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(01/05/09) -

Russians Would Save Symbols of Communism

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many adults in Russia think the symbols of communism are part of the country’s history and must be preserved, according to a poll by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center. 65 per cent of respondents agree with this idea.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many adults in Russia think the symbols of communism are part of the country’s history and must be preserved, according to a poll by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center. 65 per cent of respondents agree with this idea.

Conversely, 20 per cent of respondents believe the symbols of communism are a remnant of the past that must be eliminated, while five per cent would like to restore them.

The Soviet Union was officially established in 1922, following the Bolshevik Revolution. Mikhail Gorbachev was the leader of the Soviet Communist Party from 1985 to 1991. He envisioned the policies of "perestroika" (restructuring)—a series of economic reforms to improve worker productivity and living standards—and "glasnost" (openness) which introduced greater personal freedoms and sought to foster debate.

On Aug. 19, 1991, the State Emergency Committee launched a coup against Gorbachev in an attempt to keep the Soviet leader from signing a new treaty that would have provided a large degree of independence to the Soviet Union’s republics. The coup attempt severely hampered Gorbachev’s authority. The Russian Federation was formed in December 1991, after public support shifted to Russian nationalist Boris Yeltsin.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, several statues of former Soviet leaders were either destroyed or removed, and the city of Leningrad was renamed as St. Petersburg.

Last month, Communist Party member Victor Ilyukhin discussed the current state of affairs, saying, "Russia has lived under capitalism for 20 years now and so what? We are now a rank-and-file country, no longer a superpower. Our voice is weak both in economics and politics, and key decisions are sometimes taken without us."

Polling Data

Which of the following opinions about the symbols of communism (street names, place names, hammer and sickle, monuments, etc.) is closest to your own?

The symbols of communism are part of our history and must be preserved

65%

The symbols of communism are a remnant of the past and we must get rid of them

20%

The symbols of communism must be restored

5%

Hard to answer

10%

Source: All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center
Methodology: Interviews with 1,600 Russian adults, conducted on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9, 2008. Margin of error is 3.4 per cent.