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Putin urges joint efforts of like-minded persons abroad for objective history reflection

June 22, 2016, 18:54 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian president stresses the honest attitude to history needs to be supported

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Russian president Vladimir Putin at a meeting with representatives of the All-Russian Historical Assembly

Russian president Vladimir Putin at a meeting with representatives of the All-Russian Historical Assembly

© Alexei Nikolskiy/Russian Presidential press service/TASS

MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that joint efforts were needed, including the efforts of like-minded persons abroad, for objective history reflection.

"There are very many people in our country supporting the honest attitude to history and, therefore, no less careful attitude to the future. But we also have many supporters in other countries, including in Europe and on other continents," the Russian president said.

"It seems to me that we need to unite with people who think like we do and unite our efforts for solving the tasks, to which you have devoted yourselves to a considerable extent," the Russian president said at a meeting with representatives of the All-Russian Historical Assembly.

Putin thus commented on a statement by Director of the Department for Search Work of the Russian Military-Historical Society Sergei Machinsky who told the president about military-historical camps organized by the society where children could get acquainted closer with the history of the Soviet Union’s Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany in 1941-1945 and participate in WWII search teams.

The experience and lessons of the past

The president has called for the county’s development on the basis of experience and lessons of the past.

"Not a single country and not a single people should stay obsessed with the past and bathe in previous heroism indefinitely. This is harmful and dangerous for the future of the nation," Putin said.

Putin believes it is essential to "move forward, largely with reliance on the groundwork laid by the previous generations and to bring up young people on the basis of all the very best that was accomplished by their predecessors over previous decades and centuries."

"This is the sole way of achieving greater self-confidence in this turbulent and volatile world and of identifying the right development benchmarks," Putin.

Having heard a statement by a researcher from Israel’s National Institute of Remembrance of Nazism and Heroes of the Resistance, Aron Shneyer, Putin said he had been greatly impressed when he visited that center in 2005.

"We’ve seen the emergence of our own museum since. It’s called Museum of Tolerance," Putin said.

Also, he dropped a comment on Shneyer’s comparison of the territories of Israel and Latvia.

"All comparisons are possible, but although Israel is smaller, it relies and develops its identity and brings up its citizens with reliance on historical examples. In this way it achieves population growth, while Latvia’s population has been shrinking catastrophically," Putin said, adding that Latvia’s population over recent years had shrunk by 40%.

"Just imagine - nearly half of the country’s population is gone. That would spell disaster for any country," he said.

Putin agreed that "the modern world is changing and borders are being erased." "But I know not a single people who would not care about their identity, because its loss always entails dire consequences," Putin said.

"This is no choice of ours. We are for being part of the modern civilization, and certainly for looking into the future," Putin said.

Had-Hitler-won world model

Putin believes some historians may find interesting the theme of building a hypothetical model of the world that would have emerged had Hitler’s Germany won World War II.

"Some say history admits of no ‘what-ifs’. This is very true. The same applies to politics. But there is a place for such speculations in science, and this may be of great importance and interest," Putin said at a meeting with participants in the All-Russia Historical Assembly on Wednesday.

He shared some impressions of a recent meeting with a German friend of his.

"You’ve just said it is crucial to know the atrocities the Nazis committed on our soil. That German friend of mine has read quite a few historical documents and he paid attention to what Hitler had planned to do, in case of victory, to the Russian people, and where the Russian people would’ve found themselves then - far away in Siberia, where they would’ve been doomed to extinction," Putin said.

He is certain that such facts "should be known to everybody, including those who have been trying to re-evaluate what happened in the past and to make conclusions nobody is in the position to make today to condemn somebody."

"It’s worth taking a look at what would’ve been in store for us, had we suffered a defeat. This is very important," Putin said. In his opinion from the standpoint of science "all aspects are of interest - what really happened and what could have happened.".

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