Staunton, April 16 – Russians are taught in school about the “triumphant” march of their ancestors through Siberia and “the voluntary joining” of the peoples of that region to Russia, Dmitry Levchik says. But neither of these stories are true; and in related cases where Russian failures can’t be hidden, the textbooks pass over in silence.
The Russian historian and political scientist says that one of the most interesting aspects of the Russian advance to the east were “the defeats of the Russians.” And such defeats, he continues, were frequent, although few besides professional historians know about them (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=625AB0FE67FCA).
Levchik talks about four of them – the supposed military defeat of the Siberian khanate, the first and second campaigns to include the lands of the Chukchi within the Russian Empire, and the utter failure of an effort to annex the Hawaiian islands, a failure so humiliating that even Russian textbooks to this day don’t mention it.
His method in this article is simple but compelling: he quotes what Russian school texts say or in the last case don’t say and then provides details on how far from the truth the official version of the past is. At a time when Russia is fighting yet another colonial war and lying about what is going on in Ukraine, remembering these losses and these stories is important.