A Do-Over for Russian History?





A new manual for Russia's history teachers succinctly distills President Vladimir Putin's drive to rekindle patriotism, retelling events of the past six decades according to the Kremlin's preferred storyline: Russia is a great power that shouldn't be ashamed of its past.

Backed by support from the president himself, the book, which rails against U.S. hegemony, is raising fears among some historians that the Kremlin is -- quite literally -- trying to rewrite history in a way that risks breeding ultranationalism and whitewashing the darkest chapters of Russia's past.

Mr. Putin gave the manual a presidential boost last month, inviting its author along with a number of historians and teachers to his residence to talk history. Though he said students should be allowed to draw their own conclusions, he made clear that events should be portrayed in a way that fuels national pride.

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