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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Government Calls for Rosier History in School Textbooks

The government ordered a makeover of modern history textbooks Thursday after Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said current ones made light of the gains and values of post-communist society.

Skeptical television commentators suggested he wanted more references to President Vladimir Putin ? elected only a year and a half ago.

?I had a good look at some excerpts and will say that I found many surprising things,? Kasyanov told a government meeting in televised comments.

?I believe it is incorrect that there is no reference to the values of a democratic society, the necessity of changing the economy or to the people?s choice of market reform. All this occurred through ? free direct elections.?

Kasyanov said he was particularly shocked by references, 10 years after the collapse of Soviet rule, to communist-era notions such as ?working class? and ?working intelligentsia.? He was also shocked by post-Soviet terms such as ?unbridled crime.?

But NTV television said ministers might have been moved more by insufficient references to Putin in most textbooks and none at all in books intended for ninth-year pupils.

The report suggested that praise for former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who led the country?s recovery from its 1998 financial collapse, might also have proved irritating. Primakov was considered a contender for president before Putin?s rise to power.

News reports also said ministers were unhappy with long descriptions of the hardships of reforms introduced in the period of turmoil following the collapse of Soviet rule.

Academics said it would take time ? at least one school year ? to remove inappropriate references.

The overhaul of textbooks was a major task in realigning education after the 1991 downfall of communism. Soviet books taught Marxist-Leninist ideology, lionized the country?s leaders and blatantly gave the communist version of events throughout the world.