Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Russia: Nostalgia towards the USSR and Stalin hits record high, Putin's popularity falls

More people in Russia view the late Brezhnev era of the Soviet Union as “close to the people” than they do President Vladimir Putin’s Russia, according to a survey by the independent Levada Center pollster.

Russians have expressed increasingly positive opinions about the Soviet Union over the years, with nostalgia toward the USSR and Stalin hitting record highs in recent months. Putin’s popularity has meanwhile been lagging amid widespread poverty and controversial pension reforms.

According to Levada’s results published Monday, 29% of Russian respondents described late 1970s-early 1980s Soviet rule as “close to people” when offered a list of choices.

A quarter of the respondents said Soviet rule was “strong and enduring”, 22% called it “just” and 20% “legitimate”.

When asked to characterize Russia's current leadership, 41% called it “criminal and corrupt” and 31% called it “distant from the people and alien.” 

Another 24% called the regime “bureaucratic” 19% “shortsighted” and 15% “inconsistent” Levada conducted the survey among 1,608 respondents between June 27 and July 4. 

In a previous poll, conducted by Levada on May 24-29, fifty-nine percent of Russian respondents said “the state took care of ordinary people” when asked to name the defining characteristics of Soviet rule.

The absence of ethnic conflicts (46 percent) as well as economic growth and lack of unemployment (43 percent) were the second and third-most common responses, Levada said. Constantly improving living conditions (39 percent) and advancements in science and culture (31 percent) placed fourth and fifth in Russians’ ranking of Soviet life.

All five of the responses suggesting an increasingly favorable view of Soviet rule saw a marked increase (by as much as 30 percentage points) from the last two times that Levada had asked the question in 2000 and 2008.

Info from Levada / Moscow Times.