Friday, August 20, 2021

More than 80 Percent of Russians Tell VTsIOM They hadn’t Heard about August 1991 Coup Before Pollsters Asked

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 17 – For those who lived through the August 1991 coup – I still remember Estonian Foreign Minister Lennart Meri’s call telephoning me to say that there had been a coup in Moscow and not seeing any report about that on CNN for more than 45 minutes – the events of 30 years ago remain vivid and important.

            But with the passing of time, most people including most Russians have forgotten about those events and their consequences either because they were not yet born or were too young to have any memory of them, a reality that those of us focusing on the failed putsch on this its 30th anniversary need to keep constantly in mind.

            According to the result of a VTsIOM poll released this week, only 21 percent of those surveyed could correctly expand the abbreviation GKChP to the State Committee for the Extraordinary Situation correctly, and the majority of those who could were over 35 (

            And 84 percent of the sample said that they were hearing about the August 1991 coup for the very first time from the pollsters!  Twenty percent told those conducting the survey said the poll failed because the people didn’t support it, but 12 percent said the organizers were poorly prepared and four percent suggesting they didn’t act with sufficient decisiveness.

            If the putsch had succeeded, 10 percent of Russians today say it would have led to negative consequences; but eight percent believe that the coup plotters would have been able to prevent the demise of the USSR and that as a result, their lives now would be better than they are.

            According to VTsIOM, 23 percent of those who believe their lives would have been improved by the success of the putschists say they believe that because the preservation of the USSR would have made life more stable than it has been and would have kept the collective farm system in place and guaranteed adequate food supplies.

            Those who say their lives would have gotten worse argue that it would have led to a civil war, economic collapse, and blocked the emergence of democracy. Both groups together remain divided on what motivated the putschists: 38 percent say they were pursuing their personal goals, while 41 percent say that they were thinking about preserving the USSR.

No comments:

Post a Comment