A draft statement was submitted by Grigory Yavlinsky with due account of proposals made by Sergei Mitrokhin, Alexei Yablokov, Boris Misnik, Viktor Sheinis and Galina Mikhalyova.
The Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO considers distortions of history as a real and serious threat to Russia’s future. In our country the main threats connected with distortions of history have always been emerging from the state.
Silence about or distortion of the facts related to human tragedies such as mass-scale reprisals, wars and other developments and events leading to millions of deaths – all which should be averted, pose a great danger.
The best way to fight against distortion of historic facts is by revealing achieves, publication of historical documents, development and implementation of special educational programmes, initiating broad-scale public discussions that would let Russia’s citizens learn what has been really taking place in the key moments of Russia’s and world’s history. Obviously a large-scale and highly professional work in this field conducted by academic research institutions, archives, the Memorial society is obviously insufficient today.
Prevention of distortions of history should become an incentive for the society and the state. Formation of a special joint state and public commission which should include the leading historians, representatives of public organisations connected with historical research and state archives could become an important move in this field. But if we decide to establish a respected joint state and public commission on historic issues, we should immediately and entirely revise and change its tasks and goals, also it should be composed of different people.
The Commission for Countermeasures Against Attempts to Distort History in a Way Detrimental for Russia’s Interests will not help in the fight with distortions of history, moreover, it will play an opposite role. Its name, the way of formation and its composition demonstrate that it has been loaded with propagandistic and ideological tasks of serving the current policies that are far from being adherent to the principles of historicism and objectivity.
In the Stalin’s era the performance of such commissions resulted in arrests and in Brezhnev’s era it led to dismissals and persecutions.
We are certain that any distortion of history harms Russia. Although the best protection from politisation, biased views and assessments are knowledge and publication of facts and documents, rather than formation of one’s own biased concepts. Historical truth, whatever bitter or embarrassing it may be for the politicians, offers historical lessons which is good for any country or state.
We would like also to draw close attention to the fact that turning the discussion about history into a political squabble can affect Russia’s foreign policies. We should be careful and delicate to the issues of national historical memory of our neighbours while safeguarding our values and national shrine. We should react with dignity even on open provocations, as we are speaking not only on behalf of ourselves, the whole history of our country is behind us and its future depends on us.
The issue of our historical lessons is an important and integral part of political interests of the YABLOKO party and largely determines our political performance. Our principled position may be reduced to the following: only historical truth can be set against distortions of history.
Towards creation of another Presidential Commission.
Special for YABLOKO’s web-site by Viktor Sheinis, May 20, 2009
Yabloko and the Grim Symbols of the Soviet Era
Freedom of speech