Russian textbooks to present "balanced" view of Stalin

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tags: Russia, Bloomberg News, Stalin, Vladimir Putin

...[New Russian history] guidelines [proposed by Vladimir Putin] ... attempt to paint a “balanced” picture of Stalin’s rule. They describe Stalin as a modernizer who brought about Russia’s ultra-fast industrialization, laid the foundation for the Soviet Union’s scientific achievements and its victory in World War II, but also orchestrated mass purges “to liquidate a potential fifth column” and used forced labor to achieve an economic breakthrough.

The soft-lens picture of Stalin is consistent with some of Putin’s utterances on the tyrant. “I very much doubt that had Stalin had the atomic bomb in the spring of 1945, he would have used it on Germany,” Putin said during a recent visit to the state-owned Russia Today TV station.

In the 1930s, Stalin presided over his own effort to craft a version of Russia’s 1,000-year history. He personally edited textbooks, painstakingly marking up manuscripts with a pencil and criticizing academic working groups for ideological lapses. The exercise culminated in the publication, in 1938, of the “Short Course of the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union,” a chiseled propaganda masterpiece for which Stalin wrote a chapter on Marxist philosophy....

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