Red Army could have defeated Nazis without allies, most Russians say in new poll
Two thirds of respondents in a recent Russian poll believe the Soviet Union could have repelled Nazi aggression in World War II without outside help, with about 20 percent saying Stalin’s regime should share the blame for the huge losses suffered in the process.
The research was conducted by the state-owned agency VTSIOM in connection with the Day of National Mourning and Memory, which is being marked on June 22 – the day Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941.
When pollsters asked Russians who, in their opinion, was the main ally of their country during World War II, 50 percent named the United States, 43 percent said it was the United Kingdom, and 27 percent mentioned France (the question allowed several answers).
At the same time, 67 percent of respondents said they were sure that the Soviet people could have repelled the Nazi aggression without any outside help. Twenty-seven percent answered that in their opinion the Red Army would have been defeated without the allies’ aid.
Almost all respondents – 93 percent – said the losses suffered by the Soviet Union in WWII were extremely large. Fifty-eight percent of the public currently believes that the casualties were excessive and 35 percent described them as inevitable given the scale of the conflict.
When asked about the reasons for the level of such carnage seen during the war, 34 percent said it could be explained by the sudden and treacherous initial attack by Germany, 15 percent named Germany’s technical superiority, and 12 percent put it down to the sheer cruelty of the Nazis and their allies. Seven percent blamed the losses on the blunders of Stalin’s regime, which either did not care about the fate of ordinary Soviet citizens or lacked competence and experience to make the right decisions.
Nikolai Zemtsov of the all-Russian movement Immortal Regiment, which is dedicated to the memory of those who perished in the war, said in comments with Izvestia daily that the results of the poll reflected the real historical situation.
“We suffered tremendous casualties, but we paid this price to liberate our country and the whole of Europe with it. This feat is without doubt the heritage of the Soviet Union but some nations are now trying to doubt our heroic victory. They cynically distort history and make heroic facts serve their own reputation,” the activist stated.
When a similar poll was conducted in Europe in April last year, the results were strikingly different. According to research by the British agency ICM Research, as little as 13 percent of Europeans thought that the Soviet Army had played the leading role in liberating Europe from Nazism, and 43 percent of respondents said they thought the key role in defeating Nazism was played by the United States.
World War II lasted from 1939 to 1945 and involved over 80 countries and regions. Up to 70 million people are believed to have lost their lives. However, the USSR suffered the biggest losses. At least 27 million Soviet citizens died during the war.