Russians name Stalin ‘most outstanding’ world figure, Putin ties for second
Stalin, Putin, Pushkin, and Vladimir Lenin took the top three positions in a Levada Center poll which asked Russians to name the “most outstanding people of all times and peoples.” The poll results were published on Monday.
The poll surveyed 1,600 people in 137 places across Russia and was in free form – respondents weren’t given any suggestions for answers.
Stalin, who has been in the top three in similar polls since 1999, got 38 percent of the votes. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Alexander Pushkin tied for second, with 34 percent each. Lenin came in third with 32 percent.
While Stalin, Pushkin, and Lenin have been getting top scores for years, it was the first time the incumbent Russian president made the top three.
Peter the Great, Russia’s first emperor and medieval state reformer, came in fourth place with 29 percent of the votes, ranking higher than the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin.
Two prominent Russian scientists – Mikhail Lomonosov, one of the founders of Moscow State University, and Dmitri Mendeleev, creator of the periodic table of elements – also made the top 20.
Only three non-Russians made the top 20. French leader Napoleon Bonaparte garnered nine percent, followed by Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton, each receiving seven percent. The list closes with the first and only president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, who got six percent of the votes.
Russian public opinion of Stalin has been improving over the past few years, earlier research from the Levada Center indicates. According to sociologists and political scientists, this is mostly due to Russia’s fight against Nazism in World War II. While the percentage of Russians who respect or admire Stalin remains more or less unchanged, the number of respondents who condemn Stalin’s authoritarian policies and mass political repressions has dropped over the past decade. This is said to be attributed to a decrease in political awareness.