Results of our studies


oppose the idea to introduce a new category of beneficiaries.

MOSCOW, October 21, 2019. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the data of a study devoted to the Russian views on Perestroika and its consequences as well as an initiative to introduce a new beneficiary “the victims of perestroika”.  

Traces of perestroika

Perestroika took place more than thirty years ago in Russia. Today 47% of Russians say they know about perestroika in details; they are mainly older Russians (64-65%). The remainder say that they know or have heard about perestroika but they do not know any details; they are basically Russians aged 25-34 (72%). Five percent of Russians say they know nothing about perestroika: predominantly Russians aged 18-24 (18%).

At the same time, most of respondents consider that perestroika did more harm to the country than good; this stance has been stable over the recent 17 years. This record reached an all-time high in 2002 (72%); the share of those who view negatively the effects of perestroika decreased in 2005 and has been fluctuating at 54-61% since that time.


Sixty-one percent of Russians say that perestroika did more harm to Russia than good. Those who think so are mainly respondents who know perestroika in details (73%).


Positive effects are reported by 24% of Russians: mainly those who heard of perestroika but do not know any details (27%), or those who know nothing about perestroika (45%).


Asked whether it would be better if things had stayed as they were, almost half of Russians (48%) said yes. Those who share his stance are mainly older respondents.


The share of those who disagree that it would be better if things had stayed the same is 42%. Those are mainly young respondents aged 18-24 (58%), 25-34 (45%) and metropolitan residents (56%).

Effects of perestroika reforms

The major consequences of perestroika are directly or indirectly tied to destabilization in all areas. Thus, 40% say that perestroika caused more chaos and mess in the administration. A further 37% say that it increased uncertainty about the future (37%). A third of respondents believe that perestroika deepened the economic crisis (30%).


As to the major consequences of perestroika reforms, 27% point to a decline in military capability, 26%, a crisis in inter-ethnic relations.

Respondents are less likely to mention positive changes. However, 12% say that perestroika resulted in an extension of civil rights and freedoms. The same share of respondents point to increased political and economic activity of the Russian citizens and the beginning of economic revival (12%, for each). Almost every tenth points to Russia’s strengthened global position (8%).

 “Victims of perestroika”- a possible beneficiary?

In early October 2019, the Russian State Duma proposed to introduce a new category of beneficiaries “victims of perestroika” which would include citizens aged 25-45 during the reforms. Based on the survey findings, one-quarter of Russians (25%) see themselves as “victims of perestroika”: mainly those aged over 45 (31%-37%) and rural area residents (32%).

Most of Russians do not see themselves as “victims of perestroika” (70%); most often they are young Russians aged 18-34 and metropolitan residents.


Forty-one percent of Russians support the initiative to introduce a new category of beneficiaries “victims of perestroika”. Those who tend to support the idea are those respondents who consider themselves as “victims of perestroika” (62%), women (46%), the 18-24-year-olds (64%) and 25-34-year old citizens (44%), residents of million cities and rural area (45%, respectively).


Forty-seven percent of Russians are likely to oppose such an initiative; those are mainly Russians who do not see themselves as “victims of perestroika” (55%), men (55%), Russians aged 35-44 (52%) and 45-59 (57%), as well as residents of Moscow and St Petersburg (74%), large cities with a population of 500,000–950,000 inhabitants (55%).

VCIOM-Sputnik survey was conducted on October 17, 2019. The survey involved 1,600 Russians aged 18 and over. The survey was telephone-based and 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 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. 

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