Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
I think it will be right if we once again congratulate the Russian National Library on its 175th anniversary. We wish its staff, all the readers and everyone who loves this library success and all the best, success in work and personal happiness. The library’s staff fulfil the unique role of keeping alive the historical memory of our people, and, without any exaggeration, of all of mankind, and do a great deal to ensure that this library not only continues to exist, and does not only keep what it already has, but ensure that it is a living organism, which develops and works in new formats. And they are successful in doing this.
I would like to talk directly about the problems that you deal with professionally. At various times and in various places we have already had the opportunity to talk about this. Today, I would ask you to direct your attention to two main themes.
The first is preserving our archaeological legacy. When we visited Staraya Ladoga, colleagues talked to me about the problem of poor preservation and maintenance of the legacy that we have, about the poor work of appropriate controlling and law-enforcement bodies, and those who should protect the relics of culture and antiquity.
Let us return to this theme once more. I will hear your recommendations with pleasure, and we shall try to implement them.
And secondly – I would like to direct your attention to this, and people who are concerned about the history of our country often direct their attention to this – historical literature, above all, history textbooks.
Quite recently I attended a meeting at the Ministry of Defence and met with veterans there. They once more raised the issue of history textbooks. Of course, it is good that we have a large diversity of literature of this kind. I think that we can be glad that we have left behind the single-party and single ideological interpretation of the history of our country. This is a major achievement, but I think you will agree that we should not go to the other extreme. Modern textbooks, especially textbooks for schools and institutions of higher education, should not become a platform for a new political and ideological struggle. These textbooks should really present historical facts; they should inspire, especially among young people, a feeling of pride for their own history and for their country.
I would not consider it correct to take up a great deal of our meeting with monologues, and I would be pleased to hear what you have to say.