The beginning and the end of Russkiy Mir

Peter Ruzavin, a journalist for independent Russian station TV Dozhd, and Prague Civil Society Centre fellow, explains his project – looking at what schoolbooks teach us about Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia.

Peter Ruzavin, Fellow & journalist, TV Dozhd

The way we study history explains a lot about the current state of affairs. Today, in Russia and a number of Post-Soviet republics, history has become a political tool and a tool of propaganda. It has become even more current during the years following the Russia-Ukrainian conflict and the general deterioration of relations between Russia and ex-Soviet Republics. On the other hand, history schoolbooks do not change quickly. This process takes years.

The elderly generation in all post-Soviet countries still hold more or less the same views on the importance of particular events and the attitude of particular historical characters. Has the new generation inherited this legacy? Do the old symbols and myths still exist and unite people from Astana to Chisinau? If so, what points of view or cultural/memory symbols do pupils from Baku, Kyiv and Bishkek still share? Do they have the same or opposite heroes and villains? If so, at what point of time did it change?

My project at the Prague Civil Society Centre will explore the way national history in post-Soviet republics has been shaped in the last 25 years.

The project is, de facto, a comparative study of post-Soviet republics’ history schoolbooks and a comparison to the Russian manual Single History Book. The project is not an attempt to ‘find the truth’, ‘fact-check the history’ or find mistakes in the way the history is taught. The goal is to compare views on the way history is taught and analyse how it is used.


About the author

Peter Ruzavin

TV Dozhd & Prague Civil Society Centre Fellow

Peter is a reporter for Телеканал Дождь (TV Rain), an independent Russian TV station. He hosts evening news bulletins as an anchor, is editor-in-chief of weekly political show “Et cetera with Mikhail Fishman”, and chief producer of the evening show “Here and Now”. Peter is also a special correspondent, investigating Russian politics and international relations, focusing in particular on Dagestan, Chechnya and the northern Caucasus.