Press release №2004
11.10.2017
OCTOBER REVOLUTION: 1917-2017

IN BRIEF

  • The October revolution served the interest of the largest part of the Russian society, according to 46% of Russians, the same number, 46%, disagree with that
  • 38% of respondents think that revolution led to social and economic development
  • 32% of respondents would have supported the Bolsheviks in 1917, 36% would support neither

The memory of the October Revolution is likely to split Russians rather than to bring them together. The only common thing both for supporters and opponents of the revolution is that today Russia should avoid revolution.

MOSCOW, October 11, 2017. The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the findings of studies that mark 100th anniversary of the October Revolution.

Whether the October revolution expressed the will of most of peoples living in the Russian empire is still disputable: 45% of respondents reply in the affirmative; 43% give a negative answer (36% and 37%, respectively, in 1990). Forty-six percent of respondents say that the October revolution served the interests of the majority; 46% oppose them.

Russians still consider that the basic reason for the revolution is the plight of the people (45% agree with that in 2017). The aims of those who supported the revolution are hard to define (42% fail to answer); most of respondents cite “coup d’état, regime change”(19%), “all power to the people, factories to workers, land to peasants” (13%), “life change for the better” (10%)

The revolutionary enthusiasm observed in early 1990s has disappeared. Today respondents prefer concealing themselves rather than participating in revolutionary actions (27% choose to wait through, 16% to go abroad).  Twenty-eight percent of respondents would have support the Bolsheviks with varying degrees (42% among those aged 60 and over vs 21% of the 18-24-year-olds). There has been a rise in the share of those who favor Lenin, Dzerzhinsky, Stalin, on the other hand, and Nicholas II, Kolchak, on the other hand.  

At the same time, the consequences of the October revolution are broadly assessed as “positive” (38% - “it gave rise to social and economic development”; 23% - “it opened a new era in the Russian history”); those who think so are not only older generations but also younger respondents. Among all those political forces of the time, Bolsheviks are supported most (32%), though most of respondents who say so are retired persons. Simultaneously, 36% would not have supported either political movement.  

Extreme views on the “revolution in general” are less likely to be expressed by respondents; the revolution is more perceived as a complex and ambiguous phenomenon which has its negative and positive sides. According to the 2016 survey data, 57% see the revolution as “historical certitude” (25% as “upheavals and victims”, 11% - as “social renewal”).    

Only a few would like a revolution to happen in Russia (5% according to the 2017 data, whereas the overwhelming majority, 92%, do not accept revolution); 30% think the revolution is probable; 61% disagree with that.

See the PPT file for more information 

The Medialogia Company carried out an analysis of the mentions devoted to the October revolution in the Russian media and compared the 2016 and 2017 results. The media showed high interest in the topic in 2017. Over the first ten months a total number of 48,700 mentions were found in the media; 114,600 mentions for the same period last year. The media were discussing the following topics in 2017: Vladimir Putin paid attention to the centennial of the 1917 revolution in his Address to the Federal Assembly; Putin called upon to carry out an unbiased analysis of the event and assured that Russia would not get back to the past doctrines proven false; re-establishment of the November 7th holiday; the Presidential Council for Civil Society proposed to introduce criminal and administrative amnesty to mark  the 100th anniversary of the revolution.

VCIOM Russian public opinion polls were conducted in 2005-2017.

The “EXPRESS” survey was conducted on December 3-4, 2016, in 130 settlements, 46 regions, krais and republics across 8 Russian federal districts. The sample (n=1600) is representative of the Russian population aged 18 and over according to sex, age, education, type of settlement. The survey was conducted with multi-stage stratified sample based on general rule of walking and quotas at the final selection stage.  The margin of error (taking into account the design effect) with 95% confidence interval does not exceed 3.5%. The survey method is community-based structured face-to-face interviews. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey. The 2005-2016 results are also based on household surveys.

The VCIOM-Sputnik Russian nationwide survey was conducted on October 3-5, 2017. The survey involved 1,800 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 for the probability of selection and reflect social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 2.5%. 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 approximately 42,500 media sources such as television, radio, newspapers, magazines, news agencies and online media. The study took place from January 2016 to October 2017.

In your opinion, what were the key factors that led to the October revolution? (closed-ended, one answer, %)
  2005 2007 2012  2016
Plight of the people 54 45 43 45
Week government 21 23 17 20
Russian enemies' conspiracy 5 5 10 12
Extremism of  political adventurers 7 7 11 7
Spontaneous crowd aggression  5 4 7 4
Other 1 0 1 3
Don' t know 7 16 11 9
Revolutions also happened in other countries (England, France, Germany, etc.) What are your attitudes toward revolution as a historical phenomenon? (closed-ended, one answer, %)
  2005 2012  2016
Revolution is  historical certitude with its positive and negative sides 42 40 57
Revolutions are related to upheavals and victims which cannot be justified 38 37 25
Revolution is social renewal, a chance for many people to make their ideas come true 10 15 11
Don' t know 10 8 7
Do you agree that the October revolution expressed the will of peoples living in the Russian empire?  (closed-ended, one answer, %)
  1990 *  2016
Rather agree 36 45
Rather disagree 37 43
Don' t know 27 12

*In 1990, the survey involved the all-Union representative sample of urban and rural populations aged 16 and over; the sample size was 1,855 respondents.  

In your opinion, whose interests did the October Revolution serve? (closed-ended, one answer, %)
  Total respondents е, 2017 Aged 18-24 Aged 25-34 Aged 35-44 Aged 45-59 Aged 60 and over
Society in general 10 10 7 7 11 13
Majority 36 34 26 31 39 46
Minority 13 13 16 17 11 10
A small group of people 33 36 40 37 32 24
Don' t know 8 7 11 8 7 7
What would you have done, if you had witnessed the October revolution?  (closed-ended, one answer, %)
  1990 * 2007  2016
I would have waited through and would have not participated in any activities 13 25 27
I would have gone abroad 10 11 16
I would have actively supported the Bolsheviks 19 10 15
I would have supported the Bolsheviks in some areas 21 12 13
I would have opposed the Bolsheviks 7 6 9
Other 1 1 2
Don’t know 29 35 18

* In 1990, the survey involved the all-Union representative sample of urban and rural populations aged 16 and over; the sample size was 1,855 respondents.  

In your opinion, what were the goals of the October revolution supporters? 1 to 3 answers are possible (open-ended question, not more than three answers, answers of at least 1% of respondents , line-by-line)
  Total respondents, 2017
Coup d’etat, regime change 19
All power to the people, factories to workers, land to peasants 13
Changing life for the better 10
Equality 9
They wanted to take over the government 7
Freedom 4
Building communism and socialism   4
Personal interests 3
Pursuing noble goals 2
Weakening , destroying the country  2
Available education and healthcare   2
Acquiring a material good 2
Peace 2
Justice 1
For the benefit of the people 1
Providing  people with jobs, good working conditions   1
Progress, reforms 1
Building a great country 1
Dispossessing the bourgeoisie 1
Other 3
Don’t know 42
There are various points of view on the impacts of the October revolution. Which statement do you agree with? (closed-ended, one answer, %)
  2005 2007 2012 2017
It gave rise to social and economic development 28 26 27 38
It opened a new era in the Russian history   32 22 21 23
It hampered social and economic development of the country   18 17 16 14
It was a disaster for Russia   11 11 18 13
Don’t know 11 24 18 12
What political movement would you have supported in 1917? (closed-ended, one answer, %)
  Total respondents, 2017 Aged 18-24 Aged 25-34 Aged 35-44 Aged 45-59 Aged 60 and over
None 36 43 48 38 32 26
Social democrats (Bolsheviks) 32 25 13 23 36 51
Monarchists 5 3 7 6 5 1
Social Revolutionaries (SRs) 4 7 5 5 4 1
Constitutional Democrats (Kadets ) 3 6 5 4 2 2
Social democrats (Mensheviks) 3 3 2 4 4 2
Anarchists 1 1 1 3 1 0
One of national parties 1 1 1 1 1 1
Other 3 1 4 3 3 2
Don’t know 13 10 14 13 12 14
What feeling do the following revolutionaries bring out in you?  (closed-ended, one answer per each line, %)
    Mainly liking Mainly dislikes Don’t know

Nikolas II

2017   

60

20

20

2008    44 22 34
2005    42 28 30
Dzerzhinsky 2017    57 19 24
2008    40 24 36
2005    44 28 28
Lenin 2017    53 30 17
2008    42 30 28
2005    50 32 18
Stalin 2017    52 30 18
2008    28 48 24
2005    37 47 16
Kolchak 2017    35 37 28
2008    32 30 38
2005    20 41 39
Denikin 2017    25 38 37
2008    23 32 45
2005    26 39 35
Trotsky 2017    21 52 27
2008    18 39 43
2005    16 45 39
Bukharin 2017    20 30 50
2008    21 22 57
2005    21 22 57
Kerensky 2017    16 47 37
2008    16 36 48
2005    14 44 42
Makhno 2017    13 63 24
2008    18 45 37
2005    13 55 32
Milyukov 2017    7 28 65
2008    10 29 61
2005    7 32 61
Today certain politicians declare that a revolution is possible in Russia. In your opinion how possible is it?  (closed-ended, one answer, %)
  2005 2007  2016
Very much possible 18 6 11
Likely possible 24 19 19
Likely not possible 37 39 34
Not at all possible 12 18 27
Don’t know 9 18 9
Certain political forces are actively pushing for revolution. Others consider that revolution cannot be allowed whatever happens. What point of view is closer to yours?   (closed-ended, one answer, %)
  2012 2017
The first one: the modern Russia needs a revolution 13 5
The second one: whatever happens, revolution should not be allowed 78 92
Don’t know 9 3

 

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