chapter  3
26 Pages

Stalinism and Russian nationalism: a reconceptualization VELJKO VUJA Cˇ I C´

In a recent article in Foreign Affairs, Sarah Mendelson and Theodore Gerber and have demonstrated the highly ambivalent attitude of young and adult Russians towards Stalin. Using three surveys of several thousand Russians carried out between 2003 and 2005, these two researchers have come up with some astonishing results. Thus, fewer than one-half of all respondents in one of the surveys categorically rejected the idea that they would vote for Stalin if he were alive, while some 13 percent of respondents under the age of 30 stated that they would definitely vote for him. In another survey a full 51 percent of respondents regarded Stalin as a “wise leader” (39 percent disagreed), 43 percent thought that Stalin’s role in the repressions was exaggerated (47 percent disagreed), and only a minority (28 percent) thought that Stalin should not be credited with victory in World War II. These results seem all the more surprising in view of the fact that most Russians (70 percent) are fully aware that Stalin executed millions of people.