June 23rd, 2012

Взгляд вправо

In Search of National Unity or International Separation...

As we can see, the historical narratives that appeared during the post-Soviet period caused a great split between former “brother republics.” The main goal of those narratives was the creation of myths to unify each of the new nations. The  nations’ internal divisions during World War II prevented them from writing histories based on a one-sided perspective.

The Baltic and Central European views that they were “victim nations of two totalitarianisms” play a vitally important role in unifying  them domestically and helping them find peace with their pasts. The problem that appears in Estonia is that the new unifying narrative does unify pro-German and pro-Soviet Estonians but does not integrate Estonian Russians.   

Ukraine, Armenia, and Georgia provide another approach to the war: their textbooks are written with the clear message that there was a right side in World War II but that collaboration with the Nazis by some national figures can be justified.

Russia, on the contrary, is less ready  than other nations to see World War II as a civil conflict and its narratives provide no option for the integration of Russian collaborationists into the country’s history. Such attempts have taken place, but not at the school textbook level.   

It is clear  that differences in historical “optics” make it very unlikely that incongruent versions of World War II will merge in  the near  future. This also means that well - meaning projects to establish “jointly written history textbooks” cannot be successful for now. It is nearly impossible to marry two national narratives, each aiming to unify one nation.   

It is thus advisable not to politicize differences in historical understanding. The abolition in February 2012 of the infamous Russian presidential commission to  “Counter Attempts to Falsify History to the Detriment of Russia's Interests” provides  the   possibility of a needed end to an era when internal identity problems exercised  a huge influence on the international relations  of  the region. Historians in Central a nd East Europe should continue working to find common ground when dealing with identity questions, political pressures, and professional responsibilities.
Взгляд вправо

Российско-американские сюжеты

К середине XIX века не было, вероятно, более знаменитого ученого в области океанографии, чем Мэтью Мори (Matthew F. Maury). Да иногда считают, что Мори и был создателем этой науки, определив и опубликовав карты океанских течений, предложив оптимальные пути движения судов, описав миграции китов, а также сделав десятки открытий в области описания океана. Его называли "следопытом морей", "отцом современной океанографии и морской метеорологии", "ученым морей"...

Мэтью Фонтейн Мори (1806 - 1873)

В 1861 году ему предлагал самые лучшие условия в России сам генерал-адмирал, брат императора Великий князь Константин. В Америке как раз разразилась Гражданская война, и русское правительство ожидало, что предложение будет принято... Но обо всем по порядку.
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