Friday, March 08, 2013

Kremlin aims to create universal wiki-based history schoolbook

This is a saved article initially prepared for Wikinews, but it was abandoned due to lack of English language sources.

Top Russian officials, headed by President Vladimir Putin, declared an intention to create a unified school textbook on Russian history, primarily by using Wiki technology, along with other measures on "re-thinking of Russian history" while celebrating 400 years of the House of Romanov. This was announced at a Russian Historical Society (RHS) meeting in Moscow Kremlin, where high-ranked statesmen admitted problems with modern Russian historical education and attempted to find a solution.

As was emphasized by the Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia, Sergei Ivanov, the problems with excessive multiplicity of school books on history, which differ in their approach, are so serious that sometimes "children simply don't understand what it's all about". He expressed the will for creation of one unified all-new rethought schoolbook and reminded that President Putin recently expressed the same concern in a speech, saying there is need for a book with verified contents, reviewed by experts and written in clear Russian language.

One of the chairmen of the RHS, Sergey Shakhray, prior to the meeting published an article on the news website, where he suggested the new book has to be created by scientific society with the help of mass audience "using Wikipedia technology" under government control. He described a possible three-step process of creating the book and reviewing the text by maximum wide-scale Russian scientific community and volunteer participants.

World War I centenary events were also announced including plans to build Russia’s first World War I memorial. Simultaneously, in Moscow Pushkin Museum an exhibition was opened, entitled "Pushkins, who kept company with Tsars". The story behind it is about relationships of two ancient Russian families: Romanovs and Pushkins, whose famous representative is Alexander Pushkin, considered the greatest Russian poet of all time so far.

Ivanov also urged RHS to play a major role in 400-year House of Romanov celebration events which are due to continue through the year. The jubilee is set after the 1613 year enthronement of Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich, who became the first Romanov on the throne, and whose reign ended the so-called Time of Troubles. A re-printed edition of a hand-written XVII century book about Mikhail Fyodorovich's enthronement was presented at the meeting.

Ivanov said Russians must learn their lessons from that period as some of them are still actual. In his words, people must not let any new "Times of Troubles" appear, as such "times" lead to destruction, and the only way to prevent them is people's unity.

The RHS was created last year and is supposed to be a successor to the Imperial Russian Historical Society founded in 1866 by prominent scientists, statesmen, and military commanders of that time to preserve and organize historical documents. The society was abandoned with the 1917 Russian revolution with its headquarters being vandalized. In the course of year 2012 it was re-established as a scientific and social organization. Its head became Sergey Naryshkin, the speaker of the State Duma, the lower house of the national parliament. Co-founders were the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow State University, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Kremlin Museum, Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society, and other bodies.

The Romanovs were enthroned after the Assembly of the Land of Moscow Tsardom gathered in 1613. The Assembly started on January 16 in Dormition Cathedral of Moscow Kremlin, where the land's nobles gathered to try to solve problmes of the Times of Troubles. On February 21 (Julian; March 3 in Gregorian) the Assembly elected Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov as new Tsar, founding the new royal dynasty. Russia vastly expanded during his governance, attaching territories up to Pacific Ocean shores. Later, with Peter the Great, Russia became the Empire, but in the early twentieth century with the 1917 revolution the monarchy was overturned and Emperor Nicholas II killed. The USSR emerged instead and survived two world wars until it was disassembled in 1991. The modern Russian Federation and several post-Soviet states were created instead. Now there are some Russian and foreign political forces supporting restoration of the Empire; the only legal political body promoting this idea in Russia is the Monarchist Party of the Russian Federation. It is registered and operates in Yekaterinburg city, where Nicholas II with his family were killed by bolsheviks in 1918. The city has a number of memorials dedicated to these events, and is one of the main locations to hold 400-year jubilee ceremonies, which are to be substantially supported by the Russian Orthodox Church.


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