Textbooks rewrite history to fit Putin's vision

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As Russia flexes its foreign policy muscles against the West and President Putin enjoys record approval ratings, the Kremlin is turning its attention to schools to instil a new sense of nationalism in children.

Two new manuals for teachers have been accused of glossing over the horrors of the Soviet Union and of including propaganda to promote Mr Putin’s vision of a strong state.

One, for social studies teachers, presents as fact Mr Putin’s view that the Soviet collapse was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century”. It describes the United States as bent on creating a global empire and determined to isolate Russia from its neighbours.

Many of those behind the second book, a history of Russia from 1945 to 2006, have close links to the Kremlin. Its final chapter is titled Sovereign Democracy, a term coined by a key Kremlin aide, Vladislav Surkov, as an ideological justification for Mr Putin’s authoritarian rule.

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