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26 Jan, 2021 11:30

Putin instructs Russian parliament to legislate for ban on equating actions of Soviet Union to Nazi Germany in WWII

Putin instructs Russian parliament to legislate for ban on equating actions of Soviet Union to Nazi Germany in WWII

The last shots might have been fired 75 years ago, but the memory of the Second World War is still a battleground for those looking to rewrite history. Now, Russia is weighing up a law aimed at tackling that revisionism.

On Saturday, President Vladimir Putin ordered the national Parliament to prepare a draft bill to establish a ban on “publicly equating the role of the Soviet Union with that of Nazi Germany in WWII.” Vyacheslav Volodin, the country’s top MP, will now develop a plan for the legislation to be considered in the spring.

The idea of the ban was first put forward by Elena Yampolskaya, who heads up the parliamentary Culture Committee. In October last year, she put forward proposals to counter what she described as attempts to challenge the consensus around the USSR’s role in the war.

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“I believe that if the editors of our publishing houses do not have enough intelligence, conscience and disgust to withdraw such passages, they should be helped by legislation,” the lawmaker said during a Presidential Council meeting. “It seems to me that we have the moral right to toughen the law when it comes to desecrating our historical memory.”

At the time, Putin welcomed the idea, saying “we need to be careful, of course, but we should do it. If in some countries there are laws against denying the Armenian genocide, [for example], then God himself has probably ordered us to legislate to protect the very recent past.”

The president had previously expressed concern around historical revisionism. In an article last summer to mark three-quarters of a century since the end of the war, Putin said that Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union “deserved many just accusations.” However, he went on, “forgetting the lessons of history inevitably turns comes with a heavy retribution. We will firmly defend the truth based on documented historical facts, and we will continue to honestly and impartially talk about the events of World War II.”

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