Ahead of patriotic film release, Russian Culture Minister tells archival workers to pipe down
Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky has announced that workers of the Russian State Archive should not give their own evaluations of archival documents.
At a meeting dedicated to archival work in Russia, Medinsky stated that the head of an archive “is not a writer, a journalist, or a fighter against the fabrication of history.” He added that “if someone wants to change their profession, we will understand.” According to Medinsky, archival workers “can provide documents to people, but then journalists should draw their own conclusions.”
Earlier, the Russian State Archive published a historical document on its website, which stated that the story of “Panfilov’s 28 Guardsmen,” who defended Moscow in World War II, is a fabrication. A movie about the heroism of the 28 guardsmen is due to come out in the fall of 2015, and Medinsky has endorsed the film.
“The question of what archival workers should be doing has arisen. They should do what the government pays them to do, and they shouldn’t try to master other professions in the process,” said Medinsky at a meeting on archival work.
The film about “Panfilov’s 28 men,” which will be released in the fall, glorifies the Red Army’s heroism in the defense of Moscow during World War II. The film tells the story of the 28 men who fought under Major General Ivan Panfilov. According to the widely accepted version of events, all of these men died in battle. They were posthumously decorated as Heroes of the Soviet Union—the greatest Soviet military honor.
The Russian Military History Society, which is chaired by Vladimir Medinsky, has endorsed this film, and the Ministry of Culture has allocated funds for its production.
In early July, the Russian State Archive published on its website a 1948 report written by the USSR Chief Military Prosecutor Nikolai Afanasyev, in which he states that the story of “Panfilov’s 28 Guardsmen” was actually a journalistic fabrication. The report says that several of the 28 men had survived, and one was later arrested on charges of high treason for joining a German police force.
The film’s producer Andrei Shalyopa has denounced the Russian State Archive publication, stating that it undermines the “moral potential” of Russia.