of textbooks did not attract any attention to themselves. It’s just that now everyone started reading the textbook – and then they noticed,” he said.
Among the critics of the textbook were public figures and politicians from the North Caucasus, who said that the paragraph about Stalin’s deportations of peoples followed immediately after the mention of “Vlasovites” and “Banderaites.” After criticism, the paragraph was rewritten. On November 10, Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov came to Chechnya on a visit, during which he read out changes in the textbook to the head of the republic, Ramzan Kadyrov.
A new unified textbook on world history and Russian history for grades 10-11 was presented on August 7, 2023. The co-author of the textbooks on the history of Russia was the rector of MGIMO, Anatoly Torkunov, and the scientific director of the Institute of General History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexander Chubaryan, on world history. Work on history textbooks for grades 5-9 continues; according to Vladimir Medinsky, the manuals should be ready by September 1, 2024.
What has changed in the history textbook – in the Kommersant certificate.