Thursday, April 21, 2022

Moscow Wants to End Eurocentric Approach to History and Thereby Downgrade Importance of Division of Powers, Aksyonov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 12 – The Russian ministry responsible for general education wants to change the way history is taught in Russian schools, shifting from a Eurocentric approach to one that will give more attention to “other continents – and especially Russia,” according to Academician Aleksandr Chubaryan, head of the Moscow Institute of General History.

            That means, Gennady Aksyonov of the Vavilov Institute of the History of Science and Technology says, that “for the second time in the last 30 years,” the Russian government is going to redo the way it teaches the logic of the historical process in the world (

            On the one hand, many will welcome this development as being congruent with changes in other countries where more attention is being devoted to cultures outside of Europe, cultures that merit attention not only by their own members but by the international community as a whole.

            But on the other hand, as Aksyonov makes clear in a Nezavisimaya gazeta article, this latest proposed change can have consequences as or even more profound than the shift a generation ago from the Marxist focus on class struggles that the Soviet rulers imposed to the civilizational approach that most countries had and that Russia has adopted.

            The Russian scholar suggests that turning away from a European centered approach will also mark a turning away from an appreciation of the way in which the late medieval clash between church and state and the rise of cities became the basis for the division of powers on which modern societies rest.

            Indeed, he suggests that this plan to end the Europe-centered approach to history instruction will only further delay an appreciation of that among Russians and push off even further into the future a time when Russia may overcome its hyper-centralist and authoritarian traditions, yet another example of the ways in which history affects the future.

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