Lies Told To Russian Children

A new Russian history textbook is being used which portrays the policies of dictator Joseph Stalin in fairly light terms. For example, it gives the impression that Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania voluntarily joined the Soviet Union when in reality they were seized by Stalin. It presents a view that he modernized Russia, although he might have used some severe measures to accomplish that goal. The book does state there were forced labor camps and mentions 800,000 executions, but never comes close to getting at the real figures of at least 20 million dead because of Stalin.

One of the problems of education is failure on the part of nations to present historically valid materials to youth. In America, an event like the War With Mexico ordinarily offers an American interpretation but leaves out the feelings of Mexicans about how and why the war actually began. Japan continues denying the atrocities its troops committed in China and elsewhere and actually gets upset when outsiders raise the issue. Turkey has jut won its fight to keep the truth about the Armenian genocide out of its books. On the hopeful sign, there are groups such as a Franco-German historian commission which is examining textbooks to eliminate jingoism and one sided interpretations. This is not an exercise in altering history, it is a movement toward providing youth with accurate history. Unfortunately, Russia prefers masking the horror of Joseph Stalin, mass murderer.