According to Sergei Kovalev, World War II started “because of
The views of a crank? Actually Kovalev is a colonel and a researcher in the Russian Ministry of Defense. Earlier this month, the ministry posted Kovalev’s lengthy essay laying out his views in a section of its Web site with the heading: “History: Lies and Falsifications.” The heading, it seems, was intended to identify Western historians and the press as the liars, not Kovalev himself. The Russian Ministry of Defense has since removed the paper from its Web site and disavowed it. Even so, the posting raises questions about how far the Russian government will go in attempting to control the writing of Russian history. Last month, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev created a commission to identify foreign “revisionists” who disparage the country’s prestige.
“Revisionism” is a relative term, of course. Kovalev’s article also argues that the British bear responsibility for the war since they gave
Proposed legislation backed by Medvedev would make it a crime, punishable by up to five years in prison, for anyone—foreigner or Russian—to claim that the Soviet Union occupied
Historian Alan Charles Kors sums up what’s going on here: “Orwell had it right: ‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.’ The Kremlin controls the Russian present.” This is the Kremlin with whom President Obama will be confabbing on July 7.