Poll: Russian support for Stalin surges to record high

A record 51 percent viewed Stalin positively in March, up from 40 percent a year earlier, the survey published Tuesday by the Moscow-based Levada Center showed. The proportion regarding him with admiration, respect or sympathy was the highest since it began the survey in April 2001, Levada said on its website.

“Nostalgia over the collapse of the Soviet Union is at a peak this year. In addition, Stalin is seen as a figure who ensured social justice,” something Russians are increasingly seeking amid discontent with falling living standards and a government reform of pensions, said Karina Pipia, an analyst at Levada. Even so, the people who admired Stalin “don’t really want to go back to those times,” she said.

Russians were more willing to defend the mass killings and political persecutions that accompanied Stalin’s 31-year rule until his death in 1953, according to the survey. Some 46 percent agreed that repressions were “definitely” or “in some way” justified by the results achieved under Stalin, up from 36 percent in 2017 and the highest level since the question was first posed in 2008. Another 45 percent said progress under Stalin didn’t justify the repressions.