(Ab)use of History for Political and Ideological Purposes Spain, Russian Federation, Poland, and Croatia

Alejandro Quiroga, Spanish historian, Research Fellow at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain) and a reader in Spanish History at Newcastle University (UK). Author of numerous books and articles on history and national identities.
Sergei Medvedev, Russian historian, professor at Free University in Moscow. His most recent book on Putin’s Russia, The Return of the Russian Leviathan, has won the Pushkin House Book Prize as the best English-language nonfiction book on Russia in 2020.
Piotr Buras, Polish journalist, head of the Warsaw Office of the European Council on Foreign Relations. His research focuses on Poland in the EU. Europe’s Futures Alumnus.
Hrvoje Klasić, Croatian historian, assistant professor, University of Zagreb. Author of numerous books, articles, and blogs on modern Croatian history. Recipient of the Award for the Promotion of Peacebuilding, Non-Violence, and Human Rights. Received death threats due to his critical approach to Croatia’s recent history.

History has become a fluid concept: facts are silenced or manipulated, revision and manipulation of the past are used, abused, or distorted to fit ideological narratives and fight political opponents. Previously established truths (and values) are questioned: for example, praising fascist leaders and/or dictators is no longer a taboo. Manipulation of history, just like fake news, generates uncertainties and challenges democratic values.

Political leaders in Spain, Russia, Poland, and Croatia have the experience in using and abusing history for political purposes.