An interesting analysis caught my eye. It is available at: http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/Special-Reports/The-Truth-About-Truth-Commissions/Analysis. Here are the first few paragraphs:

The new Russian ‘Truth’ Commission has been ironically but intentionally designed to prevent the emergence of any historical narratives that would expose the atrocities of Soviet totalitarianism and undermine the image of a resurgent Russia.

By Ariel Cohen and Khrystyna Kushnir

Truth commissions, bodies set up by governments to examine contentious narratives of the past, apart from being tasked with establishing transitional justice, can also help political leaders uphold historical narratives most favorable to power consolidation. They have proliferated since 1974, with at least 36 established in 32 countries.

For example, the creation of truth commissions in Eastern Europe aimed to increase the legitimacy and popularity of the politicians who established them. The German commission was established by the Bundestag in 1992, and political parties nominated its members instead of selecting politically independent experts. In 1989, Solidarity in Poland gained political capital by establishing a truth commission purporting that it would restore historic justice. All of these commissions interviewed victims and perpetrators and opened up archives to reveal information suppressed by previous regimes.

While the politicization of such commissions is nothing new, the Russian variant is unique on many levels. Established by President Dmitry Medvedev’s decree in May 2009, the Russian “Commission to counter the attempts of falsification of history to the detriment of the interests of Russia,” is a permanent body, as opposed to the temporary, ad hoc commissions of other post-Soviet states.

Most importantly, instead of revealing new factual information about the past, the Commission is hoping to challenge prevailing Eastern European narratives about World War II and whitewash or justify crimes committed by the Soviet state, the Communist Party and internal security services, from the Cheka (Lenin’s Soviet secret police) to the KGB. The goal of the Russian state’s ideological apparatus is to prevent the emergence of any historical narratives that would belittle the image and role of the former Soviet Union, which is the legal predecessor of a resurgent, assertive ‘new Russia.’ This proud, imperialistic state is heir not only to the Soviet Union but to the Russian czardom, including the Romanov Empire.

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