A Russian poll released by the Levada Center pollster revealed Tuesday that 70 percent of Russians approve of mass murderer Joseph Stalin – a record high for Russian approval of Stalin.
The survey was conducted by the independent Levada Center pollster using 1,600 respondents between March 21-27, revealing not only that 70 percent of Russians approve of Stalin, but that 51 percent view Stalin favorably, 41 percent respect him, 6 percent sympathize with him, and 4 percent actually admire him. Poll results show that only 19 percent of Russians view Stalin negatively.
Joseph Stalin was the Soviet dictator responsible for the deaths of an estimated 20 million civilian and military Soviet citizens, forcing civilians to surrender their crops to the government causing them to starve to death, and killing them if they refused to comply. Stalin built up his secret police, encouraged his citizens to spy on one another, killed dissenters and anyone considered a propogandist, and sent thousands to the Gulag system of forced labor camps. He also starved to death almost 10 million Ukranians between 1932 and 1933, according to The New American. Historians argue that Stalin was responsible for not one but multiple genocides.
Sixty-six years later, the vast majority of Russians approve of the mass murderer.
One reason for this may be that nearly half of Russian young people have never even heard of Stalin’s purges. A 2018 Levada survey revealed that 47 percent of respondents aged 18-24 told VTsIOM pollster that they had never heard of Stalin’s purges before that poll. President Vladimir Putin has said that attempts to demonize Stalin were propoganda intended to demonize Russia itself, according to The Moscow Times.
“Stalin begins to be perceived as a symbol of justice and an alternative to the current government, deemed unfair, cruel and not caring about people,” Academy of Sciences sociologist Leonty Byzov said to RBC News, “It’s purely a mythological image of Stalin, very far from the real historical figure.”
Yet another Russian pole reveals that 38 percent of Russians asked to name ten of world’s greatest personalities named Stalin – followed by Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and President Vladimir Putin tied for second place at 34 percent, according to The Moscow Times.
“Nostalgia over the collapse of the Soviet Union is at a peak this year. In addition, Stalin is seen as a figure who ensured social justice,” something Russians are increasingly seeking amid discontent with falling living standards and a government reform of pensions, Levada analyst Karina Pipia said to Bloomburg. Yet these people “don’t really want to go back to those times.”
Pipia also told Bloomburg that both older people and those under 25 displayed an “irrational romanticization of the Soviet past and of the figure of Stalin.”
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