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Attitude toward Stalin

Press release by Liana Novikova

About quarter of adult population of Ukraine think Stalin was a great leader, 44% do not think so. Indifferent attitude towards Stalin is the most common (26%) amongst the Ukrainians, at the same time 17% treat him with disgust and hatred, slightly smaller percentage – with respect (13%), and with hostility and irritation (13%). Opinion that Stalin was a “wise leader” is supported by 28% of the population, while 70% agree that “Stalin is cruel, inhuman tyrant, guilty of the extermination of millions of innocent people”. Almost three quarters of the population say that they would NOT like to live and work with such leader of state as Stalin.

 

In a period of February 5-16, 2016 Kyiv International Institute of Sociology has conducted its own public opinion poll “Omnibus”. Data were collected from 2020 respondents living in 110 settlements (PSU) in all macro regions of Ukraine, except the AR of Crimea, through personal interviews. Sample is stochastic and representative for the population of Ukraine aged 18 and above.

The statistical sample error (with probability of 0.95 and design–effect of 1.5) does not exceed: 3.3% for indicators close to 50%, 2.8% – for indicators close to 25%, 2.0% – for indicators close to 10%, 1.4% – for indicators close to 5%.

 

Amongst the population of Ukraine negative attitude toward Stalin and his role in history is generally more popular. That is, more than half of the citizens do not agree with the positioning of Stalin as a great leader or a wise leader who has guided SRSR to power and prosperity. Positive range of emotions toward Stalin (17%) is twice smaller than negative one. More positive toward Stalin are people from Eastern region, elder people, people with secondary education and people with a low level of  income.

 

  • Amongst the Ukrainians 23% agree that Stalin was a great leader. This opinion is much more popular in Eastern region where 41% of respondents consider Stalin to have been a great leader. Also many more respondents with incomplete secondary education support this opinion, while half of the respondents with higher education do not agree with this positioning of Stalin.
  • Range of emotions toward Stalin tends to the negative pole – more than a third of all respondents define their attitude to him in terms of “fear”, or “hostility, irritation”, or “disgust, hatred”. Elder people show the biggest respect to the former leader of SRSR (Graph 1), especially those of age group 70+, and they constitute a quarter.
  • Half of the population (53.5%) stated they would not have liked to work with such state`s leader as Stalin. This attitude is more typical for Western and Central regions, and for younger population as well (to 49 years old) (Graph 2).
  • While 28% ofthewholepopulationthinkStalinwasawiseleader”, inWesternregiononly 11% thinkso, butinEasternregion it is 45% (Table 1). Amongst people aged 49 and less 8% see Stalin as a wise leader, but amongst people of age group 50+ this percentage is 2.5 times bigger. 70% of Ukrainians agree that Stalin was “cruel, inhuman tyrant”, the most indulgent in this regard are representatives of the most prosperous segment of the population: 53% of them agree with this statement (Table 2).

 

Attitude toward Stalin in different sociodemographic groups:

  • As to age differences in the attitude toward Stalin, representatives of the elder generation generally show more approval than younger generations do. For example, 28% of people older than 50 years agree that Stalin was a great leader, 35% of these people also see him as a wise leader (against 23% amongst people of the age group 18 – 49).

  • In Eastern region 41% of respondents agree that Stalin was a great leader while in other macro regions this opinion is supported by 10-22% of respondents. Also more positive range of emotions toward Stalin is shown in Eastern region: 29% of respondents of the region expressed their respect to Stalin. While 4% of citizens of Eastern region feel disgust and hatred toward Stalin, about 38% in Western region feel the same. In all macro regions the majority of respondents would not like to work with such state`s leader, the most detachment is observed in Western region – 88%. It is more popular in the East to think of Stalin as of a wise leader, and in the West and the South – to think of him as of a cruel tyrant (Table 1).

  • Also one`s attitude toward Stalin depends on income level of respondent`s family: the most poor and the most rich groups of the population have more positive attitude toward Stalin. That is, the partition of those who do NOT think Stalin was a great leader is ranging between 30% and 36% amongst respondents with high and with very low levels of income. The amount of those who has rather negative opinion about Stalin is significantly bigger amongst people with low and middle income levels – about 46%. Same situation is observed with the expression of respect to Stalin, desire to work with such state`s leader. Also amongst the most poor and the most rich people percentages of those who think Stalin was a wise leader are higher by 10-13% (Table 2).

  • As to differentiation by level of education, the tendency is as follows: the higher is the level of education, the more negative is the attitude toward Stalin. Half of respondents with higher education do NOT define Stalin as a great leader, while only third of people with incomplete secondary education have this opinion. Also 9% of respondents with higher education express respect to Stalin, while the percentage of such people amongst those with incomplete secondary education is twice bigger. The higher is respondent`s level of education, the less will this person express to work with such leader of state. Finally, three quarters of respondents with higher education agree that Stalin was a cruel, inhuman tyrant, the percentage of respondents who share this opinion is less than 70% in other groups by level of education (Table 3).

 

Graph 1 Distribution of answer to the question “How do you generally feel about Stalin?” by age, % of respondents

Graph 2 DistributionofanswerstothequestionWouldyoupersonallyliketoliveandworkwithsuchleader of stateasStalin?” byage, % of respondents


 

Addition 1. Formulation of questions from the questionnaire

And now a few questions about Stalin whose figure continues to be controversial in our country

ST0. Do you agree with this statement – “Stalin was a great leader”?

Do not agree 1
Difficult to say for sure 2
Agree 3
NO ANSWER 4

 

ST1. HowdoyoupersonallyfeelaboutStalin? Mark only one answer. SHOW CARD ST1, ONE ANSWER

With excitement 1 I DO NOT KNOW WHO STALIN IS 8
With respect 2 DIFFICULT TO SAY 88
With sympathy 3 DENIAL FROM ANSWER 99
Indifferent 4    
With hostility, irritation 5    
With fear 6    
With disgust, hatred 7    

 

ST2. Wouldyoupersonallyliketoliveandworkwithsuchleader of state as Stalin? ONE ANSWER

Rather yes 1 Probably no 3 DIFFICULT TO SAY 8
Probably yes 2 Rather no 4 DENIAL FROM ANSWER 9

 

ST3. ? (Ʋ ST3, , ²² )

  Agree fully Rather agree Rather disagree Disagree fully DIFFICULT TO SAY DENIAL FROM ANSWER
1.Stalin was a wise leader who has led SRSR to power and prosperity 1 2 3 4 8 9
2. Stalin was cruel, inhuman tyrant, guilty of the extermination of millions of innocent people 1 2 3 4 8 9

 

TABLES

 

Table 1 Regional distribution of answers to the question To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about Stalin?”: “1. Stalin was wise leader who has led SRSR to power and prosperity”, “2. Stalin was cruel, inhuman tyrant, guilty of the extermination of millions of innocent people”, % of respondents

Macro region Stalin was a wise leader Stalin was a cruel tyrant
Agree Disagree Difficult to say/ Denial Agree Disagree Difficult to say/ Denial
Western 10.8 70.6 18.6 87.3 1.8 10.9
Central 28.6 47.0 24.4 64.3 8.2 27.5
South 30.1 52.0 17.9 76.3 5.9 17.8
Eastern 45.0 30.4 24.6 51.2 20.1 28.7
Ukraine in general 28.2 50.3 21.5 69.8 8.7 21.5

 

Table 2 Distribution of answers to the question To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about Stalin?”: “1. Stalin was wise leader who has led SRSR to power and prosperity”, “2. Stalin was cruel, inhuman tyrant, guilty of the extermination of millions of innocent people” by the level of income in respondent`s family,% of respondents

Level of income Stalin was a wise leader Stalin was a cruel tyrant
Agree Disagree Difficult to say/ Denial Agree Disagree Difficult to say/ Denial
Very low 36.6 45.2 18.2 69.9 11.1 19.0
Low 26.4 51.6 22.0 70.2 8.0 21.8
Middle 26.8 52.5 20.7 72.1 7.1 20.8
High 39.6 41.8 28.6 52.6 23.9 23.5

 

Table 3 Distribution of answers to the question To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about Stalin?”: “1. Stalin was wise leader who has led SRSR to power and prosperity”, “2. Stalin was cruel, inhuman tyrant, guilty of the extermination of millions of innocent people” by the level of education,% of respondents

Level of education Stalin was a wise leader Stalin was a cruel tyrant
Agree Disagree Agree Disagree Agree Disagree
Incomplete secondary 42.1 37.5 20.4 63.0 14.7 22.3
Secondary 29.3 46.5 24.2 67.4 8.0 24.6
Vocational 29.0 48.6 22.4 67.3 11.1 21.6
Higher 23.5 57.8 18.7 75.8 5.3 18.9

 

Table 4 Distribution of answers to the question “Do you agree with this statement – “Stalin was a great leader”?” amongst the population by years, % of respondents

  1991 2002 2006 2011 2016
Disagree 44 28 28 34 44
Difficult to say for sure 17 25 19 17 27
Agree 27 39 38 36 23
No answer 12 8 15 14 6

 

Table 5 Distribution of answers to the question “How do you personally feel about Stalin? Mark only one answer.” amongst the population, % of respondents

  %  
With excitement 1 17%
With respect 13
With sympathy 3
Indifferent 26 26%
With hostility, irritation 13 38%
With fear 8
With disgust, hatred 17
I DO NOT KNOW WHO STALIN IS 1 19%
DIFFICULT TO SAY 17
DENIAL FROM ANSWER 2
TOTAL 100 100%

 

Table 6 Distribution of answers to the question “How do you personally feel about Stalin? Mark only one answer.” amongst the population by years, % of respondents

  2012,% 2016, %
With excitement 2 1
With respect 16 13
With sympathy 5 3
Indifferent 27 26
With hostility, irritation 15 13
With fear 8 8
With disgust, hatred 14 17
I DO NOT KNOW WHO STALIN IS 1 1
DIFFICULT TO SAY 11 17
DENIAL FROM ANSWER 1 2
TOTAL 100 100

 

Table 7 Attitude toward Stalin (bigger scale) amongst the population by years, % of respondents

  2012,% 2016, %
Positive 23 17
Indiferent 27 26
Negative 37 38
Difficult to say, denial 13 19
TOTAL 100 100

 

Table 8 Distribution of answers to the question “Would you personally like to live and work with such leader of state as Stalin?” amongst the population, % of respondents

Rather yes 4.6
Probably yes 9
Probably no 20.5
Rather no 53.5
Difficult to say, denial 12.4
TOTAL 100

 

For further comments please contact Liana Novikova: l.novikova@kiis.com.ua , +38(093) 4970764

 


4.3.2016
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