A neutral-negative attitude towards Boris Yeltsin prevails among respondents, while the share of respondents with a negative attitude towards the first president has been increasing in recent years. Moreover, the amount of respondents who believe that Yeltsin’s rule brought more bad things to the country than good ones continues to increase. The first president is credited with “improving the financial situation”, “economic development”, ”the emergence of a market economy”, “ending the deficit”, “freedom” and “democracy”. They complain about “devastation”, “mess”, “impoverishment of people, hunger, rising prices” and “collapse of the USSR”.
A neutral-negative attitude towards Boris Yeltsin prevails among the respondents. The highest rates of positive attitude towards the first president were observed in the first few years after his death in 2007 (about 17%). Then the attitude began to deteriorate again: in December 2015, 14% had a positive attitude towards him, in 2021 – 10%, in January of this year – only 8%. Accordingly, the share of respondents who have a negative attitude to the first president of Russia has increased: if in 2010 and 2015 there were about 35%, then in 2021 – 46%, and at the beginning of 2023 – already half. Slightly more than a third (35%) express neutral emotions towards Boris Yeltsin.
Similarly, positive ratings of the “Yeltsin era” reached their maximum values immediately after his death: in 2007, 26% rated it positively and only 47% negatively. After that, the grades started to deteriorate again. Today, only 17% of respondents believe that Yeltsin’s reign brought more good things, 67% hold the opposite point of view.
An analysis of opinions in individual groups of respondents shows that a positive attitude towards Yeltsin and his era is more common among respondents aged 18-24 (31%), residents of Moscow (28%) and readers of Telegram channels (27%). Respondents with a negative attitude are most represented in the older generations of respondents (about 75%), residents of medium-sized cities (about 70%), as well as among those who trust news from TV or do not trust any sources of information (68% and 71%).
In January 2021, as part of a similar survey, respondents were asked open questions about what was good and what was bad about the era of Boris Yeltsin. Among the positive results of his rule, respondents named “improvement of the financial situation, low prices” (19%), “economic development, market economy, the appearance of products, the end of the deficit” (18%) and “freedom, democracy, transparency” (16%).
Among the negative results of Boris Yeltsin’s rule, respondents called “ruin, mess, collapse of the country/army/enterprises” (43%), “impoverishment of people, hunger, rising prices” (22%) and “collapse of the USSR” (14%).
In October 2021, a similar survey showed that 36% of respondents knew about the Yeltsin Center operating in Yekaterinburg since 2015, 63% had heard about it for the first time. At the same time, the majority (59%) of respondents spoke of their indifference about the existence of such a center, 18% reacted positively, 21% – negatively.
Those respondents who treated the center positively or negatively were asked a clarifying open-ended question with a request to explain their position. Those who spoke positively motivated their opinion by saying that “this is the history of our country, it needs to be known”, that “cultural events are held there”, “they teach something”, “young people will know who it is and what it is” or by their positive attitude to the first president: “Yeltsin – is a whole epoch”, “I like Yeltsin himself”, “the center is the memory of him”.
The skeptics spoke first of all about their negative attitude towards Boris Yeltsin: “a traitor”, “did nothing for Russia”, “skipped/ruined/destroyed the country” and, to a lesser extent, by the fact that harmful ideas are preached in the Center: “the Center is a hotbed of Russophobia and anti–Sovietism”, “they insult Russia there”, “liberal views dominate.”
The survey by the Levada Center was conducted January 26 – 31 2023, among a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample was comprised of 1616 people aged 18 or older in 137 municipalities of 50 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The distribution of responses is given as a percentage of the total number of respondents.
The statistical error of these studies for a sample 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%
The ANO Levada Center is included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents.