Languages
Page last updated at 20:28 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 21:28 UK

Russia panel to 'protect history'

Soviet soldiers hoisting the red flag over the Reichstag in Berlin, 1945
Russia is fiercely proud of its defeat of Nazi Germany

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the creation of a commission to act against what the Kremlin terms falsifications of Russian history.

The commission will attempt to defend the official version of Soviet history before, during and after World War II.

Correspondents say Russia is immensely proud of its role in defeating Nazi Germany, and is angered by attempts to re-evaluate the period.

The Kremlin is drawing up plans to make such moves a criminal offence.

The laws could see people fined, or even imprisoned for up to five years, for deviating from the official history.

Mr Medvedev said earlier this month: "We will never forget that our country, the Soviet Union, made the decisive contribution to the outcome of World War II, that it was precisely our people who destroyed Nazism, determined the fate of the whole world."

It's part of the Russian Federation's policy to create an ideological foundation for what is happening in Russia right now
Heorhiy Kasyanov
Ukrainian historian

The commission will be headed by the president's chief of staff, Sergei Naryshkin, and include MPs, intelligence officials, historians and bureaucrats.

Critics say the official view from Moscow glosses over Soviet-era crimes.

In many former Warsaw Pact countries and Soviet republics, the years of the Soviet Union are seen as a hostile occupation.

Russia has strongly objected to its former allies' moving or removing Soviet-era memorials, or attempting to ban Soviet symbols, saying this equates Communism to Nazism.

And it has rejected negative interpretations of Soviet actions, such as Ukrainian claims that a famine in the 1930s was a deliberate genocide.

Some critics, like Heorhiy Kasyanov from Ukraine's National Academy of Sciences, say the Kremlin is trying to whitewash Soviet history in order to justify its denial of human rights.

"It's part of the Russian Federation's policy to create an ideological foundation for what is happening in Russia right now," he told the Associated Press.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Stalin's new status in Russia
27 Dec 08 |  Europe
The whitewashing of Stalin
10 Nov 08 |  Magazine
Moscow Diary: Resurgent Reds
22 Jul 08 |  Europe
Estonia reburies Soviet soldiers
03 Jul 07 |  Europe
Ukraine demands 'genocide' marked
25 Nov 05 |  Europe
Russia country profile
06 Mar 12 |  Country profiles

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific