More Russians Approve Of Stalin Than Ever Before, Poll Finds

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A record-high 70 percent of Russians approved of Stalin—up 16 percent from 2016.

According to a report published Tuesday by independent pollster the Levada Center, a record-high 70 percent of Russians hold a favorable view of Josef Stalin’s impact on Russian history, The Moscow Times reports.

Since the 2000’s, Stalin’s image has gradually transformed from that of a ruthless dictator to an “outstanding leader,” and much of the effort has been guided by the state. President Vladimir Putin has repopularized the Soviet national anthem, in addition to military parades and an award inspired by the Soviet era.

The previous all-time record for Stalin’s approval rating was 54 percent in 2016, but now, over two-thirds of respondents reported thinking Stalin was a positive influence on Russian history.

Simultaneously, this year saw a record-low 19 percent of individuals who disproved of Stalin’s role, a 13 percent decrease since 2016.

“Stalin begins to be perceived as a symbol of justice and an alternative to the current government, deemed unfair, cruel and not caring about people,” said Academy of Sciences sociologist Leonty Byzov. “It’s purely a mythological image of Stalin, very far from the real historical figure.”

Russia also experienced a decrease in the number of respondents who believed that Stalin’s crimes were “unjustified,” from 60 percent in 2008 to 45 percent in the most recent poll.

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