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The Soviet Union

This survey was carried out May 24–29, 2019 with a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample comprised 1616 people age 18 or older from 137 localities in 50 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The answer distribution is presented as percentages of the number of participants along with data from previous surveys.

The statistical error of these studies for a selection of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:

3.4% for indicators around 50%
2.9% for indicators around 25%/75%
2.0% for indicators around 10%/90%
1.5% for indicators around 5%/95%

In May 2019, the Levada Center repeated it’s list of assessments (14 in total) from the project “the Soviet person.” The respondents could choose an answer from the survey card if they corresponded with their ideas about the Soviet Union or name something else (in 2019, these made up no more than 2% of answers from the entire sample set).

Table 1. Distribution of answers from the entire sample set

WHAT, IN YOUR OPINION, IS CHARACTERISTIC OF THE HISTORICAL PATH OF OUR COUNTRY DURING THE SOVIET REGIME? (respondents could choose more than one answer and/or write in their own; ranked in descending order according to May 2019)

Apr. 00 Feb. 08 May 19
The government’s concern for the common people 37 29 59
The lack of interethnic conflict, friendship between peoples 44 40 46
Successful economic development, the lack of unemployment 39 31 43
Steady improvement in people’s lives 23 14 39
The most advanced science and culture in the world 22 21 31
The guiding role of the Communist Party 41 43 29
Lines, deficits, ration cards 34 42 24
The country’s isolation from the outside world, the inability to go abroad and return 25 24 17
Poverty 11 12 13
Persecution of dissidents, the KGB’s control over everyone 20 14 13
The absolute power of Party and government officials, bureaucracy 14 13 9
Lagging behind developed countries in production volume and quality 13 13 9
Persecution of the Orthodox Church and believers 13 9 8
Unsustainable military expenditures 7 11 7
Other answers 1 2 2
It is difficult to say 6 8 5
Intensity 348 325 354

Table 2. Distribution of answers from 100%; ranked in descending order according to 2019

  Apr. 00 Feb. 08 May 19
The government’s concern for the common people 11 9 17
The lack of interethnic conflict, friendship between peoples 13 12 13
Successful economic development, the lack of unemployment 11 9 12
Steady improvement in people’s lives 7 4 11
The most advanced science and culture in the world 6 6 9
The guiding role of the Communist Party 12 13 8
Lines, deficits, ration cards 10 13 7
The country’s isolation from the outside world, the inability to go abroad and return 7 7 5
Poverty 3 4 4
Persecution of dissidents, the KGB’s control over everyone 6 4 4
The absolute power of Party and government officials, bureaucracy 4 4 3
Lagging behind developed countries in production volume and quality 4 4 3
Persecution of the Orthodox Church and believers 4 3 2
Unsustainable military expenditures 2 3 2
Other answers <1 1 1
It is difficult to say 2 2 1

Table 3. Generational peculiarities in people’s memory of the USSR; ranked in descending order according to the entire sample

  Total
sample
“Post-Soviet” “Perestroika” “Era of Stagnation” “The Thaw”
The government’s concern for the common people 59 49 57 64 61
The lack of interethnic conflict, friendship between peoples 46 38 48 49 47
Successful economic development, the lack of unemployment 43 39 39 49 36
Steady improvement in people’s lives 39 29 38 46 41
The most advanced science and culture in the world 31 26 29 33 37
The guiding role of the Communist Party 29 31 31 28 25
Lines, deficits, ration cards 24 23 26 24 23
The country’s isolation from the outside world, the inability to go abroad and return 17 17 17 18 9
Persecution of dissidents, the KGB’s control over everyone 13 15 13 14 5
Poverty 13 14 13 12 14
The absolute power of Party and government officials, bureaucracy 9 10 9 10 4
Lagging behind developed countries in production volume and quality 9 10 10 8 3
Persecution of the Orthodox Church and believers 8 7 8 7 4
Unsustainable military expenditures 7 6 8 5 7
Other 2 2 1 3 8
It is difficult to say 5 12 4 2 4
Intensity 328 351 372 328

Table 4. Answers by age and generation; ranked in descending order according to the “18–24” column

Age Groups Generational Groups
18-24 25-39 40-54 55+ “Perestroika” “Era of Stagnation” “The Thaw”
 The government’s concern for the common people 30 36 32 19 39 32 15
Steady improvement in people’s lives 20 28 25 24 31 28 21
Successful economic development, the lack of unemployment 17 13 8 9 16 15 -6
The lack of interethnic conflict, friendship between peoples 15 6 8 2 17 4 -4
The most advanced science and culture in the world 9 8 9 9 11 10 13
Persecution of the Orthodox Church and believers 0 -2 0 -4 -1 -2 -6
Persecution of dissidents, the KGB’s control over everyone 0 -3 -2 1 -3 0 -6
Lagging behind developed countries in production volume and quality -1 -6 -6 -1 -4 -5 -6
Poverty -1 -3 1 5 -3 2 8
The absolute power of Party and government officials, bureaucracy -4 -6 -2 -2 -5 -2 -8
The guiding role of the Communist Party -6 -14 -15 -18 -9 -18 -22
Unsustainable military expenditures -6 -4 -1 -7 -2 -7 -3
The country’s isolation from the outside world, the inability to go abroad and return -8 -12 -4 -3 -10 -5 -9
Lines, deficits, ration cards -17 -18 -22 -15 -16 -20 -15
Other 2 0 0 0 0 0 5
It is difficult to say -2 -4 -1 -3 -9 -2 -1
Intensity 48 20 29 18 51 29 -23

Translated by Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (formerly Monterey Institute of International Studies).

The ANO Levada Center has been included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents. Read the Director of the Levada Center’s statement of disagreement with this decision here.

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