Skip to main content

Books by British historian Antony Beevor banned from Russian schools for Nazi propaganda

On August 4, officials in Russia’s Sverdlovsk region ordered the confiscation of books written by British historians Antony Beevor and John Keegan from school libraries. This includes their bestselling works about Stalingrad, the fall of Berlin, and the battle for Normandy.

According to officials, the books propagate “stereotypes formed during the times of the Third Reich.” Officials noted that this year marks the 70th anniversary of Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, and therefore “literature with information about the Great Patriotic War is attracting special attention” at the moment.

Antony Beevor has responded to the ban by saying that he is “amazed that it has taken them so long.” In a piece published in The Guardian, Beevor recalls that already in 2002, Russian ambassador to the UK Grigori Karasin responded to the publication of the book “Berlin: The Downfall” by accusing Beevor of “lies, slander, and blasphemy against the Red Army.”

Beevor writes: “What depresses me most is that once again we are faced with a government trying to impose its own version of history. I am fundamentally opposed to all such attempts to dictate a truth, whether it concerns denial of the Holocaust or the Armenian genocide, or the ‘sacred victory’ of May 1945.”

Inspections in the Sverdlovsk region's school libraries will continue until August 31. Books by Antony Beevor and John Keegan will be confiscated before the start of the school year.

“Many historians—both Russian and foreign experts—believe that books written by authors such as John Keegan and Antony Beevor falsely convey information about the events of World War II, contradict historical documents, [and] are imbued with propagandistic nazi stereotypes,” said Nina Zuravleva, a local Education Ministry official.

Yekaterinburg Online

Antony Beevor is the author of the bestselling history books “The Second World War,” “D-Day,” “Berlin: The Downfall,” “Stalingrad,” and others. Millions of copies of these books have been sold all over the world, and they have been translated into dozens of languages.

Beevor came under intense criticism for including information about the Red Army’s mass rapes in his book “Berlin: The Downfall.”

In an interview with Afisha-Vozdukh from February, Beevor said that those who blame him for spreading Nazi propaganda did not even understand that most of the documents he studied “were Soviet, and not at all German.”

For more on Russia’s anti-nazi censorship, see Gone mad with political correctness: How Russia’s anti-fascist censorship has jumped the shark

Meduza, working 24/7, always for our readers We need your help like never before