Saturday, June 30, 2012

Russia--- rewriting its history---'Positive History.'

How convenient! If you don’t like your history---well---- just rewrite it and call it ‘positive history.’ Whilst Russia is not alone in doing this, it is the country that stands out at the moment. It is of course driven by the ebullient Putin. He has heavily unfenced the rewriting of Rosina History to put a better light on the past. Why would historians, he argues want to dwell on past indiscretions and encourage a national psyche that finds the mistakes of the past depressing?
So what do he and his cohorts do?---they take a figure like Stalin and ‘re-present’ him in light that is more like the one that existed in his very time---not as bad of course, but one that presents him as a defender of Mother Russia. That is not without some truths---many would say that you can’t make an omelette (he did?) without breaking an egg. He is referring to the need to drag Russia out of a nonindustrial past to one that is industrial and strong enough to defeat the Nazi invasion. Of course, Green (Author of Animal Farm et al) asked—‘where’s the omelette?’
Now, if one went into a Russian school, they would find history books that semi-sanitise the role of Stalin and various other aspects of Russian History. Gone or going are the texts that emerged after the fall of the Iron Curtain---ones that more accurately reflected Russian History. You could say that there was a Russian Spring for a while, but then the spectre of Russian History re-emerged and the State took control of the views and teachings in Russian schools.
I must not be too harsh when I describe these events. Nothing is as it seems in Russian History--- it all depends on who is telling it.
We in New Zealand have been guilty of white-washing our past when it comes to explaining the colonization of New Zealand. It is only recently (the last 30 or so years) that a more honest view of our history has been reflected in our classrooms, so one must not get to precious when pointing the finger at Russia.
The USA is similar to NZ just like most countries that have National Syllabuses that reflect a certain point of view. No-one is exempt from that.
However, I go back to Russia. It will be both interesting as possibly a bit sad to watch developments in Russia as it once gain follows the cult of the ‘strong leader.’ Is that their future--- reinventing the past?