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(Downloadable) Russian War Games

On April 29, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (pictured) called on the country's computer game industry to boost its activity.

He then toured a video game factory near Moscow, where, according to Russian news agency RIA-Novosti, the president was shown "Il-2 Fighter."

"This is a good way to see the development of events at that time," Medvedev said of the World War II simulation featuring Russian combat aircraft.

He went on to acknowledge that many teenagers are more interested in computer games than books.

Now, Russia does have quite a history of producing battle games, including some pre-computer classics, but how accurately do they teach world events?

That depends on the game of course, but as a cautionary anecdote, let us revisit the case of “Confrontation – Peace Enforcement.”

The game, which hit Russian shelves in the wake of the 2008 war with Georgia, inserts the player into a new Georgian war.

Here's an excerpt from the game's description:

"NATO can't stay out of it this time, sending out Polish forces as its representative. At the same time, Ukraine blockades the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. The obvious threat to Russia leads to an escalation of the old conflict."

Hopefully no wayward gamer will download "Confrontation -- Peace Enforcement" and mistake it for a history lesson.

Nor is it a realistic scenario for the future, especially given Ukraine’s movement back toward Russia. In fact, Russia's Black Sea Fleet was just given a renewed welcome by the Yanukovych government (or at least some of its members).

Perhaps Medvedev would acknowledge himself that textbooks are, if not a sure bet for an accurate account, a better one.

-- Richard Solash

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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