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16 Apr, 2019 10:34

Joseph Stalin’s approval rating hits historic high – poll

Joseph Stalin’s approval rating hits historic high – poll

Over 50 percent (the highest ever) of Russians positively view Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and his role in the country’s history, a new poll reveals.

According to research conducted by the Levada Center, the share of Russians who regard Stalin with respect has grown 12 percent, while the share of those who perceive the Soviet leader indifferently or negatively decreased by almost three times since 2015.

As many as 70 percent consider Stalin’s role in the country’s history “rather positive,” praising him for defeating Nazism. Meanwhile, 19 percent say he played a negative role.

Though 45 percent of Russians consider the mass repressions during the Stalin era to be unjustified, the number of those who denounce the repressions dropped almost a quarter from 60 percent in 2008.

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The Levada study shows that the positive perception of Joseph Stalin increased not only among Communist party supporters, who are traditional sympathizers of the Soviet leader, but also among other political groups.

According to sociologist Leonid Bryzov, the rising approval rating of the Soviet leader is a sign of a politicization of society which leads to more radical interpretations of history. “Stalin is seen as a champion of the oppressed,” he said. “This is a purely mythological image, which is a far cry from the real historical figure.”

Meanwhile, great-grandson of Stalin, Jacob Dzhugashvili, has harshly denounced the high approval rating of his notorious relative. In an interview to local radio he slammed those who consider the mass political repression of the Stalin era “justified” and casted doubted on their moral standards.

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Decades after his death in 1953, Stalin remains a highly controversial figure of Russian history. While some, including anti-communists and Russian liberals, regard him as a villain who was behind the mass political repressions which claimed the lives of thousands of people, others praise his role as commander in chief during WWII and for building up strong industry in the USSR.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, numerous attempts have been made to remove Stalin’s tomb from Red Square, but it remains there, though it has become the target of vandalism by anti-communists.

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