Arseny Roginsky: The idea of ‘defending Russian history through legislation’ means enforcing a single interpretation of the past

posted 14 Feb 2014, 02:11 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Feb 2014, 02:19 ]
12 February 2014

Source: (info)
The idea of the members of the United Russia party to ‘defend Russian history through legislation’, as was to be expected, is being fiercely criticized by experts, civil society leaders, academics, writers and people from the arts.

This is the initiative of the head of the Duma Committee on International Affairs Aleksei Pushkov (who is also a regular commentator on Moscow regional TV).

He made his statement in connection with the discussion in the Latvian parliament of legislative amendments to permit criminal prosecution ‘for denying the Soviet and Nazi occupation’.

The historian Arseny Roginsky, head of the International Memorial Society in an interview with the Serebryanyi Dozhd (Silver Rain) radio station described Pushkov’s initiative as ‘an attempt to enforce in Russia a single interpretation of the past’.

‘It seems to me that this is an extremely conservative and – to use the old Soviet term – a reactionary attempt, and one that will not wash at all. The law must be used to stop unwarranted restrictions on freedom, and not limit freedom – the freedom of historical discussion, the freedom of opinion on historical issues. This is an extremely important matter. Only in a situation where free discussion is allowed can there develop a proper, adequate national awareness, but this attempt to introduce certain kinds of restrictions, and using legislation at that, looks like a complete archaism, and attempt to turn the clock back to the kind of intellectual unanimity that existed in the Soviet era, and nothing more. In my view this will simply not do,’ Arseny Roginsky stressed.

Photo: Arseny Roginsky © Yulia Ryzhenko /