July 03, 2020

Next on your Summer Reading List: Putin



Next on your Summer Reading List: Putin
A better fisherman, apparently, than a historian. The RussianLife files

Several German history professors received a surprising email last week from the Russian Embassy in Berlin. The subject line? "Article by Vladimir Putin."

The Russian Embassy reported sent out copies of this article (in German, of course) to several academics, encouraging them to use it in history classes. The article, written to coincide with the 75th celebration of Russia's Victory Day (postponed this year due to the virus), was met with surprise and dismissal by most academics, who see it as historical revisionism and ham-handed propaganda.

Polish leaders, too, have condemned the piece, citing its "blaming" of Poland for its own double-invasion by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.

If nothing else, the article reinforces that history – and its interpretation – is fluid and fraught with biases.

"My guess is that quite a large number of colleagues will use Putin's text as a source that can be studied to learn more about the mechanisms of politics of history in general, and antagonistic memory culture in particular," said one scholar.

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Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
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Fish: A History of One Migration

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