Russia (St. Petersburg) / What do we teach about our neighbours?
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Russia (St. Petersburg) / What do we teach about our neighbours?

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  • 1. What we teach about our neighbours in Russia St. Petersburg – Riga 2007
  • 2. What we teach about our neighbours in Russia What we will not tell you is…
  • 3. What we will not tell you…
    • What we teach about Vikings from Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway
    • What we teach about Finland before the 20. century
    • What we teach about Netherlands as a Russian neighbour
  • 4. What we will focus on is…
      • The relations between the Soviet Union and the Baltic countries in 1939-1940.
      • We will dwell on
      • General characteristics
      • Analysis of texts
      • Methods of teaching
  • 5. Baltic history in Russian textbooks
    • The tribes of the Eesties, Latgals, Zemgals, Livs are named as the neighbours of Slavic tribes.
    • The Livonian order is mentioned in the textbooks as the unlucky enemy of Alexander Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible.
    • In the medieval history course the Great Lithuanian Principality is mentioned as a rival to Moscow for uniting eastern Slavic lands.
    • Then there is a gap of many centuries, till 1917, after which Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia appear as independent states.
  • 6. Baltic history in Russian textbooks
    • In the XX century:
    • The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the Secret protocol, the events of 1940
    • The disintegration of the Soviet Union (but too the Baltic Popular Front there is not paid much attention)
  • 7. New textbooks: what has changed?
    • The changes from the Soviet tradition mainly in description the 1939 – 1940 events.
    • No evident evolution in presenting this material either.
  • 8. New textbooks: what has changed?
    • The recent past touches personal feelings of textbooks authors.
    • Two approaches: “democratic” and “patriotic”.
    • However, even such personal ideological differences don’t impact much the selection of historic events.
  • 9. New textbooks: what has authors agree upon?
    • All the authors of the textbooks acknowledge:
    • Secret agreements between the Soviet Union and Germany on dividing the Eastern Europe into spheres of influence
    • The pact and protocol given as documents
    • Forced annexation (inclusion) of the Baltic States by the Soviet Union in 1940
  • 10. Otechestvennaya istoriya XX – nachala XXI vekov . (Native history of the 20.-beginning of the 21. centuries). For 11. form. Edited by A. Chubarian. M.: Prosveshchenie, 2005. - P. 115 “ The protocol was a violation of legal and moral principles, deciding the fate of other countries and peoples behind their backs. In 1989 the Supreme Council of the USSR adopted special resolution, in which the Council condemned the Secret protocol and recognized that the protocol contradicts the norms of international law and moral. The protocol to the Soviet-German pact laid out the foundation for the actions of the Soviet Union in 1939-1941 to include in the composition of the Soviet Union the territories which entered its sphere of interests .”
  • 11. A. Levandovskii, Yu. Shchetinov Istoria Rossii XX –nachala XXI veka. (History of Russia, 20.-beginnig of the 21. centuries). For 11. form. M.: Prosveshchenie, 2005. - P. 225. The Secret protocol in action “ In September-October 1939 the Stalin’s leadership forced “agreements about mutual assistance” to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, under which they had to give their military bases to the Soviet Union. The following year, blaming these countries for violation of the agreements, Moscow demanded the establishment of “people’s governments”, controlled by Moscow’s political plenipotentiaries. Soon there were held “elections” to the Seims of Lithuania and Latvia and the State Council of Estonia. There took part the candidates supported by local communist parties and checked by Soviet secret services. The parliaments, elected in this way, addressed with a request to include their countries in the USSR. In the end of August 1940 this request was met and the Soviet Union was added with three new “socialist republics”.
  • 12. L. Zharova, I. Mishina Istoriya Otechestva. (1900-1940). (History of Fatherland. 1900-1940) For 10. form. SPb: SMIO Press, 2003. - P. 386. “ There was a controversial attitude of population to the new power. There were cases of attacks on Soviet [military] units . There were facts of arbitrariness of Soviet commanders in provinces . It was all there: some adopted the Soviet regime, some did not. For some it was a hope, for some it was a tragedy. But then, in 1940 entering the Soviet Union many workers dreamed about socialism as the regime of social justice, democracy and broad rights of workers. However, imposing the Soviet order was done with brutality, in a hurry, with violation of national traditions and without taking into the consideration local features. As in the rest of the country, in the Baltic states there were repressions, terror and mass deportation ”.
  • 13. A. Levandovskii, Yu. Shchetinov Istoria Rossii XX –nachala XXI veka. (History of Russia, 20.-beginnig of the 21. centuries). For 11. form. M.: Prosveshchenie, 2005. - P. 225. The Secret protocol in action … On newly acquired lands, where 23 million people lived [together with Western Ukraine, western Belorussia and Romania], there started “socialist transformations”, analogical to those which were held in the USSR at the turn of 1920s-1930s. They were accompanied with terror and deportation of large people’s masses to Siberia ”.
  • 14. A. Danilov, L. Kosulina, A. Pyzhikov Istoria Rossii XX –nachala XXI veka. (History of Russia, 20.-beginnig of the 21. centuries). For 9. form. M.: Prosveshchenie, 2003. - P. 230. “ The presence of these troops was used for submission of these former parts of Russian empire”
  • 15. Analysis of textbooks
    • extreme lack of information on the Baltic states
    • absence of one unified idea sometimes even within one book
    • the unity of Baltic peoples’ fate with that of the Russian Empire and the USSR
    • no distinct positive or negative image of Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians or their stated presented in the textbooks
    • no details about the way of life
  • 16. Analysis of textbooks
    • impartial approach to hide the acknowledgment of the Soviet (Russian) fault, which hurts the national consciousness
    • the topic is not as close to Russian scholars as, for example, Polish history (painful Khatyn or the war of 1920)
    • afraid of weakening the position of Russia
    • no author cares about establishing a dialogue between Russians and Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians; Russia and the Baltic States
    • few of authors ready to view the Baltic States history in the categories of the European values system, as a society developing ideals of democracy, constitutional state and civil society.
  • 17. Educational environment
    • A. Filippov The contemporary history of Russia. 1945-2006. Teacher’s book. M.: Posveshchenie, 2007
    • New items:
    • the “Forest brothers”
    • the industrial recovery in the Baltic republics after Second World war
    • National fronts during the perestroika
    • integration in the NATO and the EU
  • 18. Educational environment
    • Computer educational programme “History of Russia in the 20. century”
    • Educational TV-programmes (the Livonian order, the Northern war, 1939-1940, repressions, nationalism in 1988-1990)
    • National competition “The 20. century in my family history”