Feature

Rewriting history

The week's news at a glance.

Moscow

Russia announced the launch of a new, government-financed encyclopedia this week to replace the Great Soviet Encyclopedia that has anchored every Russian library for decades. The Soviet version was the official repository of communist propaganda, and was often subject to Orwellian rewritings. In 1953, for example, when secret-police chief Lavrenti Beria was executed, encyclopedia subscribers received a letter from the editor requesting that they cut out the Beria entry and replace it with an extended section on the Bering Strait. The new encyclopedia is intended to be less overtly political, but it will not be free of government spin. President Vladimir Putin has personally ordered members of the Russian Academy of Sciences to collaborate on the 30-volume reference tome. The first volume is due out next year.

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