50.1% of Russians believe that Germans should stop feeling guilty towards the victims of Hitler's aggression. This was revealed yesterday by Mikhail Gorshkov, the director of the Institute for Complex Social Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences, during the presentation of an analytical paper entitled 'Europe and Russia through Russian Eyes' at the Rosbalt news agency. According to Gorshkov, the results demonstrate that 'the image of Germany in the consciousness of Russian society is gradually moving away from fascism and memories of the Second World War."
At the same time, almost one third of Russians (32.7%) believe that the present and future generations of Germans should feel guilty for the crimes committed by Hitler's regime. Among people over 50 years old, 40% believe that Germans should retain their collective guilt before the victims of fascism, while among those aged 18 to 40 only 20-33% agree with this point of view. In addition, said Gorshkov, there are clear regional differences in people's opinions. Whereas nationwide half of Russians think Germans should rid themselves of their feelings of guilt, in St. Petersburg (which was besieged for almost three years in World War II) this figure is much lower - around 30%.
The Institute for Complex Social Research carried out its poll in June-July 2002 with financial support from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. 1750 Russians from 11 social groups, who were selected on a quota basis, took part in the poll.
Russian President Vladimir Putin got the West worried again by signing Decree No. 915. The news did not produce any public effect in Russia