ST. PETERSBURG, April 27. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued instructions to make a World Atlas that would not distort the "historical and geographic truth" about the real names of certain sites and locations.
"The idea is to draft, with the Russian Geographic Society taking the most active part, a new Russian atlas of the world in which all such cases (of changing originally Russian geographic names) would have the correct interpretation," he said at a meeting of the board of trustees of the Russian Geographic Society. Putin addressed his instructions to the specialists of the Russian Register, Geogrpahic Society and Defense Ministry. "The latter should open its map making-related materials to the Atlas editors and to travelers, hickers and motorists in various forms, including modern computer online technologies."
Putin believes that the secrecy mark on many maps "is obsolete and looks archaic."
In his opinion the issue of geographical names needs special attention.
"These days we see a situation where Russian names that our explorers and travelers gave to certain sites in the past decades and centuries are being erased from the maps of the world. The same happens to the memory of Russia’s contribution to exploring the globe and developing science," he said. In particular, he pointed out, this can be seen in the Antarctic, where toponyms selected by the first discoverers, Mikhail Lazarev and Faddey Bellinsgauzen, are almost out of use."
"In 2020 we will celebrate an anniversary of the discovery of the Antarctic, which was an accomplishment of Russian seafarers," he recalled.
Putin acknowledged that to a certain extent the absence of modern Russian maps was to blame.
"Only foreign ones are easily available today. As a rule they show only the secondary names of geographical sites," he said.
As he issued instructions to make a new atlas, Putin said that Russia by no means would dictate anything to anybody.
"But we have no right to connive with or stay indifferent to the distortion of historical and geographical truth," he added.