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Putin speaks out against banning false accounts of historical events

The only method to rebuff such productions or publications is to offset them by more fundamental and impressively presented viewpoints, the Russian president sais at a meeting with young historians
Russia's president Vladimir Putin visits State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia Mikhail Klimentyev/TASS
Russia's president Vladimir Putin visits State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia
© Mikhail Klimentyev/TASS

MOSCOW, November 5. /TASS/. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has spoken out against the proposals to impose a ban on books and publications that present distorted versions of history — unless the distortions overstep the boundaries of crime.

As he met with young historians on Wednesday, one of them mentioned the problem of “history rewriting” in various fiction books, research works, movies, and documentaries.

He asked the President if the works of art created in Russia could make the fake history theorizing uncompetitive in the eyes of Western public.

“You’re quite right in saying we can’t ban anything because there’s no way to ban anything at all except the overtly criminal things, which legislators usually treat as outright criminal offenses,” he said.

“As for all other sorts of showings — the discouraging ones that don’t fall in the category of criminal offenses however — the only method to rebuff them is to offset them by more fundamental and impressively presented viewpoints,” Putin said.

Upholding of own authentic historical outlooks should be comprehensive and captivating at a time, he said adding: “There should be fair content and the packing should also catch people’s minds.

On insinuations about prewar Soviet policies

MOSCOW, November 5. /TASS/. It is important to offset insinuations around the USSR’s foreign policy in the years preceding World War II with serious research works, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday as he met with young scholars and teachers of history.

“Libelous verbosity and political babbling on the issue may have some sense if you take mass brainwashing but it should be offset with serious, profound and unbiased research works,” he said.

He recalled some historic facts that are usually drowned in oblivion during discussions of the prewar period, including the so-called Munich War.

Putin also mentioned the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, saying the Soviet Union is often accused of partitioning Poland. Along with it, Poland itself joined forces with Hitler’s troops during the partitioning of Czechoslovakia. “And then it got a riposte,” he said.

“I wouldn’t like to accuse anyone now but serious research is really needed to show that such were the methods of international policy in general in those years,” Putin said.

He believes the was nothing bad in a treaty on nonaggression, which Soviet Union signed by Germany then, since the Soviet Union did not want to go to war and it merely needed time to modernize the entire spectrum of its defense technologies.

On victory over Nazism

Putin also took up the problem of contribution of each warring country to victory over Nazism.

“There is no denying the allies’ important contribution to the victory but one should compare the sacrifices made in the name of common victory and the price of these efforts,” he said. “For instance, one can count how many divisions the Nazis sent to the Eastern Front and to the Western Front or how many soldiers from each allied country died in the battlefield.”

“Britain lost about 350,000 people throughout the whole World War II and the US losses stood at around 500,000,” Putin said. “This is much and that’s horrible but it doesn’t compare anywhere remotely to the 25 million people lost by the Soviet Union.”

Russians should speak about it on the basis of quality historical research.

It is equally important to expose the real events of World War I from the viewpoint of understanding the mechanisms of interaction among different countries at the time. “The allies competed among themselves but they also passed the ball to one another by way of assistance.”

Putin said an offensive launched by Russian troops rescued Paris from a seizure by the Germans, while the allied powers responded by an offensive in 1915, thus helping Russia that had just suffered a telling defeat from the Germans on the frontlines of World War I.

He promised the historians he would organize access for them to the historic archives of the Russian Defense Ministry in Podolsk near Moscow that contains an expansive fund of documents in German, including the ones bearing on the prewar years.

At present, these documents are undergoing digitalization and are not lent out for studies.