Russians Still Refer to Each Other as Comrades

The results of latest polls in Russia might seem to be very discouraging to someone

The results of different polls that have been recently conducted in the Russian Federation show that the Russian society is drawn to have nostalgic feelings about the Soviet past. This is the main characteristics of Russians people’s political preferences. The Regional Political Research Agency conducted the poll devoted to the following questions: “How many Russian people consider themselves USSR citizens?” The Public Opinion Fund tried to find out, what Russian people thought of Joseph Stalin. ROMIR Monitoring public center decided to find out, which kind of greeting people use most often in their everyday speech. The Russian Public Opinion Study Center asked Russian people, where they wanted to live most of all.

The Regional Political Research Agency social center conducted its poll in 84 cities and towns of Russia, and in 28 Federation Units. It turned out as a result of the poll that twelve percent of Russian citizens think that they are the citizens of the USSR. It is worth mentioning here that the Soviet Union collapsed twelve years ago. In other words, every tenth Russian person believes that he/she lives in the Soviet Union. Sixty percent of respondents think that they are Russian citizens. Twenty-one percent said that they are citizens of their own regions. Seven percent of respondents did not know, what to say.

As specialists say, the majority of so-called citizens of the USSR are elderly people, over 60 years of age. There is nothing surprising about that, though. Young people from 18 to 24 years old basically say that they are citizens of Russia. Those people, who sympathize with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) call themselves Soviet citizens as well.

The results of three other polls are a lot more expressive. Almost a half of Russian people – 47% have either a positive or a neutral attitude to Joseph Stalin (32% and 15% respectively). Less than a half – 42% set out their negative attitude to him. A lot of Russian people (40%) remember the event, which happened in the Soviet Union 20 years ago on March 5th. Almost a half of Russian people stick to the opinion that it is very important to keep the date of Stalin’s death in mind – 47%. Thirty-five percent of people think that this event does not deserve the national memory. People of higher education (57%), elderly Russians (55%), Communist Party proponents (51%) remember this historic date.

About one-third of Russians – 36% stated that Stalin brought more good than bad to the country. Twenty-nine percent said that they think absolutely the opposite thing. Thirty-four percent of Russians could not give a precise answer regarding Stalin’s role in the history of the Soviet Union.

Psychologists from ROMIR Monitoring Center conducted another opinion poll, devoted to the way that Russian people greet each other. As it turned out as a result of the poll, the majority of Russians prefer to use the word “comrade.” The saying “a wolf is your comrade,” which appeared in the USSR in the beginning of Michail Gorbachev’s perestroika, is not actual anymore nowadays. Twenty-nine percent of Russian people said that they prefer the word “comrade” most of all. Fifteen percent said that they refer to other people as “citizens.” Only nine percent said that they used the expression “ladies and gentlemen.” The word “comrade” is rather popular in the Far East of Russia, where it is used by 41% of people. People of Russian southern areas like the word “citizens” – 32%. As ROMIR found out, the word “comrade” is basically used by the people of primary or incomplete secondary education – 35%. People of incomplete or complete higher education use this greeting more seldom – 20%. Russian businessmen hardly ever use the word “comrade” in their speech – only five percent. Businessmen definitely prefer “ladies and gentlemen.”

Another opinion poll attempted to find out the period of the Russian history, in which people would like to live. Thirty-nine percent of respondents answered that they would love to live in the 1970s, during Leonid Brezhnev's quiet era. Twenty-three percent said that they like to live at present time (with Vladimir Putin). Seventeen percent answered that they would like to live in another country. Only five percent of people are attracted with pre-revolutionary period of the Russian history, while three percent sympathize with Gorbachev and Yeltsin’s period of reforms.

Sergey Stefanov

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name Olga Savka