A new government manual for history teachers whitewashes the Stalin era while extolling President Vladimir Putin’s reign. The teachers’ guide describes Stalin as “the most successful Soviet leader ever,” because he industrialized the nation and led it to victory in World War II. It excuses Stalin’s purges, mass deportations, and gulags as regrettable side effects of building a strong Soviet state. As for Putin, it defends his strangling of human-rights organizations as a necessary blow against foreign meddling in Russian affairs. The authors of the manual said the revisionism was vital to restoring Russians’ sense of pride. “Imagine in the U.S. you were told that all your history was awful and nightmarish,” said author Pavel Danilin. “I’m sure you’d change the way history was taught, too.”
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