Soviet symbols to be replaced?

Experts have revealed that almost two thirds of Russians think communist symbols such as names of streets and squares, the hammer and sickle, and soviet-era monuments, should remain part of Russian history.

Research results published on Monday December 22 by VCIOM, the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre, have shown that 65 percent of Russians questioned think Soviet symbols should remain. On the contrary, 20 percent think these symbols are past their time and should be removed. The remainder thinks that these symbols need to be restored.

Moscow and St. Petersburg residents with higher education think the names should be returned to pre-soviet variants. Inhabitants of small cities and villages with secondary education are not against keeping the names of the streets and squares named after communist leaders.

Speaking about monuments to outstanding communists, most of them expressed the opinion that they should not be taken down (60 percent), or transferred to other places (12 percent), whereas only 8 percent demand they should be removed.

More than half of respondents (59 percent) think that the streets and areas named in honour of communist figures should keep these names. 25 percent insist their historical names should be restored, whereas four percent consider that restored pre-soviet names are better to be replaced with communist names again.

The recent renaming of Bolshaya Kommunisticheskaya Street (‘Big Communist’ Street) in Moscow to Alexander Solzhenitsyn Street caused a bitter dispute. While state authorities and admirers of the writer have no concerns about this change, supporters of the Communist party, and some inhabitants of the street, have opposed the renaming. Some activists even organised a protest action in which they tore down the sign of the new street name.

Research by VCIOM took place on November 8-9 2008. 1600 people in 140 areas of Russia were questioned. The margin of error did not exceed 3.4 percent.