Moscow have unveiled a new schoolbook aims to justify the war
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In a new schoolbook, Moscow authorities accuse the West of attempting to destroy Russia and justify the Ukrainian war.

In excerpts published by Russian media, schoolchildren will be taught that human civilisation could have ended if Vladimir Putin had not launched his “special military operation” against Ukraine.

A textbook, entitled “Russian History, 1945 – early 21st century”, was co-authored by presidential adviser Vladimir Medinsky, formerly the Russian culture minister.

The book is the first to mention events as recent as the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022.

It will be taught from September in the 11th year of secondary education in Russia, which is attended by 17-year-olds.

According to the textbook, Western powers spread “undisguised Russophobia” to destabilize the situation within Russia.

Then they began “dragging” Russia into various conflicts. According to the schoolbook, the West seeks to destroy Russia and take control of its mineral wealth.

According to its narrative, Ukraine is an aggressive state run by nationalist extremists and manipulated by the West, which allegedly uses the country as a “battering ram” against Russia. It repeats several clichés from Kremlin propaganda.

Ukraine is little more than a Western creation made to spite Russia, and even Ukraine’s blue-and-yellow flag was invented by the Austrians to convince Ukrainians that they are different from Russians.

Distortion and manipulation are also prevalent in the textbook.

Among its depictions of the initial Russian attack on Ukraine in 2014 are residents of eastern Donbas who “wanted to remain Russian” and who were aided by “volunteers” from Russia. There is no mention of the military hardware and personnel Russia sent to Donbas at the time or over the next eight years.

It argues that the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO was one of the key reasons for the full-scale invasion in 2022.

The textbook says that Russia would have been forced to wage war against the entire Nato alliance if Ukraine had joined the alliance and then “provoked a conflict in Crimea or Donbas”.

A schoolbook states: “This could have ended civilisation. We cannot allow this to happen.”

Ukrainian membership in NATO, however, remained a distant possibility at the time – and remains so today.

According to the textbook, Ukraine also planned to convert Russia’s Black Sea Fleet’s base at Sevastopol into a Nato base before annexing Crimea in 2014 and later claimed it wanted nuclear weapons.

In the textbook, it is also stated that until 2014, 80% of Ukrainians considered Russian their native language. Ukrainian was named the mother tongue of 52% of Ukrainian residents, according to a 2006 poll by the reputable Razumkov Centre.

Apparently referring to the abundance of online material implicating Russian forces in the atrocities committed in Ukraine, the textbook warns schoolchildren about “a global industry manufacturing staged clips and fake photos and videos”.

In a chapter about the “special military operation”, the textbook says Western media and social networks enthusiastically spread fake news.

As a result of accusations that Russian troops were targeting civilians in Ukraine, Russian authorities have jailed activists in the past. Ilya Yashin, a Kremlin critic who discussed suspected Russian war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine, in an online live stream, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years in December 2022.

Western sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine are criticized in the textbook as attempts to “destroy Russia’s economy”. In addition, the article wrongly states that these sanctions “violate all the norms of international law which the West is fond of quoting”.

Nevertheless, the exodus of Western businesses from Russia after the full-scale invasion is presented as an “exciting opportunity” for Russian companies.