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Russian authorities rewrite paragraph on Stalinist deportations in history textbook following criticism from North Caucasian republics

Source: Meduza

The Russian Education Ministry has modified a paragraph about the deportations of ethnic minorities under Joseph Stalin in its new general history textbook for tenth-graders.

One of the book’s authors, Moscow State Institute of International Relations Rector Anatoly Torkunov, told the outlet RBC that the ministry has sent the new version of the text to the Congress of the Karachay People for review.

The textbook’s original account of the deportations sparked backlash in Karachay-Cherkessia as well as in other North Caucasian republics. It read as follows:

In light of the collaboration with the occupiers on the part of the Karachay, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, and Crimean Tatars, the State Defense Committee decided in 1943–1944 to eliminate the state formations of these groups within the USSR and subject them to collective punishment: forcible resettlement (deportation) to the country’s eastern regions. The result was the repression not only of bandits and accessories of the enemy but of many innocent people as well. The resettlers were forced to endure many trials and hardships. Justice towards them was restored after 1953.

The new version of the paragraph will read:

A tragic page in the history of the Great Patriotic War was the mass expulsion of peoples in 1941–1944 who, in the conditions of proximity to the front, were indiscriminately accused of treason by the State Security Committee. 12 ethnic groups were forcibly resettled (deported), losing not only their native land but also the national-territorial autonomy that most of them had. In an extremely short period of time, hundreds of thousands of people were sent under guard to the other side of the country — Siberia and Central Asia. Along with individual renegades and traitors, large numbers of people who were completely innocent and loyal to the Soviet authorities suffered, including those who fought in the Red Army. The resettlers were forced to endure many trials and hardships. Justice was gradually restored between 1957–2014. In the USSR, and later in the Russian Federation, repressions against entire ethnic groups were condemned and measures to ensure their complete rehabilitation were developed.

Despite changing the text, the Russian Education Ministry stressed that the previous version of the textbook “is in full accordance with federal state education standards for secondary general education.”

The ministry said it chose to edit the book because “the history of the forced resettlement of members of 12 ethnic groups during the Great Patriotic War acts as one of the most dramatic pages of modern national history.”

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