New History Textbooks: "Great Patriotic War returned", OUN cut


In the new history textbook which will be used from September, the term “Great Patriotic War” for the Soviet War against Nazi Germany (from 22 June 1941) has been returned (instead of the use of World War II).  The term Orange Revolution has disappeared, and information about the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists  (OUN) and Ukrainian Resistance Army (UPA) has been reduced.

The tender was originally won by three books – those of Olena Pometun, Oleksy Stukevych and Stanislav Kulchytsky. The latter book by a historian known for his studies, among other things, on Holodomor (which he considers genocide) was removed, leaving history to be taught using two textbooks.

According to the newspaper Segodnya, the textbooks have changed a lot – with the return to 11 grades all curriculums have been reduced.  The term “Great Patriotic War” is given pride of place as title to the relevant section.  While the information about OUN-UPA is reduced, Segodnya does not see any pronounced anti-nationalist line – the struggle by the UPA and that by Soviet partisans is presented in roughly equal amounts.  The participants in the nationalist movement are called fighters against Stalinist totalitarianism, but at the same time are mentioned among the list of collaborators.

There are only a few paragraphs describing Maidan 2004 (the Orange Revolution) and without either the term “Orange Revolution” or any value judgements.

“The largest number of votes were received by V. Yushchenko and V. Yanukovych. But the opposition turned to demonstrations, accusing the authorities of rigging the vote count. On a suit from the opposition, the Supreme Court declared the results of the second round invalid and called a rerun. In the end Viktor Yushchenko won the elections”.

The description of modern events ends with the election in 2010 of Viktor Yanukovych President and a phrase that he cancelled the amendments to the Constitution and Ukraine once again became a Presidential-parliamentary republic. This is also given without any opinion.

On the other hand, there was no such restraint in describing the delicate Church issue. The author writes that “the level of national awareness of Ukrainians” impacts upon the popularity of one or other Church in various regions of the country. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church are more widespread in western and central regions, while in eastern and southern regions the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate dominates. The newspaper asks how the “level of national awareness” in this case is reflected. Who, according to the author, is less nationally aware?  The newspaper writes that either answer will offend.

Abridged from the report at

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