Ministry of Education Withdraws Manual on the History of Odessa Due to Mention of Novorossiya

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


The Deputy Minister Pavel Khobzey notified the Department of Education and Science of Odessa Regional State Administration in a special letter.


The scandal over the manual erupted in early November. At the time, a number of “Euromaidan” activists of Odessa, including the notorious Alena Balaba, found out that in the manual, among other things, the word “Novorossiya” is used, as is “special status”, which Odessa had in the Russian Empire, and other politically incorrect things. Moreover, the authors of the manual had the audacity to quote a fellow countryman and contemporary of Richelieu, Charles Sicard, who affirmed that in 1803 he described the deplorable state of the surroundings of the Khadjibey fortress, which calls into question the officially accepted theory of the 600 anniversary of Odessa (it was officially celebrated from 2015, according to the decree of the Verkhovna Rada). Particularly of outrage to the “patriots” was the fact that the authors of the manual, in the part of it that concerns the revolutionary events in the city, quotes Lenin.

The activists’ outrage was also supported by “patriotic” historians, including one of the initiators of the movement “Odessa — 600 years old” Taras Goncharuk, who proposed to write an alternative manual, where facts will be selected and presented in full compliance with the official state ideology.


And judging by the reaction of the Ministry, their appeal was heard.

Meanwhile, one of the authors of the manual, Associate Professor of modern and contemporary history of Mechnikov Odessa University Andrey Pospelov, commented on his page on Facebook about the scandal around the manual in the following way.

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“People who upbraid this manual and inflate a scandal to the whole of Ukraine not only have no relation neither to history nor to school or to education in general. They not only do not see any legal or methodological difference between classical manuals and our manual, but most importantly — they do not understand it at all,” he writes.

“What to include and what not to include in this manual — it was the choice of authors, two of which are me and my colleague O. M. Livchishina have not only a direct relevance to science, but most importantly — a full attitude toward school. I worked there for almost 21 years with only a month break. Tell me colleague-critics, you can boast about something like that?” Many professors and scientists of Mechnikov Odessa University also made many publications in support of Pospelov.

But despite all of this, the stamp of approval of manual was revoked and currently Odessa schools are left without the manual and the corresponding “blessing from above” on the history of their native city.

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