chapter  10
26 Pages

Public Opinion Acceptance of the Regime

WithVladimir Shlapentokh

After the civil war, the Soviet system had no serious political opponents inside the country and could rely on the support or neutrality of most of the population. Over the course of Soviet history, public support for the regime oscillated. The Soviet people, like all other people, looked at the world through two different lenses—one pragmatic, one ideological. This subject was touched on in the chapters devoted to ideology and the mentality of the Soviet leaders. Throughout Soviet history, and particularly in Stalin's time, the people lived in three separate mental worlds. Among the regime's supporters were many fanatics who rejected anything even remotely suggestive of defects in the Soviet system, Marxist teachings, the creative role of the party, and the wisdom of its leaders. The majority of urban citizens supported Stalin's mass terror in the late 1920s and 1930s.