Friday, September 29, 2023

Putin’s New History Textbook Sparks Outrage among Non-Russians, Deepening Divide between Them and Ethnic Russians

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Sept. 23 – The new history textbook Vladimir Putin ordered prepared to stress the unity of the peoples of the Russian Federation is having exactly the opposite effect, highlighting the differences between them and deepening the divide between those who have been the victims of Moscow’s policies and Russians Putin presents as the core of the country.

            Commentators and republic leaders across the North Caucasus whose nations had been deported by Stalin in the 1930s and 1940s were the most outraged. They called for the book not to be used until it is rewritten to remove what they consider to be Stalinist propaganda against them (,, / and

            One of the sharpest criticisms of the new Moscow textbook came from Ingush historian Ruslan Buzurtanov who described much of the work as “an absolute lie” which calls them bandits and traitors  and an unjustified attack on non-Russians in the Stalinist manner (

            “Ingush territory was not under occupation in contrast to neighboring Stavropol, North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachayevo-Cherkessia". We could in no way even had we wanted to betray our Motherland to anyone” as the text suggests, he wrote. And then he added two observations that strike at the Putin narrative of the Russian past:

            On the one hand, he says, “There were 1.5 million ethnic Russians in German units, in the form of the Russian Liberation Army, punitive detachments and so on. There weren’t even 20 Ingush in such units. So who then betrayed whom?”

            And on the other, Buzurtanov concluded that “one must not accuse the small peoples of what the leadership of the country at that time was guilty” because “the small peoples did not run the country.”

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