In Riga historians have come to a course "From the Baltic to the Pacific ocean: the General history of Northern Eurasia" as part of an educational project polycola the Cres, founded by a former Yukos lawyer Pavel Ivlev.

"Ended Empire, which for many years held together very different peoples and the land, — says Ilya Gerasimov. — I want to understand this experience. But it is impossible to tell about Russia, while remaining exclusively within the borders of modern Russian Federation and saying nothing, for example, about Kiev, Riga, Vilnius... There are still some General scene — from the Carpathians to the Far East, from the White sea to Turkestan, the interaction it was more than, say, Spain.

You cannot look at Russian history through "the glory of Russian arms". Moreover, until the end of the last century could not understand who the Russians are and what language they speak. In the Nizhny Novgorod region, the observation of the compiler of the Explanatory dictionary of Dahl, the people spoke so different Russian that not everyone knew each other. In other terms, these languages would be... We realize that the word "Empire" today is dangerously overloaded with meanings, and the proposal to establish a "shared history" can cause a negative reaction, saying that first you want to create a shared history, and then back to the borders of the Empire... It is not so, history is about the past".

Без этнических чисток. Российские историки из США об опасности веры в титульную нацию на "исторической территории"
Foto: DELFI

On the photo: the teachers of the course "a New Imperial history of Northern Eurasia" Alexander Semyonov (Professor of history, Higher school of Economics Saint-Petersburg), Ilya Gerasimov (Ab Imperio Inc, Haverkort the Center for Russian and post-Soviet studies at Miami University in Ohio) and Marina Mogilner (University of Illinois at Chicago).

For 17 years, created by Ilya and Marina the journal AB Imperio published articles in Russian and English languages for more than thousand specialists of Northern Eurasia — from the countries of the former Soviet Union and abroad. One time AB Imperio published from Russia and was funded by grants from different funds — Soros, MacArthur, Carnegie. Now comes at the expense of the money received for the subscription. However, in the libraries of Russia the journal is sent free of charge. Despite the fact that Ilya Gerasimov and Marina Mogilner three years ago left Russia — they say that today they are safer to work in the United States. And it does not interfere with regularly to come back home.

- What you do not like how the Russian story today?

Ilya: — This is done in the best traditions of the 50-ies of the last century, only ceasing to praise communism and to blame Jews.

In Russia, history textbooks sound like this: our ancestors, the Slavs, blue-eyed blondes, from the 9th century on their land went to its statehood, along the way battling with the encroaching upon her enemies...

From here and feet grow all the current manifestations of nationalism: our Slavs, other — alien, if the crisis in the country and its not enough — we need to kick all the other people. It's a terrible imagination on the basis of "blood and soil", alas, is still in force. Our objective is to offer a new language to talk about the past without ethnic cleansing and the silence...

In the early 2000s, we had an optimistic vision that our journal may become the basis for modern Russian history, based on a new methodology that we have eyes, a new generation of historians who are open to the world — everywhere I go, learn, watch, listen. We ourselves — from these: in the early 90s got basic knowledge at the University of Kazan, in ' 94 graduated with a master degree in Central European University of Budapest (then lectured many Western luminaries, who were interested in the post-Soviet space), and doctoral programs in the United States, having defended in Russia.

Marina: For many scientists 90 years was a disaster, but we discovered a completely unique opportunity for that we are grateful to the Soros Foundation. Even students in 1992 we were in a competition of school textbooks which the education Ministry did with the money Soros was there, the Moscow bosses, and we got to the third level. Even then, we intuitively understood that we must fight thumb supply scheme of Russian history. However, as many historians of the 1990s, absolyutizirovat "facts" as an alternative to sociological models. For example, in the Chapter about the revolution of 1905 put an illustration... a diagram of the Assembly of the explosive device the terrorists. Today it would, of course, is unrealistic!

In 1993 we received a grant for $ 300 for research — huge for those times money, by which learned English. Then, with the help of the Soros Foundation, he enrolled at the Central European University in Budapest... what to say, the Soros Foundation in the ' 90s helped to save the Russian science: Russian scientists have received research money, young — the chance to learn in an international summer school or to participate in the exchange program, library money on books, universities — good teachers were underpaid them Soros...

Ilya: — We didn't want our magazine was financed with the money of any state, it seemed logical that the publication about the history of Russia to go to Russia. So we did, until the authorities start a real fight with non-governmental organizations, after three inspections (Ministry of Finance, of justice and of the Prosecutor's office), which yielded no results, but did not like to work, we decided not to wait, when we declared an enemy of the people...

Fortunately, Marina got a place named after Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was popular knowledge in the field of Imperial history of a large region

- Throughout history, the Russian "pendulum" is not just swayed in the direction of European values, in reverse. What is the reason? When you have to wait again to visit us? Not the tanks, of course.

Ilya: — We are historians — we are not talking about the future... I was always offended by a myth about a "Imperial gene", which causes her to swallow and to enslave all around. But just in the 90s, when the polls showed sympathy for the West and NATO, there is no "normal national unity" was not understood that we live in the country are very different people and sudden movements to do. Threat it has become in the 2000s, after the second Chechen war were able to realize the ideal of the Russian nation-state — that it swallowed the hook with the Crimea...

With regard to Western Europe, then this is the place where ethnic cleansing were when "can" was held in the 17th century. For example, in Provence in the South of France, the laws allow foreigners and infidels to burn. The Huguenots in France was executed in 1765. Talked to the Turks (the Ottoman Empire, which since the 19th century was called "the sick man of Europe") that is necessary to protect religious freedom and Christians, and themselves Protestants, were executed and later machine-gunned the colonial people of Africa. That is, today, Europe stands for the values that a hundred years ago are easily broken. But it is one and the same Europe? Or different?

These are key questions of modern society: what do we do with outsiders, as defined by their own and might look like a new order. They are acute and in front of Latvia and to Russia, and to America to Europe. Especially in the background throughout the failed policy of multiculturalism. This problem has been a specialty of the Russian Empire. For example, Catherine the great understood this perfectly and wrote about uneven device multilingual, multi-religious and multicultural society, which she had to manage a ...

Now Russia is doing exactly the opposite — trying to build a homogeneous society. After all, there implement... the ideal of the Third French Republic, which arose because of the defeat of the Germans in 1871, and directly led to the first world. Russia is doing exactly the same. Turns out, she is this Europe that any longer.

- Only late?

Ilya: - Well as you say... for Example, in one of the regions of Russia, Tatarstan, where the Tatars now make up about half of the population, the Tatar language five times a week taught in school mandatory. Though taught pretty bad. Here you have Russian language five times a week in all the schools studied?

- Only in minority schools. And in Latvian schools only as a second foreign.

Ilya: — So one of us was late?

Marina: — Look at Poland, with its current brand natsikovskim the regime and the rhetoric that marginalisiert everyone who is not Catholic and not a pole who left and dissident — is that a Europe or not? Europe is a set of values that continue to change.

Ilya: — Western Europe at different times, many criticized the decision of the Baltic national governments, that did not prevent the Baltic States to join the EU and... to continue in the same spirit. Or back to the poles: they got huge subsidies on agriculture from Europe and Germany, as refugees do not want to let because they can demolish their European values...

Trying to make a point: Russia is an exaggerated mirror of a stage-version of the idealized Europe of the late 19th century. In those days Russia was in many ways, more European than Europe. For example, the level of death sentences in comparison with Britain, in Russia there was actually a moratorium...

We must not be afraid of the fact that Russia is not in Europe, and the fact that she is now at a stage of building a territorial nation, which in the twentieth century happened in two world wars. That is, because the idea that one place with a stranger not fit physically. Interwar Europe was a common space of nationalization. Before Hitler occupied a country, many of them are already introduced anti-Jewish measures in the