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Back to the Old Days

Some quotes from Andrew Osborn’s piece in the Wall Street Journal on Russia’s new history commission.

“One year ago Mr. Medvedev said he preferred freedom to non-freedom,” said Alexander Cherkasov of human-rights group Memorial. “Initiatives of this sort have never led to greater freedom.” Mr. Cherkasov compared the commission to Soviet-era bodies that had tried to establish a monopoly on various scientific and ideological truths. (…)

Historian and author Orlando Figes, a professor at the University of London, says the new commission is part of a clampdown on historical scholarship.

“They’re idiots if they think they can change the discussion of Soviet history internationally,” Prof. Figes said. “But they can make it hard for Russian historians to teach and publish. It’s like we’re back to the old days.”