Rybakov: We must seek something that unites Russians and Ukrainians, not things that separate us
YABLOKO Deputy Chair Nikolai Rybakov’s speech on Channel One, 12.04.2016
Nikolai Rybakov: I would like to comment on the history books issue. In my opinion, the main idea of teaching history at school is to teach a person to acquire information critically and to analyse the information. Wait a minute, please. My next point concerns historic facts. In the history of Russia there was an outstanding writer who used to say, it is not a word for word quotation, but the point is that historians work with documents and the documents, especially during the periods of war, are created not for the purpose of historical justice or truth but to satisfy the commanders. Therefore one should consider all the documents more than critically. I have just quoted Lev Tolstoy.
Anchorman: Let me respond to this. Any person who is staying at home and watching television can consider what is going on critically.
Nikolay Rybakov: No, one should learn to do it. May I say something? We have been discussing the demolition of monuments. So, I would like to give an example. We must look for something that unites us in our history, all this time we have been looking for the things that separate us, now we must seek something that unites us.
Anchorwoman: This is absolutely true.
Nikolai Rybakov: For instance, yesterday, after I participated in a TV programme, I received a letter from Sevastopol where the local authorities went as far as conducted signature collection for demolition of the monument to Taras Shevchenko [a great Ukrainian poet].
Anchorwoman: Oh, really?
Nikolai Rybakov: Why should one do it? We must look for the things that unite us, unite Russians and Ukrainians.
Anchorman: In Moscow we have a monument to Taras Shevchenko. People bring flowers and conduct festivals there. I absolutely agree that we must look for the things that unite us. But in the first place we must realise who we are. One should realise the national identity of a person and the aim of the state where he is living. And if there is no aim… Excuse me but there is not favourable wind for a ship which doesn’t know where it is going. That’s it.
Nikolai Rybakov: I agree but to do so one must consider their own history honesty. One must not eliminate the facts. I have brought a book which, in my opinion, must be studied. I grew up on this book.
Anchorman: Is it the book on history of reprisals?
Nikolai Rybakov: This is a book on the [complete] history of the siege of Leningrad, [the authorities] have always been trying to make cuttings and corrections in this history, including the information about the famine. So, let us face the truth…