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The Ukrainian textbooks of history as "the orange" political order.

The Ukrainian textbooks of history became a theme of hot discussions in mass-media and the Internet for a long time. The material stated in them is estimated in many comments as the promotion of Russophobia and nationalism. There is the opinion that the textbooks became the means which "orange" political elite used for maintenance of the sovereign existence to the detriment of historical truth.

«The World and we» has asked to tell about the real situation with history textbooks in Ukraine Vladimir Mikhailovich Dukhopelnikov, the candidate of historical sciences, head of the department of history of Russia at the Kharkov National University by the name of Karazin.

- There is a certain reason to such state of affairs. There should be already developed society and the state in which they accurately imagine what to learn. During that period of time when the textbooks of history of Ukraine were published, the popular saying of Famusov occurred to me, “We were taught something and somehow little by little”. They have considered that there are many events such as the activity of the OUN-UPA, Bandera, Shukhevich and others which have for some reason considered as the heroes in the history of the people of Ukraine. It has created many distortions to one party. What was still characteristic for these textbooks is the negative attitude to Russia. And all these distortions really aroused the indignation in many people.

- Whether you agree with the opinion, that the top priority of these versions of the textbook was to separate the history of Ukraine from the history of Russia at most?

- Such problem could be set. The question is that whether possible to execute it. And is it possible to tear away the whole periods, centuries, history of the Ukrainian people from the history of the Russian people. To some extent, it is possible to interpret only the period from 13th to the end of 15th centuries of a part of the Ukrainian territories, which were under the power of the Lithuanian princedom. But during the same period we observe the close contacts, the ties of these territories with the Russian princedoms. Moreover, those and these princedoms were called as the Russian and they try to make them the Ukrainian.

- It turns out, that it is the artificial approach, namely the isolation of history of Ukraine supposedly to independent process? But the history of territories which now are called as Ukraine, occurred as a part of the uniform state for a long time – Old Russian and Russian.

- The question is that what was the goal in creation of textbooks. And really some our governors were inclined to consider and tear away the history of Ukraine in something separate. There is a known best seller – “Ukraine is not Russia” in which these priorities are designated. And, unfortunately, many authors wrote the works to please to the customer, this or that influential politician. That absurdity has turned out which was observed from here. Thus there was no serious approach to studying of concrete historical problems. And first of all the problem is what the conception of Ukraine includes, whence it originates and what to understand by this. And how were appeared the terms which now are often used by the politicians, namely Great Russia and Little Russia. The terms were interpreted not just like as then in the period of their appearance: Great Russia is the big brother and Little Russia is the younger brother. If we return to history of appearance of these conceptions and start to investigate, so we will have absolutely other understanding of the present and that period. In the Russian validity, these terms were devised by the Greek patriarch and the emperor. First of all, they applied to the church structure. So long as two Russias were – the one, the Northeast Russia, where Moscow and Tver argued about the superiority and Lithuania, which has Kiev, Belorussian and Chernigov earths in the structure. Lithuania, which by estimate and it is documentary proved, consisted on 9/10 of the Russian princedoms. And the Lithuanian prince and even the Polish king wrote: the King Polish and Russian, the Grand duke Lithuanian and Russian. And the prince Moscow and Russian and prince Lithuanian and Russian are arguing who should head the church. Since 14th century, the Lithuanian prince proposed his candidacy to metropolitans to the patriarch and Moscow or Tver proposed their candidacy. Because of it they have constant squabbles. The documents affirms that in 1347 the letter was issued both to the Byzantine patriarch and to emperor Kantakuzen: henceforth to consider the lands, which are under the domination of Lithuania, as Little Russia because their quantity was less and the lands which are under the power of the Vladimir prince to consider as the Great Russia, because they were twice as much and that everyone should had its own metropolitan. So these terms have also appeared. And then in 1375 the same Byzantine patriarch appoints again one metropolitan and the representative of Lithuania, Kiprian, he appoints as the metropolitan of All Russia in Vladimir. Thereby, Kiprian became the metropolitan of not Little Russia, not Great Russia but All of Russia. As the terms have appeared, they aren't engaged in it. They used as propaganda: Little Russia, Great Russia, the elder brother, the younger brother. During the period when these names have appeared, they never thought of them and were not to be told in any documents. Because it was the same people.

- What do you think of the statements in some Ukrainian textbooks, that Kievan Russia related only to Ukraine and had no any relations with Russia?

- First, let's consider the conception of Kievan Russia or the Old Russian state. On a large scale, the historians used this conception only for division and best understanding. Russia of the period of 10-12th centuries, Russia of 12-13th centuries and Russia of 14-15th centuries is already Moscow and Tver is the same Russia. And at the same time it is different formations. And in the historical literature there was a term either the Old Russian state or Kiev state, Kievan Russia with the center in Kiev, for convenience of the designation and separation from other periods. But actually, it always was simply Russian state. And on the assumption of that, the chronicler has written down Oleg's known statement when it has grasped Kiev in 882 that “here will be the mother to Russian cities”. So it has begun – “Kiev is the mother of Russian cities”. For that period of time, Kiev became the capital. Therefore the historians have entitled Kievan Russia. Though the Ancient Novgorod was closely approximated to Kiev during this period time. It was richer and argued for it more. And we can't tell that Vladimir land and Vladimir-Suzdal princedom were weaker. In 12th century Kiev falls into decay and these cities are developing. As a whole, it was a uniform cultural-ethnic space. Then it also remained and developed from the point of view of cultural space, orthodox belief. Therefore they have entered this conception for the ease of understanding and a designation of the certain period of development. Because in 12th century, Kiev has already lost the value as a capital city. The separate strong princedoms have appeared. The same Galitsko-Volynsk princedom, the same Daniil Romanovich. He didn't pay attention to Kiev at all. He was the Sovereign by himself. He even was named as the king, because he has received a crown from the Pope of Rome. We can't say that it is the Kievan Russia, but we can't say that it is the Galitsko-Volynsk Russia. It was a general space – Russia, which consists of 13 large princedoms. For this period of time, the historians have found the term as the specific period or feudal atomism.

And these names depend on the approach of those who consider these events. The historians have invented all these terms, but all princedoms were Russian all the same. Though the Galitsko-Volynsk princedom was called as Russia and though Vladimir-Suzdal princedom was called as Russia in chronicles …

During the Soviet period of time there was a discussion about an origin of a ruling dynasty in Russia. Beginning from Novgorod, the chronicles say that Ryurik and his brothers, namely the Varangian princes, were appeared. In 18 century it has been shown that they like Norman princes. And then dispute was fastened that, ostensibly, the foreigners have created the state. In a counterbalance to it, Lomonosov has begun the other approach that the state is an internal product of development. These disputes proceeded. As far as I know, the modern Russian historical science adheres to the data existing in «The narrative of temporal years» that Ryurik and his brothers were descended from Slavic princes of Pomorye. Approximately, that is the island Rugen in Pomerania. Thereby, the version is rejected that the Normans have introduced statehood to Russia.

If it is so, then Askold and Dir who have come from Novgorod in 60th years of 9th century and have occupied Kiev, were the Slavs, the Russian princes. And the textbooks of Ukraine gave the information that Askold was the Ukrainian prince. That’s just the trouble that everyone who was situated on the territory of the modern Ukraine, was automatically named as Ukrainian. That period of time was also Ukrainian. But this is simply silly and ignorant …

- And such approach was initiated by an existing state policy?

- Such an original approach was existed. I am not surprised, for example, when there are the statements that the Chingis-Han was descended from the Ukrainians. That his mother was the Ukrainian. And that the Tatars are not the people of Central Asia but people from Czech Republic, from a city of the Tatars. The question is another. I’m surprises that the Americans, for example, aren't proud. They know that the USA has appeared as the state at the end of 18th century. They live calmly and it is the most powerful state at the same time. They don't take for a basis that they are descended from the Indians for several thousand years ago. But we have the opinion that ostensibly the more ancient a generation, the more honorary it is. But this is silly. It is necessary to think how to arrange the country. And what is the difference, that Russia was called as Russia – was it bad? But it can't be Ukraine if there was no such information in documents.

- There is such opinion that the party elite, which have come to power in Ukraine in 1991, had a primary goal to justify their sovereign existence. The historical science was taken as the tool for this justification.

- I will answer with the words of historian Solovyev. On the eve of serfdom cancellation, during the Crimean war, the extremely critical public opinion was in Russia and there was a question what textbooks of history to write. He answered these questions, “The life has a right to offer the questions to a science (historical) and the science is obliged to answer the life questions but the advantage of this decision will be only when, first of all, the life won't hurry business as soon as possible because a science has long dues and a trouble if it accelerates these dues, and, secondly, when life won't impose to a science the decision in advance made owing to this or that sight. Life should raise a science by its movements and requirements but shouldn't teach a science and should study from it”. That is we had when we asked a historical science to give the answers at once. Though the answers were made in advance. I can quote one more citation written by the poet Vyazemsky in the middle of 19th century, “In order the clever person, the German or the French, has talked the nonsense, force him to give the opinion about Russia. This is a subject, which intoxicates him and dulls his powers of thinking at once”. I am not surprised that all the trouble is that we reject ourselves somewhere back with such movements. Now they say that it is necessary to create the new groups and to write the history in a new way. But it turns out, that during the Soviet period the same authors wrote about one thing and then absolutely opposite. And have they written about the third now? In this case, it let be less written, but it should be written on the basis of many documents, it should be written this way, as Solovyev demanded. And he is really right. We should study everything. The history had a lot of such things that it is impossible to repeat. So it is necessary to know it very well in order not to repeat. Certainly, we can talk over Ivan the Terrible though if to go on the way of simple automatic comparison, so he looks an angel in comparison with the French kings. But on the other hand, we can't eulogize him, though was a lot of useful. It is the same with others. It is necessary to study all as it was, unvarnished, without any exaggerations because if we will put the wrong and superficial data in our heads, so we never will eliminate those lacks about which the history speaks to us.

- The authors of textbooks, namely the scientific community is compelled to be guided by that position which sets the Ministry of Education in the programs. And this ministry is under someone's influence and carries out someone's order or instruction. How much significant and regulating force has the Ministry of Education?

- That question is organizational to a considerable degree. Also it is connected in many respects that, if they have not developed the representation about what the state Ukraine corresponds for today and for some reason someone will define what kind of direction and what kind of textbooks are necessary. The content of textbooks was defined by the commission of the Ministry until the recent days. Look who published textbooks and you will find out that almost all committee-men published the textbooks for schools. Certainly, they published that was necessary for an existing political situation. And it is unknown how will be now. It is necessary to develop an accurate position that we should receive as a result of training of the schoolboy. The standard should be. We know what kind of standard was in recent time. Possibly, it will be changed in the connection with changes of positions of the power. And while there is no accurate standard, it is naturally difficult to fill it.

- The history of 20th centuries arouses much more questions – first of all that is the heroization of OUN-UPA and Bandera and the actions connected with it, the revision of the basic events of this period.

- Unfortunately, many modern historians of Ukraine have gone by the way of the Soviet historians. In that sense that for example, the party has confirmed that the imperial power it bad and all historical events are considered from this position and taken up one-sidedly. It reminds me that the history of Ukraine occurs. All the Soviet period in the history of Ukraine looks, as absolutely unnecessary and as the unsuitable period for Ukraine. But it is not just so.

All that has been reached and we use now, has been created in the Soviet period. And we can speak about the errors but also we should speak about the positive. The same we have with OUN-UPA. Somebody would not argue and prove that ОUN and UPA weren’t exist. But we should show their place and role.
If you take the textbooks, so you will find 5 pages about OUN-UPA and 1 page about other guerrilla movement. There were 3-4 times more people in all formations of UPA then in one formation of Kovpak. It is necessary to compare and adequately show the contribution and a role of each of forces.

- What do you think of such phenomena, how Institute of national memory and the Museum of the Soviet occupation?

- Poland was followed the example of the creation of such organizations as the institute of national memory. Poland is the state, which is offended by something all the time. As to idea of the Museum of the Soviet occupation, so firstly this idea has appeared in Tbilisi. Мikho has imposed it. And then Victor Andreevich has decided to follow example. And it speaks once again about the environment, which the president had. In what state do we live and what form of government do we have? Who accepted the constitution? The Supreme Soviet. The supreme legislative body in the region is the Regional Soviet, the City Soviet and District Soviet. In what state do we live? In the Soviet state. And the head of the Soviet state opens a museum of the Soviet occupation! It is the absurdity of these persons who have arrived from America and were in his environment. So you have to change the Constitution, change the name of authorities and then can open the museums.

- There is a question on objectivity of a historical science which is engaged in publishing of the educational literature. If to look at all these peripeties, it turns to the institute which serves the corporate interests of a ruling top. How much it can be objective in general?

- Not one of the textbook will be completely objective by whoever it was written. As far as it is written by a fellow and his point of view will prevail in this or that kind. To what it is necessary to aspire? It is well-known the statement of the ancients that history is the teacher of objective reality. That the history is an exact science. It is important what estimation would be given by the historian of those or others occurring events and whether he is free in the estimation. If he is free but his position doesn't suit those who are in power, they will not pass him. The original filter operates. And it is important to adhere precisely for understanding of history of Ukraine to the documents concerning the considered events, in order to show them comprehensively. It is necessary to teach the children to understand the facts and to evaluate why the event has occurred one way or another already being in the senior classes.
And we while throw out from the textbooks the most simple and necessary, namely comprehensively picked up facts and at once we give estimations to events. For example “Andrey Bogolyubsky has ruined Kiev”. Andrey Bogolyubsky was in Vladimir. And 11 princes, together with his son, smashed Kiev, including Volynsk prince. But there is no information about it.
There can be many events which can be treated differently. But if we comprehensively and minutely described them in the textbooks, so the author couldn't do the populist conclusions any more. And so, it is possible to write any history, having generalizing and hiding it. It turns out that what conclusion should be made, so it will be done in the textbooks.

But it not the history but a policy. The policy, which is deeply alien to the majority of the people of Ukraine. For what purpose it is done? Lunocharsky had such statement, “If you often say to a person that he is a pig, so he will grunt”. If a person watch the same on TV, he starts to believe.

Viewed : 495   Commented: 2

Author: Карновский Юрий Зиновьевич

Publication date : 24 February 2011 01:00

Source: The world and we

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