Press release №1975
20.07.2017
MEMORY OF STALIN: PRO ET CONTRA

IN BRIEF

  • Installation of signs glorifying the Stalin’s achievements is supported by 62% and opposed by 31%

Russians would opt for Stalin’s achievements rather than failures, according to the recent VCIOM-Sputnik survey findings. 

MOSCOW, July 20, 2017. The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the results of a survey describing Russian opinions on the placement of commemorative signs devoted to Joseph Stalin.

The idea to perpetuate the memory of Stalin every so often appears in the information space.  The public opinion regarding the the placement of commemorative signs is currently well-marked: more than half of Russians (62%) agree that memorial plaques, busts, pictures and other signs honoring Stalin should be placed in public places, whereas 65% oppose installation of signs reporting Stalin’s failures and crimes.  

Fifty-nine per cent of Russians say that neutral information (visit to a city, delivering a speech, etc.) is also not essential when deciding what should be placed on commemorative signs. Interestingly, the basic reasons behind respondents’ consent to place memorials dedicated to Stalin is their desire to preserve the historical truth. Those who think so are mainly young people, whereas elderly respondents tend not to support placement of signs glorifying a former USSR leader.

At the same time, respondents seem to be highly indifferent when asked about personal engagement: 33% of Russians would have neither positive nor negative emotions if signs devoted to Stalin were placed on a neighboring building. Forty-two per cent would perceive it positively; 21% - negatively.

The Medialogia Company carried out an analysis of J. Stalin’s mentions in the Russian media. Over five years, more than 300,000 mentions were found; most of them were published in the fourth quarter of 2016:  a statue devoted to Stalin was dismantled in Surgut; Olga Vasilieva, Minister of Education, called Stalin a major political figure with a huge negative value. In the second quarter of 2017 the media reported that Henry Reznik had left Moscow Judicial Academy after placing a commemorative plaque devoted to Stalin.

The VCIOM-Sputnik Russian nationwide survey was conducted on July 7-8, 2017. The survey involved 1,200 Russians aged 18 and over, and was carried out using stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of landline and mobile phone numbers operating in Russia. The data were weighted according to selection probability and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 3.5%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.

The Russian media publications were monitored and analyzed by the Medialogia Company using the company’s media database involving 41,500 media sources such as television, radio, newspapers, magazines, news agencies and online media. The study took place from January 1, 2012 to June 30, 2017.

A Moscow university has recently placed a commemorative plaque dedicated to Joseph Stalin. In your opinion, should similar commemorative signs (commemorative plaques, quotations, busts, pictures) glorifying Stalin’s achievements be installed? (closed-ended question, one answer, %)
  Total respondents Aged 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-59 60 and over
Rather yes 62 77 70 63 59 53
Rather not 31 18 26 30 32 37
Don’t know 7 5 4 7 9 10
Why do you think that commemorative signs glorifying Stalin’s achievements should be installed? (open-ended question, not more than three answers, % of those who consider that commemorative signs glorifying Stalin’s achievements  should be installed)
  Total respondents
This is part of our history; our children should know that   57
Thanks to Stalin we won the WW2 18
He did lots of good things for the country   9
He elevated the country to a superpower 8
There  was order under Stalin’s rule 5
A great leader, a great person 5
I approve of his activity as the head of state 4
People lived better under his rule 3
He improved the national economy 2
He deserved that 2
There was no corruption under his rule 1
There was justice under his rule 1
It is important to raise patriotism 1
Other 3
Don’t know 6
In your opinion, should the commemorative signs (commemorative plaques, quotations, busts, pictures) reporting Stalin’s failures and crimes be installed? (closed-ended question, one answer, %)
  Total respondents Aged 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-59 60 and over
Rather yes 28 33 24 29 29 26
Rather not 65 63 70 66 62 65
Don’t know 7 4 6 5 9 9
Why do you think that commemorative signs reporting Stalin’s failures and crimes should be installed? (open-ended question, not more than three answers, % of those who consider that commemorative signs reporting Stalin’s failures and crimes should be installed)
  Total respondents
People should be aware of truth, not only his  achievements   39
This is part of our history; our children should know that  35
Learning from past mistakes 16
There are no people who do not make mistakes   5
Under Stalin’s rule many people suffered from repression 5
To prevent another cult of personality 1
Other 2
Don’t know 5
In your opinion, should the commemorative signs reporting neutral information about Stalin  be installed? (for example, a sign stating that Stalin visited a certain city, delivered a speech at a particular place, lived for a certain period of time at a certain place) (closed-ended question, one answer, %)  
  Total respondents Aged 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-59 60 and over
Rather yes 35 45 38 30 35 30
Rather not 59 53 55 61 58 63
Don’t know 6 2 7 9 7 7
Why do you think that commemorative signs reporting neutral information about Stalin should be installed?  (open-ended question, not more than three answers % of those who consider that commemorative signs reporting neutral information about Stalin should be installed)
  Total respondents
This is part of our history; our children should know that  50
People should know everything about him; this allows making conclusions  about his personality based on a complete picture 22
Some people might be interested to know that, for example tourists 7
He did lots of good things for the country 4
Why not? He is not worse than any other historical figure 4
A great leader, a great person 3
It is better to place neutral information than negative one 2
He elevated the country to a superpower 1
Thanks to Stalin we won the WW2 1
This is a reason to be proud of 1
Other 2
Don’t know 14
If you found out that a commemorative sign would be installed on the house where you live, how would you treat that?   (closed-ended question, one answer, %)
  Total respondents Moscow and St Petersburg Million cities More than 500,000 inhabitants 100–500,000 inhabitants Less than 100,000 inhabitants Rural area
Completely positively 15 8 17 15 15 18 15
Rather positively 27 18 37 24 24 30 29
Indifferently 33 36 31 47 39 28 28
Rather negatively 11 12 10 7 11 11 12
Completely negatively 10 21 3 7 7 10 12
Don’t know 4 5 2 0 4 3 4

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