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Russia rewrites history anew every day

Posted June. 05, 2021 07:08,   

Updated June. 05, 2021 07:08


“Russia is a country whose future is certain. However, predicting its past is impossible.” After the cover, a reader will bump into a Russian proverb that is quite difficult to understand. The author, who served as international studies professor at New York University in the U.S., defines Russia as a country that is difficult to understand as much as its vast territory. “Russia is a country that lacks natural boundary, homogeneous people, and a clear central identity,” the author said. “Russia’s response to the situation where there was no clear territorial boundary was constant expansion, and in the course of doing that the country acquired its new national, cultural and religious identity.”

The proverb means that Russia is a country whose own history can be reinterpreted according to the need of the present. In fact, starting with the Rurik dynasty around the 9th century, those in power during the Czarist Russia, Bolsheviki Revolution, Soviet rule, and incumbent President Vladimir Putin have rewritten history. It was not due to the negative perspective of accusing that the history was distorted, but such practice was made inevitable by a complicated identity of Russia, which has vast territory and diverse religions and cultures.

The book focuses on supreme leaders that represented their respective eras, including Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Stalin, and Putin. All those in power shared the fear that the country would be dissipated unless they firmly grip power in the nation.

Gab-Sik Kim dunanworld@donga.com