Wednesday, October 4, 2023

After North Caucasian Protests, Kremlin Appears to Have Backed Down on History Textbooks

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 1 – When Moscow released a new history textbook which contained language about the deportations of North Caucasians at variance with the historical record and highly offensive to the nations involved, North Caucasians denounced the text and demanded that the text be changed (

            Now, if a report in The Magas Times is to be believed, the Kremlin has backed down and agreed to alternative language that will go a long way to meeting the objections of the North Caucasians ( and

            It is far from clear what will happen next. Will the printed textbooks be pulped or an insert prepared? Will this affect textbooks for North Caucasian schools alone but not those in other parts of the country? Or is this simply a PR effort to calm people in the regions that Moscow has no real plans to follow through on?

            But a comparison of the two texts, the first as published in the history textbooks and the second which The Magas Times says the Presidential Administration has agreed to represents a rare case in which the nations of the North Caucasus have defended themselves against the Kremlin and the Kremlin has decided the best course of action is to back down.

            Below are the two texts, the first from the books as published; and the second, a version that the Kremlin reportedly has agreed to.

The original textbook version:

“Based on the facts of cooperation with the occupiers of the Karachais, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Crimean Tatars in 1943-1944, the State Defense Committee decided to liquidate the state formations of these peoples within the USSR and subject them to collective punishment - forced relocation (deportation) to the eastern regions of the country As a result, not only bandits and collaborators of the enemy were repressed, but also many innocent people. The settlers had to endure many troubles and hardships. Justice for them was restored after 1953."


The substitute version the Presidential Administration reportedly has agreed to:

“A tragic page in the history of the Great Patriotic War was the mass eviction of peoples in 1941-1944, in conditions of proximity to the front and military operations, indiscriminately accused by the State Defense Committee of treason. Twelve peoples were subjected to forced relocation (deportation), who lost not only their native lands but also national-territorial autonomies that the majority had. In the shortest possible time, hundreds of thousands of people were deported under escort to the other end of the country - to Siberia and Central Asia. Along with individual renegades and traitors, masses of completely innocent and loyal people, including those who fought in the Red Army, suffered. The settlers had to endure many troubles and hardships. Justice was gradually restored in 1957-2014. In the USSR, and then in the Russian Federation, repressions against entire peoples were condemned and measures were developed for their complete rehabilitation."


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