Friday, June 12, 2009

Alarm in Baltic as Kremlin seizes control of Soviet past

Medvedev bans the 'falsification of history to the detriment of Russia'

By Shaun Walker in Riga

In Russia it is not only the future that is unpredictable; often the past is equally in doubt. One minute Leon Trotsky was a hero of the Revolution, the father of the Red Army and a strong contender to succeed Lenin; the next minute he never existed. Until the late 1980s, the 1917 Revolution was the pinnacle of human achievement; suddenly in the 1990s it was seen as an utter failure.

And today again history in the region is turning into an ideological battlefield. When the Red Army poured into the Baltic states at the end of the Second World War, it liberated them from Nazi tyranny – but from the perspective of the subsequent decades of Soviet domination, was it liberation or merely another invasion?

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