New history textbook: to speak about unpleasant pages openly


Hello! Please tell about the place of the North Caucasus in the concept of the new history textbook. Andrey Petrov, the executive secretary of the Russian History Society The Caucasus takes an appropriate place in the new concept, in future textbooks, as well as in the history of Russia. We have to discuss the concept all the time, because we receive ideas from wide layers of society, our Russian society. As for the history of the region and the center, I am an opponent of the concept of St. Petersburg-Moscow Russian history. However, it is impossible to do without it, since the decision-making center has always been in a capital, as well as the state power. So, it is unavoidable. But I think we should present a new balance between a regional component and a reflection of the region’s role in a central federal history textbook. How can this be achieved? Any regional component works centrifugally and centripetally. Any regional component draws a cordon around a region. We are wonderful, we have waterfalls, we have lakes, high mountains, the best grapes, brave heroes, beautiful dances, and so on. And all these components are not connected to the history of the country. However, when in various chapters of a textbook a fellow countryman appears, for instance, mentioning the special role of Caucasian divisions in the First World War, its role in the all-European process, there are references to the culture, activists of the Caucasus. These connections unite the local regional history and the federal course, and it enables us to build the regional component. And children note this, when they study history. A teacher will say: this is your fellow countryman; Rasul Gamzatov was born here, it is there, and so on. They will feel their involvement through this. The second moment which we are still failing to implement are the requirements for out-of-class education of children. Unfortunately, our young generation knows its rich history poorly. The main stumbling block of modern Russia is Moscow and Dagestan, Moscow and the Caucasus, Moscow and migrants, Moscow and the Urals, Moscow and St. Petersburg. This is Moscow-centricity and opposition between Moscow and everything. This is improved by our lack of knowledge about diversity in our country. We need historic-cultural tours for children, which will be sponsored by the state, as is done in the U.S.A. Why can’t we take our children to Lake Baikal, Elbrus, Kazan, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Russian pupils? I think we should try to promote this moment again and launch a historic-cultural standard. Have you received requests or suggestions from parents from the North Caucasus? We have received ideas from various republics of the Caucasus, but they have been typical for all parents of our country: these are fears about the USE, a transactional period, when it will be launched, whether their child will avoid it or not. We have considered the notifications. So, was there nothing peculiar? There was nothing special but we have worked on the moments thoroughly, including with parents from the Caucasus, and I think some mistakes have been corrected. It tells about Stalin’s ethnic policy and deportations. The textbook tells about the events in Chechnya in the 1990s very delicately, i.e. they are described, according to the official chronicle. I mean the constitutional order. Speaking about 1999, the invasion in Dagestan, we tell about an invasion by armed groups from the territory of Chechnya to the territory of Dagestan. Probably it sounds a bit formal, but the authors will improve it. It is only a skeleton, later we will add flash, fat, skin and hair. So, we will get a body.

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