Staunton, Dec. 3 – The Kremlin’s suppression of the Memorial human rights organization has prompted the Levada Center to conduct a poll about how Russians in general and not just liberal activists and commentators feel. It found that a third of all Russians have heard about Memorial, and that of those, 58 percent have a positive view of it.
Most of those who have positive feelings about Memorial say that the Kremlin’s demand for its liquidation is a political action directed at the suppression of all social groups that are not completely controlled by the government (levada.ru/2021/12/03/obshhestvennoe-mnenie-o-likvidatsii-memoriala/).
Perhaps most worrisome is the fact that 70 percent of those questioned by the Levada Center sociologists said that they know nothing about Memorial, an overall figure that combines very different findings for older Russians and younger ones. While 41 percent of Russians over 55 knew about the organization, only16 percent of those aged 18 to 24.
One reason for this difference is that older Russians are likely to have had direct experience either themselves or among their relatives with the Soviet repressions that Memorial has sought to expose. But that also suggests that younger Russians who don’t are far less concerned with that past than those who are aging and passing from the scene.
And that lack of knowledge and concern helps to explain why the Putin regime has found it relatively easy to whitewash the Soviet past. The rising generation simply does not have its own experience with it and therefore is likely more inclined to accept what the authorities say regardless of the facts.