Russia scrubs Kyiv and Ukraine from school textbooks, reports

A censored text.
A censored text. Copyright Canva Stock Images
Copyright Canva Stock Images
By Gael Camba
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Some Russian textbooks have allegedly removed references to Kyiv and Ukraine, with analysts claiming Moscow is "rewriting history".


Censorship has allegedly started to infiltrate new school textbooks in Russia, according to Mediazona, an independent Russian media outlet.

The opposition news site reported on Thursday that in the latest edition of the fourth-grade textbook 'The World Around Us' several references to Kyiv and Ukraine have been erased.

Compared to 2021, the new edition contains many modified sections, wrote Mediazona.

References to the Ukrainian capital were scrubbed from sections about the history of Kyivan Rus, a state that spanned modern Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. 

The past edition stated the chronicle "The Tale of Bygogne Years" was written by Nestor, a monk from the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves. In the new version, Nestor is simply called a monk.

The old textbook edition states that the monk Nestor lived in Kyiv-Pechersk Lara while the new one doesn't mention where he lived and only calls him a monk.Mediazona

When discussing Prince Igor, the older copy states he "began to rule in Kyiv", whereas the new one says he "began to rule Russia".

Employees of the Prosveshchenie (Enlightenment) publishing house, which created the book, told Mediazona they were asked to remove "inappropriate" references to Ukraine and Kyiv from all school textbooks.

We have a task to make it look as if Ukraine simply does not exist
Publishing house Prosveshchenie editor

"We have a task to make it look as if Ukraine simply does not exist," a Prosveshchenie employee is quoted as saying by Mediazona. 

"It's hugely problematic when a textbook simply has no information about a country. A child grows up without any knowledge about this country, it would be much easier for them to believe the TV."

Some other subtle changes were made to the educational book. The previous edition says Prince Vladimir baptised all the people in Kyiv, now the new one only states "in the capital". 

'Unified' textbooks issued for next year

The new textbooks have been printed, but are not yet on sale. 

Mediazona's source from Prosveshchenie says the books will be issued by the end of spring for the next school year.

"If possible, it is better not to mention Ukraine at all. Now the textbooks mention Kyiv mostly in the context of Kyivan Rus and the liberation of the city during the Second World War," one editor told Mediazona.

"We are free to describe how the Soviet army saved Kyiv, but independent Ukraine is out of the question."

In December, Sergei Kravtsov, Russian Minister of Education, announced the creation of "unified textbooks on the history of Russia and on world history", which would take into account the "historical events that took place this year".

"This is the beginning of a special military operation, and the entry into the Russian Federation of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, and unprecedented sanctions pressure. These facts, of course, will be reflected in new textbooks," the minister said.

Russian authorities say they are also preparing teaching materials that will "clarify the role of Kyiv" in Russian history. 

These materials are set to be delivered for the next school year.


Sharing the story on Twitter, analyst Alex Kokcharov wrote: "Russia is re-writing history yet again".

Additional sources • Mediazona

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