I wasn't disappointed.
In a series of succinct and spot-on posts about Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's newly created "Commission to Counteract Attempts at Falsifying History to Damage the Interests of Russia," frontovki member DStone raises all the right issues and asks all the right questions.
The commission's composition, for example, is the first thing that should raise eyebrows:
Indeed, of the 28 members on the commission, DStone notes that there are only three people who can really be called historians (two researchers and an archivist). The other 25 members are bureaucrats and politicians.
The blog also takes Medvedev to task for his lack of specifics:
And if the Kremlin leader really wants everybody to have an accurate historical record, DStone has a novel idea:
Indeed, the commission's chair, Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergei Naryshkin, also happens to head the agency in charge of declassifying archived materials!
Finally, the blog notes Medvedev's alarming use of Stalin-era language:
In a recent column in "The Moscow Times," opposition politician and former State Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov takes this Stalinist meme a step farther in discussing the possible motives for the commission:
Leonid Brezhnev continued this tradition during his 18 years in power. He created the 70th and 190th clauses of the Criminal Code concerning 'anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda' and 'slanderous fabrications that discredited the Soviet system.' These clauses served as the formal basis to sentence Vladimir Bukovsky, Pyotr Grigorenko, Valeria Novodvorskaya, Zhores Medvedev, Andrei Almarik and many others to years in confinement in psychiatric institutions.
In the shadows of this harrowing legacy, Medvedev has created the commission on historical falsification. He paid particular attention to the problem of "revising the results of World War II." Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov went even further, calling for criminal prosecution for anyone 'repudiating the results of World War II.' Mironov has targeted those who question the bravery of the Red Army and Soviet people during World War II. If his proposal becomes law, a Russian or foreigner who doubts the 'genius' of Stalin as commander-in-chief during World War II or questions whether the people in the Warsaw Pact nations really 'obtained their freedom' could be sent to prison for three to five years."
Ryzhkov points out that "the irony in this farce is that the worst falsifiers of history by far have been Russian and Soviet authorities," adding that Medvedev's commission "creates a direct threat to historians and ordinary citizens trying to research the history of the war objectively."
And that would appear to be the point of the whole exercise.
-- Brian Whitmore