Many scholars stress that teaching about the shared past plays a major role in the formation of national, ethnic, religious, and regional identities, in addition to influencing intergroup perceptions and relations. Through the analysis of historic narratives in history textbooks this paper shows how the governments of the Russian Federation and Ukraine uses state controlled history education to define their national identity and to present themselves in relations to each other. For example, history education in Ukraine portrays Russia as oppressive and aggressive enemy and emphasizes the idea of own victimhood as a core of national identity. History education in the Russian Federation condemns Ukrainian nationalism and proclaims commonality and unity of history and culture with Russian dominance over “younger brother, Ukraine”. An exploration of the mechanisms that state-controlled history education employs to define social identities in secondary school textbooks can provide an early warning of potential problems being created between the two states.

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