A majority of Russians now view Stalin favorably, poll finds

Joseph Stalin.
(Image credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

Soviet — specifically Stalinist — nostalgia is alive and well in Russia, a new poll conducted by the Moscow-based Levada Center finds.

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Bloomberg reports that the poll found that the nationwide perception of Joseph Stalin, the former leader of the Soviet Union, is becoming more and more positive among Russians. Levada, the only independent polling center in Russia which Quartz described as a "crucial member of Russian civil society," conducts a survey about Stalin annually. The 2019 results showed that 51 percent of Russians view Stalin with admiration — up from 40 percent last year and the highest mark since the survey began in 2001.

Even more strikingly, 70 percent said Stalin's 31-year rule was good for the country.

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That nostalgia stems from the dissatisfaction many Russians feel about their living standards under President Vladimir Putin, writes Bloomberg. Of course, in many other parts of the world Stalin is considered a historical pariah for implementing tyrannical police state policies, persecuting members of every level of society, and for causing famine as a result of his collectivization program.

Per Bloomberg, Stalin's crimes have been downplayed in Russian school textbooks and he has instead been cast as a "modernizer who transformed the Soviet Union into a superpower."

The survey was conducted between March 21-27 via 1,600 personal interviews at people's homes throughout Russia. The margin of error is 3.4 percent.

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.