Is the Russian Academy of Sciences soliciting informants to expose sinister plots within its ranks to falsify
This letter to senior staff of the Historical-Philological Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences -- which was obtained by RFE/RL's Russian Service -- seems to suggest they are (here is a link to a scanned copy of the letter
, from the head of the department's history section, Valery Tishkov, in the original Russian):
June 23, 2009
In accordance with the protocol decision of the bureau of the Historical-Philological Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences (OIFN RAN) entitled On the Duties of the OIFN RAN in Connection with the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation dated May 15, 20009, No. 549, entitled On the Presidential Commission Against Efforts to Falsify History to Harm the Interests of Russia we request that you present the following information to the department:
1) An annotated list of historical-cultural falsifications in the areas corresponding to the main areas of activity of your institute (indicating the main sources, individuals, or organizations developing or disseminating the falsification; the potential danger of the given falsification to the interests of Russia; and preliminary recommendations regarding measures for the scholarly refutation of the falsification);
2) Information about the activity of scholars of your institute regarding the exposure of falsifications and historical-cultural concepts that are harmful to the interests of Russia;
3) A contact person or list of scholars for participation in the work of the OIFN RAN commission on the analysis of historical-cultural falsifications that are harmful to the interests of Russia (with telephone numbers and e-mail addresses).
We request that you present this information to the Historical-Philological Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences not later than June 26, 2009.
V.A. Tishkov Deputy Academician-Secretary Historical-Philological Department RAN Director of the History Section of the OIFN RAN Academician
In an interview with Vladimir Tolts of RFE/RL's Russian Service, Tishkov appeared defensive about the letter, claiming that it was just a draft and was written by his research assistant.
Tishkov also suggested that he had problems with President Dmitry Medvedev's decree on the falsification of history, adding: "I made this request so I can formulate my own position on this issue, and perhaps write an article about it for 'Izvestiya' or Rossiiskaya gazeta.'" (You can read the entire interview in Russian here
Tolts and RFE/RL's Russian Service plan to continue following this issue closely -- and the Power Vertical will continue to blog what they find.
-- Brian Whitmore