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Putin legacy: In the classroom, a more controlled view of history

A textbook that will be introduced this fall calls Stalin the Soviet Union's 'most effective' leader.

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Brought up amid the Soviet empire's collapse, many 20-something Russians like Anastasia Chukovskaya received an education rich in varied historical viewpoints. Today's youths may not get that opportunity.

"In the 1990s, there were different views, different textbooks.… Teachers were eager to tell pupils about [things that were a secret in the past]," says Ivan Bolshakov, leader of the youth wing of the democratic Yabloko party. "Now, they try to accent important events that emphasize Russian statesmanship."

Perhaps the most prominent example of that is a high-school history teacher's manual by Alexander Filippov, which calls Stalin the USSR's "most successful" leader and an "effective manager." Students will use an adapted version starting in September. President Vladimir Putin's administration, which has prioritized education as one of five "national projects," called the work the most accurate history text available.


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