In our country, it has always been difficult to go against the opinion of the current government. Opposition in any form in Russia is doomed to failure, for some reason the people are laughing and are not following the loners opposing the government. But there is one organization in the state that, by its activity, does not pretend to change power, but seeks to smooth out and prevent authoritarian influence on society, youth and the Russian consciousness. This is a free historical society. This organization includes prominent and recognized scientists from all over Russia, their goal is to prevent the authorities from putting history in the service of ideology and politics.
People learned that this is a Free Historical Society in 2014, when a group of professional historians announced the creation of an “Association for the Promotion and Promotion of Historical Knowledge.” Their main position is based on complete independence from the influence of official state bodies. They wanted to write and distribute educational literature without a raid of political order, to educate young people not only in the spirit of love for the current government, but also with the promise of developing their own, independent opinion.
The charter and manifesto of the organization was created, which spelled out the basic criteria for the work of its members, rights and obligations. The main goal is to create a critically thinking society, to teach a person to make decisions regardless of the majority opinion. Members of the Free Historical Society expressed concern about the growing chaos in the interpretation of historical events. Free access to documents on the Internet gave rise to a whole stream of obscurantist understanding of history.
The organization also set a goal to find and bring to the open water pseudoscientific and imaginary professors with fake diplomas and dissertations. Scientists were seriously concerned about the large number of random people in science, discrediting it in the eyes of the public.
At the first meeting of the Free Historical Society, the principles of the work of its members were deduced, a manifesto was written and published. The gathered representatives of historical and related sciences decided to create an organization that will never seek support from either government departments or political parties. In their society, they called on everyone who cares about the true history of their country, those who are somehow connected with the study of the past.
The members of a free society set themselves the following tasks:
- to shape humanities in such a way as to inspire confidence on the part of the people;
- to exert efforts to unite specialists in this field from different regions of Russia, to develop a common strategy of behavior and activities;
- work with foreign scientists and the foreign public in order to form true ideas about Russia among foreigners;
- commenting on the statements of political leaders regarding the assessment of a particular historical situation;
- a fierce struggle with falsified and unverified information, regardless of the object of its distribution;
- opposition to attempts to restrict the freedom of activity of members of this society, as well as other independent organizations;
- pursuing a policy of declassifying information about past events;
- creation of conditions for the formation of each citizen the correct orientation in terms of studying the past of their country, the ability to consciously interpret certain events.
In addition, society set itself the goal of popularizing interest in history by publishing books, brochures and other print media with similar information.
The head of the Free Historical Society is Nikita Sokolov, editor of the journal "Domestic Notes", previously he worked at the Presidential Center. B. N. Yeltsin.
Another no less eminent founder was Danilevsky Igor Nikolaevich, a specialist in the history of Ancient Russia, professor and doctor of historical sciences. The author of many works on the study of monuments of ancient Slavic culture.
Igor Innokentyevich Dyatlov, professor at Irkutsk State University, also made a great contribution to the formation of society’s ideas. For many years, the scientist has been studying the appearance and development of various foreign diasporas in Russia.
Members of society
In addition to the above people, members of the Free Historical Society are:
- Ivanchik Askold Igorevich - member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, doctor of historical sciences.
- Ivanov Sergey Arkadievich - historian, specialist in the study of the Middle Ages and the culture of the Byzantine Empire; often gives public lectures on television and in the country's institutions.
- Katsva Leonid Aleksandrovich - a well-known compiler of history books in Russia, teaches in one of the gymnasiums of Moscow; periodically performs on the radio "Echo of Moscow"; on his account more than 10 textbooks and manuals for secondary and high school.
- Konstantin Nikolaevich Morozov - works at the Russian Presidential Academy of Economics, doctor of historical sciences, associate professor; the direction of interest is the study of the Social Revolutionary Party.
In terms of promoting ideas to the masses, another member of the society is helping - Evgeny Viktorovich Anisimov, professor and doctor of historical sciences, leading researcher at the St. Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Since the beginning of the 2000s, he conducted active educational activities on television, under his leadership a series of programs “Palace Coups” and “The Cabinet of History” were broadcast on the “Culture” channel. He is the author of two history books.
All members of society live and work in different regions of the country and meet only at scientific conferences or regular meetings of their organization. And yet there are special requirements for the social and propaganda activities of scientists. Photos of a free historical society usually appear in the press in the context of various public discussions and lectures. Similar events are held with the participation of reputable public and scientific organizations: the Gaidar Foundation, Memorial and others. Almost unchangeable leader is Nikolai Svanidze, a well-known journalist and historian in Russia.
Since 2015, monthly conferences are held to exchange thoughts and knowledge, consider new methods and approaches to the study of history. The venues are different, most often Moscow or St. Petersburg, but often members of the society are found in other cities of the country.
In addition, the organization has its own website where everyone can ask a question to any member of the Free Historical Society, as well as learn about future meetings and topics of conversation.
Question about the school curriculum
One of the main tasks of the new organization was the creation of a unified system of standards for conducting classes at school. The existing standard has a number of serious shortcomings, in particular, there are three approved textbooks that contain gross errors and shortcomings. Teachers are now offered to make a choice in favor of a particular program when they have not actually been acquainted with it.
According to members of society, the flow of information itself should change. Today, students are forced to cram paragraphs and dates, and it is worthwhile to focus on the fact that they learn to independently search for sources, read and analyze facts.
One of the last quite critical statements of the members of the Free Historical Society about Medinsky. Distinguished scholars sharply criticized his dissertation, and also noted a number of violations during the adoption by the commission of a decision to confer a degree to Vladimir Rostislavovich Medinsky. The minister of culture was put in a complaint of inability to work with sources, ignorance of elementary terms, and generally groundlessness of his scientific work.
But the main indignation of the members of the Free Historical Society was caused by the fact that the official, using his authority, conducts a policy destructive for society in terms of acquainting himself with the historical truth. Medinsky himself argued that "the reliability of the past does not exist," thereby misleading ordinary people. At the end of their message, members of the society called on the dissertation council of the University of Belgorod to deprive the Medinsky academic degree.
Not all journalists, and especially political and public companies, support and recognize the activities of an independent organization. Some call the Free Historical Society the fifth column of Russia, trying to impose its opinion and influence events in the country. Particularly fierce opponents rank them among the guilds of alternative historians, without delving into the details of their true activities.
For example, members of society were accused of wanting to bring to the light all the dirty and discrediting details of the Great Patriotic War or the repressions of Stalin. Journalists did not like the desire to objectively and truthfully evaluate these events not from the point of view of the current political regime, but from the side of reality, sometimes frightening and cruel.
The question of who finances the Free Historical Society has been repeatedly asked. Many scholars were challenged by the availability of grants and subsidies from foreign institutions. Assessment of the activities of society can only give really competent in this matter bodies. But the question is really crucial - what should be the historical truth in Russia.