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Alekseev S. V., Plotnikova O. A. Myths and Falsifications in the History of Russia
(Moscow University for the Humanities,
“Radetel” Historical and Educational Society, Moscow)
Abstract ♦ This article is devoted to the correlation between the concepts of "myth" and "falsification" in the history of Russia. It has been prepared within the framework of the project titled "The impact of historical falsifications and myths on the consciousness and social behavior of modern Russian youth". This study seems still more topical in the light of the current public debate on "demythologizing" and the "war on historical falsifications". These issues have long been brought up by the authorities of the Russian Federation.
We provide some examples of historical myths and mythologized notions, also outlining the periodization of historical mythology, from traditional myths, epics, legends, to their interpretations in state ideologies and the construction of ideologically loaded myths; and finally, to current historical mythology reflected in the ideological constructs, slogans and permissive interpretations of history in mass media.
Our definitions of "myth" and "falsification" are built to reveal their fundamental distinctions. While "myth" is associated with massive phenomena appearing spontaneously and supported by long-term public interest, "falsification" should be understood as deliberate distortion of historical facts in favor of short-term personal or group interests. It is falsification which is the most obvious and dangerous enemy of history, since it often hides beyond the guise of objective historical research. Falsifications can seriously distort mass consciousness, partly because the latter is prone to mythologizing history.
The article presents the outcomes of a survey of expert opinion. Its participants were 30 experts on youth-related issues, professionals working with the young, lecturers and teachers of history and young historians from Moscow, Orel, Saratov and Petrozavodsk. The survey revealed a noticeable lack of unified position on these issues within the professional community.
Keywords: myth, falsifications, history, Russian history, historical mythology
Alekseev Sergey Viktorovich, Doctor of History, Professor and Chair, Department of history, Moscow University for the Humanities; Chair, “Radetel” Historical and Educational Society. Postal address: Bldg. 3, 5 Yunosti St., Moscow, Russiaò Federation, 111395. Tel.: +7 (499) 374-55-81. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Plotnikova Olga Anatolievna, Doctor of History, Associated Professor, Vice-Chair, “Radetel” Historical and Educational Society. Postal address: Bldg. 3, 5 Yunosti St., Moscow, Russian Federation, 111395. Tel.: +7 (499) 374-55-81. E-mail: email@example.com
Citation: Alekseev, S. V., Plotnikova, O. A. (2015) Myths and Falsifications in the History of Russia [ ]. Znanie. Ponimanie. Umenie, no. 1, pp. 161-171. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.17805/zpu.2015.1.15
Submission date: 15.12.2014.
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