Saturday, September 26, 2015

Polls show: Eastern Europeans miss Communism.

As late as 2015, Socialist Parties are consistently placing second or third in the election results of the former Eastern Bloc (except for the Baltic States, and Poland).
In Russia the Communist party is second.
In Bulgaria the socialist party either wins elections or is the opposition.
In Romania the socialist party is second
In Hungary the socialist party is the second largest in Parliament.
The Czech communist party is third.
The Russian election of 1996 is widely considered to be rigged- less than a month before the "elections", Yeltsin's popularity rating was in the single digits. The same happened in Ukraine, in 1999. Naturally, there can be no fair elections in a mafia government.
Under the current capitalist dictatorship, public services, enterprises and pensions are attacked by "investor state dispute settlement" (ISDS) clauses contained in foreign-imposed trade treaties. ISDS grant "super-rights" to incorporated business entities which supersede national laws which are found to adversely affect projected profits, and the taxpayers must pay for all damages found! Governments are being sued for merely doing what their people have voted for. And the corporations are winning these cases or stopping the behavior they sued about, like single payer health care in Achmea v. Slovak Republic (.pdf) [http://is.gd/9uv6cC]. Often after a suit has been filed, corporations "settle for" huge but confidential payoffs (which is basically winning). Its been estimated that some outcome which is against the public interest occurs in up to seventy percent of them.

* "Polls show: Eastern Europeans miss Communism" (2014) [archive.is/GeMOn]
* "Confidence in Democracy and Capitalism Wanes in Former Soviet Union" (2011-12-05, pewglobal.org) [archive.is/iYQAw]
* "Better Red Than Unfed? A Survey of Post-Communism" (2009-11-03, foreignpolicyblogs. com) [archive.is/a4Zp7]

* "End of Communism cheered but now with more reservations: Chapter 4. Economic Values" (2009-11-02, pewglobal.org) [archive.is/TRMN5] [begin excerpt]: Many Say Economic Situation Is Worse Today -
Majorities or pluralities in six of the eight Eastern European countries surveyed say the economic situation of most people in their country is worse today than it was under communism. Hungarians offer the most negative assessments – 72% say most in their country are worse off today. Majorities in Bulgaria and Ukraine share that view (62% each), as do about half of Lithuanians and Slovaks (48% each) and 45% of Russians.
Only in Poland and the Czech Republic do more respondents say that most people in their country are better off than say most are worse off. Nearly half of Poles (47%) and 45% of Czechs say that the economic situation is better today than it was under communism, while 35% and 39%, respectively, say it is worse.
As is the case with opinions about the move from a state-controlled economy to a market economy, women, those who did not attend college and those who are 65 or older are generally more negative in their assessments of whether most people in their country are better off or worse off today than they were under communism. The views of those in urban or rural areas vary slightly, if at all.
In nearly every Eastern European country surveyed, those under 30 are much more likely than those 65 and older to say that the economic situation of most people in their country is better today than it was under communism. In Russia, 39% of those who were young children during the Soviet regime say people are better off today and one-third say people are worse off. Among those who are 65 and older, about six-in-ten (62%) say the economic situation of most Russians is worse today and just 20% say it is better than it was under communism. A similar pattern is evident throughout the region. In Ukraine, however, the young and old are about equally likely to say the economic situation is better (13% vs. 11%, respectively). At the same time, older Ukrainians are far more likely than young people to say the economic situation is now worse (75% vs. 50%).
Views of Free Markets -
When asked whether they agree or disagree that most people are better off in a free market economy, even though some people may be rich while others are poor, Eastern European publics offer mixed views. Opinions are decidedly in favor of free markets in Poland (70%), the Czech Republic (63%) and Slovakia (56%). In Lithuania, half agree that people are better off in a free market economy, while 43% disagree. And in Ukraine, Bulgaria and Hungary, majorities or pluralities reject the notion that free markets are better, even if they produce inequalities (43%, 58% and 65%, respectively).
Views of free markets are, in large part, a reflection of opinions of how people have fared economically over the past two decades. For example, in Bulgaria, where overall support for free markets is low, more than seven-in-ten (73%) of those who say most people in their country are better off than they were under communism favor the free market model. Just 27% of those who say people are worse off today and 40% of those who say things are about the same for most people as they were under communism express support for free markets. [end excerpt]
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The Republic of Hungary:
* "Hungary: Better Off Under Communism?" (2010-04-28, pewresearch.org) [archive.is/3ZvUb] [begin excerpt]: A remarkable 72% of Hungarians say that most people in their country are actually worse off today economically than they were under communism. Only 8% say most people in Hungary are better off, and 16% say things are about the same. In no other Central or Eastern European country surveyed did so many believe that economic life is worse now than during the communist era. This is the result of almost universal displeasure with the economy. Fully 94% describe the country's economy as bad, the highest level of economic discontent in the hard hit region of Central and Eastern Europe. Just 46% of Hungarians approve of their country's switch from a state-controlled economy to a market economy; 42% disapprove of the move away from communism. The public is even more negative toward Hungary's integration into Europe; 71% say their country has been weakened by the process. [end excerpt]
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The Republic of Romania:
* "In Romania, Opinion Polls Show Nostalgia for Communism" (2011-12-27, balkanalysis.com) [archive.is/MsNRF] [begin excerpt]: The most incredible result was registered in a July 2010 IRES (Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy) poll, according to which 41% of the respondents would have voted for Ceausescu, had he run for the position of president. And 63% of the survey participants said their life was better during communism, while only 23% attested that their life was worse then. Some 68% declared that communism was a good idea, just one that had been poorly applied. [end excerpt]
This article contains the following sources:
[1] "Ceauşescu reelected - 41 percent of Romanian he would vote if the presidential election were today" (2010-07-26, gandul.info) original [archive.is/gsC3x], machine translation [http://is.gd/ooZdyy] could not be archived but is available as a (.jpg) [archive.is/TKnnQ].
[2, 3, 10] "Present perception on communism" (2006-12-18, fundatia.ro) original [archive.is/kiMyR], translation (.pdf) [http://is.gd/3nTGjb] machine translation [http://is.gd/BgHYpQ] could not be archived but is available as a (.jpg) [archive.is/VPHpe]. Originally posted by Fundaţia Soros Romania (Soros Foundation Romania) as "Perceptia actuala asupra comunismului. Comunicat de presă (Actual perception on communism. Press release)" at [http://www.sfos.ro/ro/comunicate_detaliu.php?comunicat=21]
[4, 5] "Partizanii lui ‘inainte era mai bine’ (Proponents of  'it was better before')" (2009-01-29, by Sandra Scarlat, adevarul.ro), original at [http://is.gd/PWwPBV], machine translation [http://is.gd/sptyaE] could not be archived but is available as a (.jpg) [archive.is/8EmBU].
[6] “Romanii nu regreta comunismul (The Romanians do not regret communism)" (2009-11-07, by Ionela Sufaru, Jurnalul National), original at [http://is.gd/B9mdgj] with the attached diagram at [archive.is/hoebQ], machine translation [http://is.gd/I9eFTO] could not be archived but is available as a (.jpg) [archive.is/ls1OA]. The survey did not focus on the communist past, but some of the survey’s questions asked people to evaluate communism as an ideology, and many Romanians continue to consider it ‘a good’ idea.
[7] "Din ce clasă socială faceti parte? (To What Social Class Do You Belong?)" (2007, by Gabriela Neagu, business-adviser.ro), original at [http://is.gd/TRhJmk] machine translation [http://is.gd/bQbvyh] could not be archived but is available as a (.jpg) [archive.is/9G1CB].
[8] "Studenţii regretă perioada comunistă (Students regret the communist period)" (2008-08-13, by Alina Gavrilă, Adevărul) original at [http://is.gd/lsGgbK], machine translation: Over 30% of students believe that Romania was better before 1989, according to a study by the Agency for Governmental Strategies. The criteria on which students have expressed sympathy for communist Romania are performance and living standards of the education system. A third of students would prefer the establishment of an authoritarian regime if it would ensure rising living standards of the population and 24% of students would not approve any form, a dictatorship. Ignorance, the primary reason "When someone who lived under communism, says he regrets this era means that is currently unsatisfied," said Mircea Kivu, a sociologist. In turn, prof. Ph.D. Mihaela Miroiu believes that ignorance is the main reason why a large percentage of the students considered so it was better before 1989. "Do you think it was better before the Revolution and prefer the establishment of a totalitarian regime is stupid. These young people and their parents have not lived the trauma of the '50s," she said.
[9] "The Present-Day Perception on Communism" poll data gathered 2010, 2011 (crimelecomunismului.ro) page 1 [archive.is/OpdKX], part 2 [http://is.gd/KHFx57]
[11] "The Tragic Failure of “Post-Communism” in Eastern Europe" (2011-03-08, by Dr. Rossen Vassilev) [archive.is/WU6E5]

* "Romania, rampant communist nostalgia: 2 of 3 want their Ceausescu; Unbelievable but true. 66% of Romanians would have Nicolae Ceausescu again to lead the country. Rampant nostalgia for socialism" (2015-08-09, affaritaliani.it) machine translated [archive.is/7p1uX]
* "Nicolae Ceausescu is considered the best president of Romania. Followed by Ion Iliescu and Traian Basescu - poll" (2014-07-17, hotnews.ro), original at [http://is.gd/wPnL6q] machine translation [http://is.gd/QEmQ9i] could not be archived but is available as a (.jpg) [archive.is/6y2Aw].
* "Poll: Nearly 45% of Romanians believe that the communist regime meant "a good thing for Romania". Banat - most reluctant to communism, Moldovans - the most favorable" (2014-01-17, hotnews.ro), original at [archive.is/TEl81] machine translation [http://is.gd/LQiXGg] could not be archived but is available as a (.jpg) [archive.is/7BHBd].
* "POLL. 46% of Romanian respondents would vote for President Nicolae Ceausescu now" (2014-04-10, digi24.ro), original at [http://is.gd/pAR8Xj] machine translation [http://is.gd/PVu7Cv] could not be archived but is available as a (.jpg) [archive.is/wcmZS].
* "Poll: 53% of Romanian would return to communism" (2012-08-08, romanialibera.ro), original at [archive.is/9swz9], machine translation [http://is.gd/pROMg6] could not be archived but is available here: European harshly criticized and political torn, Romania awaits the verdict of the Constitutional Court to find out who will be president: Crin Antonescu and Basescu. Meanwhile, stand and Romanians, both economically, especially social. And recent surveys reveal an alarming state of mind of citizens to tensions, according to Mediafax.
In an overwhelming majority of Romanians believe that politics is stealing and lying. As for our European future, 64 percent believe that Romania is on the wrong track, 27 percent see us outside Europe, while 53 percent would return to communism.
If until now the erosion of the opposition government was joy, things seem to have changed. The Romanians did not look at the political opposition as clear and distinct alternative power. Even more, polls show discontent with the political class in general.
According to a survey conducted by the Romanian Institute of Social Studies, more than half of Romanian believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. The answer to this question was extracted from three surveys conducted on March 26, May 8 and June 27. Of the total respondents in March, 80% said that Romania goes in the wrong direction. In early May, the number of those who believed that Romania is heading in the wrong direction was down to 40% and at the end of June, the number had risen to 64%.
A percentage of 26% of Romanian believe that the country could be kicked out of the European Union in the near future because of the crisis at the top of the state.
To the question "How do you think that is now Romania's image in Europe?", 71% of respondents felt that the current picture is pretty bad.
The most shocking is that after 20 years of democracy, poll-Public Affairs, conducted from July 14 to 18, 53% of Romanian argued that it would return to communism and Ceausescu's regime has been badly applied.
As it concerns current polticienii Romanians remain reluctant to them. That's because, in the view of 51% of Romanian politicians "stealing public money" and 31% think they are "liars".
However, most citizens declare their interests in relation to the current situation, with 40% saying that interest them much, while 25% are indifferent. Most Romanians have chosen to procure information from television (81.8%) and all the other information channels, internet, newspapers or radio tiny percentage charge. [end machine translated article]
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The Federal Republic of Germany's eastern realm:
* "Homesick for a Dictatorship: Majority of Eastern Germans Feel Life Better under Communism; Glorification of the German Democratic Republic is on the rise two decades after the Berlin Wall fell. Young people and the better off are among those rebuffing criticism of East Germany as an "illegitimate state." In a new poll, more than half of former eastern Germans defend the GDR" (2009--07-03, spiegel.de) [archive.is/HFdaB]
* "Germany Ostalgie stronger than ever. Travel between who wants back in the GDR; There is not only Germany's Merkel and Schaeuble. In the East it is still very much alive nostalgia for socialism" (2015-08-01, affaritaliani.it) machine translated [archive.is/WGGjF]
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The Czech Republic:
* "Poll: Many Czechs say they had better life under Communism" (2011-11-21, praguemonitor.com) [archive.is/bFYoy], page censored [archive.is/7tUTi], then purged [archive.is/UFfGC] [begin excerpt]: Roughly 28 percent of Czechs say they were better off under the Communist regime, according to a poll conducted by the polling institute SC&C and released Sunday.
Only 23 percent said they had a better life now.
More goods in shops, open borders and better cultural offer are considered the biggest successes of the system that was installed after 1989.
Nine-in-ten are of the view that much better conditions for corruption arose after 1989.
Some two-thirds of those polled said leading politicians were less corrupt under the Communist regime than now.
Some 56 percent said Czech democracy was not working comparably with democracies in advanced countries. The opposite view is held by 44 percent of Czechs.
On the other hand, the voucher privatisation, the worsening of human relations and work of the civil service are its biggest flaws, most Czechs said. [end excerpt]
* "Former Czech Dissident, Now Against the West: Freest Under Czech Communism!" (2014-10-24, counterpunch.org) [archive.is/1x5OJ], intro and thirteen photos (2014-10-26, popularresistance.org) [archive.is/PZRPF]
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The Republic of Serbia:
* "Serbia Poll: Life Was Better Under Tito A poll shows that as many as 81 per cent of Serbians believe they lived best in the former Yugoslavia - 'during the time of socialism' " (2010-12-24, balkaninsight.com/en) [archive.is/S5R3i] [begin excerpt]:
The survey focused on the respondents' views on the transition "from socialism to capitalism", and a clear majority said they trusted social institutions the most during the rule of Yugoslav communist president Josip Broz Tito.
The standard of living during Tito's rule from the Second World War to the 1980s was also assessed as best, whereas the Milosevic decade of the 1990s, and the subsequent decade since the fall of his regime are seen as "more or less the same".
45 percent said they trusted social institutions most under communism with  23 percent choosing the 2001-2003 period when Zoran Djinđic was prime minister. Only 19 per cent selected present-day institutions.
According to the poll coordinator Srecko Mihailovic, "what seems to be most disturbing" in the answers is that 23 per cent of respondents think that Serbia is governed by criminals, 18 per cent believe that the country is run by the president, the government and parliament, the same percentage believe that the country is run by owners of large companies, while 12 per cent think that Serbia is ruled by "the international community". [end excerpt]
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The Republic of Ukraine:
* "More than half of Ukrainians regret Soviet breakup" (2011-03-16, en.ria.ru) [archive.is/haB4S]: More than half of Ukrainian residents regret the break-up of the Soviet Union, an expert from the Research & Branding Group said on Wednesday, citing poll results.
"More than half of Ukrainian residents (54%) agree that the Soviet Union should have been preserved, although every third resident (33%) has a contrary opinion," Yevgeny Kopatko said.
However, only 26% of respondents said they would vote against independence from the Soviet Union if such a referendum took place today, while 51% say they would choose independence.
"At present, Ukrainians are divided in their perception of the Soviet Union's breakup. Some consider this event "a logical end of the communist empire" (44%) while others say it was a "major geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century," he said.
Some 43% of Ukrainians believe that the breakup of the Soviet Union was inevitable, while 46% say it was possible to avoid it.
A total of 2,075 respondents took place in survey on March 1-9. The margin of error is estimated to be below 2.2%.
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The Republic of Kyrgyzstan:
* "Roza Otunbayeva: we’ve been uncomfortable in our new skin for 20 years now; During its independent existence Kyrgyzstan has sustained severe economic downturns, regional upheavals, two revolutions and high ethnic tensions" (2011-09-09, en.ria.ru) [archive.is/rBebO] [begin excerpt]:
Q: What role did the Soviet period play in Kyrgyz history? Was the foundation of Kyrgyz statehood laid during Soviet times?
A: Now that we have become an independent state and began scrutinizing our history, historians find evidence that we had statehood in the hoary past that was then interrupted and so on. But it was only during the Soviet period that Kyrgyzstan had acquired real statehood. French enlighteners used to say that every state must have its academy of sciences, university, and encyclopedia. We got all of them in Soviet years. I would even say that for us the Soviet period was comparable to the Renaissance. Our modern arts and culture were born at that time. Our people’s literary and cultural achievements were put into books, printed music, and films. The ballet, opera, painting, theater, and cinema had become essential parts of our culture. All people in Kyrgyzstan could read and write – this is what the Soviet Union gave us!
Q: Did you feel like you belong to the “new historical, social, and international community – the Soviet people”?
A: Absolutely! I was a very Soviet product. I went to the Artek summer pioneer camp twice and worked as a team leader when I was still in school. I finished high school with excellent marks and entered the philosophy department at Moscow State University (MSU). I finished post-graduate courses there and joined the party. My life was a good example of how the social ladder worked in Soviet time – I, a girl from a family with many children from the Osha province, managed to join MSU, the nation’s best university and studied there on par with children of professors… After defending my thesis I came back to Kyrgyzstan and headed a faculty at the local university. Later on, I worked in the regional and city party committees… We were brought up as the vanguard of the big Soviet country. [...]
Q: You represented the Soviet elite and it was natural for you to feel part of the united Soviet nation. Did rank-and-file Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, and Dungans who lived in Kyrgyzstan during the Soviet years feel the same?
A: I think that when this carpet named “the Soviet people, a single historical community” was woven, the authorities interpreted it superficially and created national elite class which would go on to influence people’s views. I don’t think rank-and-file people felt the sense of the so-called “single community.” The authorities didn’t have time to create it – they set the task but it required more time and better developed economy to achieve it. Peasants did not even have passports – they were forced to stay in villages, but they were employed there. Going abroad for a provincial was like taking a trip to the Moon! Our society is now developing with such convulsions because in Soviet years it was spasmodic. Its development was inflated out of all proportion in some respects and artificially restrained in others. The powerful drive for urbanization started as soon as the Soviet Union collapsed – people rushed to the cities.
Today, common people miss the Soviet times, saying that then they had pensions and salaries… Some are creating myths about the Soviet past. I recently heard one lady saying over the radio that as a school teacher she could go for vacation on Lake Issyk-Kul for 12 rubles and bought a fur coat on her first salary. But this is simply untrue.
During the Soviet years, the life was better organized and gave the feeling of social security. I remember how we had disputes and some insisted that alcoholics and social parasites should not be paid salaries. During all these 20 years we have been going through this market economy chopper, as if we are being dragged through the windfall. But every society had similar periods, and now it is our time to turn down this unavoidable path…
Q: Central Asian republics did not fight for their independence. After the signing of the Belovezh Accords, they were faced with a sheer fact: all of a sudden they were free. If the Russian government had acted differently, would it have been possible to retain a single state with Central Asian republics?
A: We were simply thrown out of that big country to “live as we want”. I think it would have been possible to preserve the country but our Akayev followed the West’s wishes and wanted to raze everything to the ground. He wasn’t sorry at all – destroying is easier than building, and he came to power when everything had already been built. Contrary to Islam Karimov and Nursultan Nazarbayev, he did not build anything himself.
We all saw how Nazarbayev was trying to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union to the very last moment. At that time we felt and thought the same as him. Being the prime minister and then the first secretary of the Kazakh Communist Party, he was very well aware what Kazakhstan was all about and what resources it had but at the same time he could hardly imagine being without the Soviet Union and without Russia. The same can be said about Kyrgyzstan. [end excerpt]
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The former USSR (a general overview):
* Statistics taken from "Flight from Freedom: What Russians Think and Want" by Richard Pipes, published in the May/June 2004 issue of Foreign Affairs:
According to Yale Lecturer Richard Pipes, 74% of Russians surveyed for his 2005 book regret the demise of the Soviet Union and believe life was better under Communism.
78% of respondents in a 2003 survey said that democracy is a facade for a government controlled by rich and powerful cliques. Only 22% expressed a preference for democracy; 53% disliked it.
74% of Russians regret the Soviet Union's passing. Only 12% regard the post-communist regime as "legitimate". In an October 2003 survey they were asked how they would react to a Communist coup: 23% would actively support it, 19% would collaborate, only 10% would actively resist.

* "Former Soviet Countries See More Harm From Breakup; Residents more than twice as likely to say collapse hurt their country" (2013-12-19, gallup.com) [archive.is/El9yB] [begin excerpt]: Reflecting back on the breakup of the Soviet Union that happened 22 years ago next week, residents in seven out of 11 countries that were part of the union are more likely to believe its collapse harmed their countries than benefited them. Only Azerbaijanis, Kazakhstanis, and Turkmens are more likely to see benefit than harm from the breakup. Georgians are divided. [end excerpt]

* "More than half of Russians want the Soviet Union back" (2014-05-08, qz.com) [archive.is/hkqAh]:
The US polling company Pew Research Center has just released a survey of Russian and Ukrainian attitudes to what’s going on in eastern Ukraine [archive.is/zzRFX], and one fact caught our eye: 55% of Russian adults think it’s a “great misfortune” that the Soviet Union no longer exists [archive.is/BG9fw] (see chart).
Pew has asked Russians this question twice before, and got roughly the same result: 58% in 2009 and 50% in 2011. (There’s a 3.6-percentage-point margin of error.) What makes this rather striking is that, in 2009, none of the people Pew surveyed (aged 18 and older) would have been born after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Today, roughly 6 million fully post-Soviet Russians have reached adulthood, judging by Russian official data (spreadsheet, link in Russian).
Of Russians under 30—who would have been at most seven years old in 1991—some 40% lamented the USSR’s demise, Pew found. Again, looking at the population data, which show some 27 million people born between 1984 and 1996, that means about 10 million Russian adults long for the restoration of a country and political system of which they have no meaningful personal memory.

* "Post-Soviet Syndrome; Many Young Russians Are Nostalgic for the Soviet Union" (2011-09-22, en.ria.ru) [archive.is/sDTcv] [begin excerpt]: For many young people, the fabled social guarantees and safety net that the Soviet regime provided were the keys to their hearts. “It was good that the government provided people with the necessary living conditions and social benefits, there was more confidence about tomorrow,” 20-year-old Maria Skorik, who studies PR at the Journalism and Philology Faculty of the Southern Federal University in Rostov-on-Don, said. For her, social welfare is what was cool about the Soviet Union, even though she said that her idea of those times was based on bedside stories.
Maxim Rudnev, aged 23, who studies at Russia’s Academy of Law and Governance, also said recreational storytelling by his parents formed his opinions about the Soviet past. “My opinion is based on stories I was told by my grandparents and good Soviet movies,” said Rudnev, who was born in East Berlin and never lived in the Soviet Union. “For me, the Soviet past is associated with victories in World War II, the achievements of the space programs, science and the labor movements, such as Stakhanovism.” Rudnev is now one of the patriotic young fellows in the pro-Kremlin Molodaya Gvardiya political movement, which, among other things, groom the young generation to look at the Soviet past with admiration and some veneration. [...]
The study, which polled 300 high-school and university students aged between 13 and 32, found that young people with little or no memory of the Soviet Union also tend to be nostalgic for the past. “Young Russians didn’t live in the Soviet Union and only know about it from stories they have been told by their parents, grandparents and teachers, or Soviet movies,” Kasamara said. “These tend to concentrate on positive experiences and don’t reflect the gloomy Soviet reality.” [...]
Tough social and economic conditions since the collapse of the Soviet Union can also lead people to idealize the past, according to experts. “The difficulties people faced after the collapse of the Soviet Union, including the 1998 economic crisis, the threat of terrorism, and the collapse of order—which had been so typical of the post-Soviet era, outweighed the problems of the Soviet period,” Kasamara said. “Although Soviet citizens didn’t like the gloomy Soviet reality, when shock therapy was implemented in response to the collapse of the Soviet Union people started to recall ‘the romantic and still air of the Soviet Union’ when they had government support and confidence about tomorrow.” [...]
Suspicion toward Western countries is also quite common among the post-Soviet generation, which Kasamara believes indicates it is yearning for the Soviet Union’s influence in the international political arena. A poll conducted by the Levada Center in 2011 revealed that 70 percent of respondents believe that Russia has a lot of strategic rivals and enemies abroad. [end excerpt]
* "Uncertain World: Destructive Soviet nostalgia" (2011-12-08, en.ria.ru) [archive.is/45SOx] [begin excerpt]: Second, some manifestations of “real democracy” have been so repulsive that many have started looking at “real socialism” through rose-colored glasses. Finally, the political class took up a completely different matter – trying to convert the credit of public trust into power and property for itself. The reforms of the 1990s, primarily privatization, reached their real, as opposed to stated, goal, and returning to the Soviet economic model and politics became impossible. Yet, the exploitation of nostalgic feelings for Soviet life became widespread – having started under Boris Yeltsin it flourished and became systemic under Vladimir Putin.

* "Referendum on the preservation of the USSR" infographic (2011, en.ria.ru) [archive.is/Ez8Fd]:



Comment from Kate R. (2015-12-26): The referendum stated the simple question which is shown. It was run independently and in a way in which your vote was not a show of hands in a crowd but a tick on a ballot. The people of the USSR and the other Eastern Bloc countries wanted to stay communist... They declared in poll after poll and vote after vote that they wanted to keep the communist system but modify it slightly. Some of my family are from the eastern bloc and they never shut up about how communism was fantastic in comparison to the hell they have now.

* "Remembering a futile referendum" (2011-03-24, en.ria.ru) [archive.is/O9ezM] [begin excerpt]: All these events took place later but are worth mentioning to demonstrate that on March 17, 1991 the people were not, in fact, voting for the “good old USSR” but for some renewed federation or the union of equal sovereign republics, neither of which was destined to last.
It is no accident that, on the same day, an overwhelming majority of people in the Russian Federation (then still called the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) voted to introduce the post of president. Anyone elected to this post would have inevitably come into conflict with Gorbachev. Moscow could not have coped with having two presidents. [end excerpt]
* "The last will of the Soviet people" (2011-03-18, en.ria.ru) [archive.is/M3Uyo] [begin excerpt]: A plebiscite is considered the highest form of direct democracy. Maybe it works in tiny, orderly Switzerland, where any political or administrative issue is resolved by referendum. In a politically unstable and democratically immature society a referendum does not give a real picture of people’s desires: it is an instrument of manipulation and political intrigue and is used even more brazenly than elections.
The vote on the preservation of the USSR became part of the intense struggle that the union authorities were waging against the elites in the various Soviet republics, mainly in Russia. However, Boris Yeltsin negated the Kremlin’s success in one masterful stroke: offering the Russians a parallel vote on establishing the post of president of the Russian Federation (more than 71% backed the idea). Thus Yeltsin created an alternative center of power that not only outmaneuvered but obliterated its rival. [...]
Had an agreement to establish a USR been signed in August, it would have alleviated the nature and consequences of the USSR’s dissolution, above all in economic terms. The local elites would have received the very same mechanism of “amicable divorce” that was later created hastily and called the Commonwealth of Independent States. This would have been a better mechanism, and the people would probably not have paid so high a price for the country’s disintegration. But although it was the people who paid, the politicians set the price. Each was ready to go to any lengths for the sake of the main prize.
After March 17, the community that had hitherto been known as “the Soviet people” ceased to exist. Their last will, as expressed in the referendum on keeping the USSR, remained unfulfilled. [end excerpt]

* "The collapse of the Soviet Union: 20 years on; Twenty years ago, in January 1991, the tragic events in the Baltic region triggered a countdown to the end of the Soviet Union. The nuclear superpower that once dominated half the world ceased to exist within a year" (2011, en.ria.ru) [archive.is/ell69]

* "Gorbachev named least popular Russia leader" (2012-02-02, UPI Newswire) [archive.is/IMk52] [begin excerpt]: A survey by Russia's state-run VTsIOM polling groupr found just 14 percent of respondents named Gorbachev, the Soviet Union's last head of state, when asked whose policies in the past 100 years resulted in Russia developing in the proper direction, RIA Novosti reported.
Boris Yeltsin, the first president of the Russia Federation, was named by 17 percent of respondents in the survey. [...]
Among Communist leaders, Vladimir Lenin and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin each received a positive rating from 28 percent of respondents, compared with 24 percent for Nikita Khrushchev.
Russia's last czar, Nicholas II, got a positive rating from 31 percent of respondents.
The survey of 1,600 people was conducted Oct. 29-30 in 46 Russian regions and has a margin of error of less than 3.4 percent. [end excerpt]