Staunton, Dec. 24 – A new Levada Center survey finds that 63 percent of Russians regret the demise of the USSR, while 28 percent do not, with older people far more likely to express that view than younger ones, and with those who do increasingly saying their regrets involve the loss of “the feeling of belonging to a great power.”
When Putin came to power, these figures were respectively 75 percent and 19 percent, and they have moved about some over the past 20 years. But the polling center they have not changed significantly since 2018 when they were 65 percent and 25 percent (levada.ru/2021/12/24/nostalgiya-po-sssr-3/).
But of those who express regret, the chief explanation has changed dramatically. In 1999, only 29 percent associated their unhappiness with the end of the Soviet Union with the loss of a sense of being part of a great power. Now, the share who identify with that reason has risen to 46 percent, although that figure is slightly lower than it was a decade ago.
Not surprisingly, it has been consistently the case that older people regret the passing of the USSR far more than younger people do, the Levada Center says. At present, 84 percent of Russians 55 and over express regret about it, while only 24 percent of those 18 to 24 do. And of the latter, 54 percent say they do not regret it at all.
That pattern suggests that those who regret the passing of the USSR should decline as a percentage of the population while those who don’t regret it should increase, unless conditions in Russia and especially government propaganda convinces many younger Russians to change their views.
Indeed, the relative stability in this mix of views in recent years is likely the result of such Kremlin efforts.