200.000 Roubles as a Fine for a Bad Knowledge of History

A month ago, the regional court of Perm Krai convicted Vladimir Luzgin, for the first time in provincial practice, according to Article 354.1 ‘Rehabilitation of Nazism’ of the Criminal Code, Part One—‘public denial of facts identified by the sentence of the International Military Tribunal for judgement and punishment of the main military criminals of the European states of the Axis, public condoning of the crimes identified by above-noted sentence, as well as dissemination of knowingly false fabrications about the activity of the Soviet Union in the years of World War II’,  that was enacted in a hurry two years ago.  The ‘criminal’ was sentenced to a fine of 200 thousand roubles, that is not too bad, as the maximum punishment in that part is three years of imprisonment.  A criminal case was opened after Luzgin shared in VKontakte social network a link to a propagandistic article of an unknown author, ‘Fifteen Facts about Banderites, or What Kremlin Keeps Silent about’.  As the investigation showed, a huge number of people could read that article by Luzgin’s link—as much as… twenty persons.

What can I say about it?  The text of the article can easily be found in the Internet, and it’s certainly nothing but rubbish.  The author tries to varnish reputation of Stepan Bandera, the infamous leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists during the Second World War, but without any success, as Bandera’s hands are coated with too much innocent blood.  The author also doesn’t know history well, otherwise he wouldn’t have written that ‘communists and Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 and thus set off the Second World War’.  As I can understand, it was this phrase that our prosecutors were so angry about.  I can also imagine that a person who shares a link to such a material in a social network is not well-educated either.

What I can’t understand at all, however, is what does this have to do with the Criminal Code.  Especially as the Soviet Union did invade Poland, although not on 1 September, but ‘only’ on 17 September 1939, and did it in accordance to the secret protocol to the German–Soviet non-aggression pact of 23 August.  This fact, of course, was not under consideration at the Nuremberg trials, and we know why.

Of course the case of Luzgin is a purely political process, one could expect something worse in the ‘post-Crimean’ period.  Of course it wasn’t an attempt to establish any kind of censorship.  Nevertheless, this story means that full-aged citizens of this country, if they don’t know history well enough, have now a good chance to get not just a bad mark, but a criminal sentence.  Especially if the issue is the Second World War.  Learn your lessons properly, guys…

Web-conference “Russia in the First World War: New trends and research directions”

Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, German Historical Institute in Moscow and Centre for French and Russian studies in Moscow are going to organize an international web-conference “Russia in the First World War: New trends and research directions” in August–October.  The main goal of the conference is to discuss the modern approaches to the history of Russia’s participation in World War I, new viewpoints and interpretations, new research directions and their perspectives.  The official announcement can be seen here (in Russian) 🙂

A Few Words about Bibiliography


A new collection of documents on Soviet foreign policy in interwar period was published in 2011. Let’s see its bibliographical entry (the original book is in Russian). Moscow–Berlin: Policy and Diplomacy of the Kremlin, 1920–1941 (Moscow, 2011). Volume 1 (1926) has 1031 page. Volume 2 (1927–1932, six years) has 755 pages. Volume 3 (1933–1941, nine years, the most interesting period) has only 690 pages. It’s really a good illustration of today’s archival policy in Russia.

Escape from Besieged Leningrad and Perilous Journeys

This letter has been found in the papers of my Washington housing owner Lisa Ritchie. Its author experienced not only the hell of besieged Leningrad, but also imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp, an escape from it and then a journey along Germany in the last months before the collapse of the Third Reich. The original text is a typescript in English, in British spelling. It has five pages, but since the third page, the pagination starts from the beginning. The letter is not signed, but Lisa thinks it was sent to her grandmother Elizavietta Hartmann Artamonoff by one of her friends soon after the Second World War had finished (the Artamonoff family moved from Russia to the USA in the early 1920s, but Lisa’s grandmother could leave the USSR only in 1933).

Below is the text of the letter with Lisa’s introduction and my comments (all of them are put in square brackets or placed in the endnotes). The author’s spelling and punctuation are kept without any change except obvious misprints. I kept also the original paragraphs, although in a newspaper publication of the letter, Lisa divided some of them into more short ones (she mentions this in her introduction).

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A collection of reviews and library-research papers, “Fatherland War of 1812 in Modern Historiography”, has been published

A new collection of reviews and library-research papers, Fatherland War of 1812 in Modern Historiography (in Russian), prepared by our Department, has been published. You can buy it, for example, here: http://www.ani-books.ru/vcd-40-1-2478/goodsinfo.html (70 rubles).

I am going to post it here as soon as possible, my own materials are already posted.

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