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Apr 11, 2022

In Russia’s War On Ukraine, Historians Find Themselves On The Front Lines, Figuratively And Literally

Ukrainian military intelligence reported on March 24 that Russian occupying troops in the country were confiscating books and other materials that the Russian government has deemed “extremist” — primarily books about Ukraine’s Maidan revolution, the war against Russia-backed separatists in parts of eastern Ukraine, and studies of Ukraine’s struggle for independence.

“The occupiers have a whole list of names that cannot be mentioned [in the titles of books],” the service wrote, listing such figures as 17th-century Cossack leader Ivan Mazepa, Ukrainian interwar independence leader Symon Petliura, far-right Ukrainian nationalist leader and Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, and others.

Perhaps like no war before, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has put history on the front line — with Russian President Vladimir Putin personally lecturing the nation on how Ukraine was supposedly formed and why, in his opinion, it has no right to exist. In recent years, Russia has fiercely resisted efforts to shed light on Soviet-era repressions and to name the security agents who killed millions of Soviet citizens under dictator Josef Stalin and other Soviet leaders.

At the same time, Ukraine – since the 2013-14 Maidan protests drove Russia-backed President Viktor Yanukovych out of the country – has been throwing open Soviet archives and releasing troves of detailed information about the past.

You can read a lot more in an article by Eduard Andryushchenko published in the Radio Free Europe web site at: https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-ukraine-destroying-identiy-putin-historians/31795956.html.