Nostalgia for the Soviet Union

Armenians celebrate the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, 9 May 2018
People in Saint Petersburg at the Immortal Regiment, carrying portraits of their ancestors who fought in the Great Patriotic War.
Stamp of Azerbaijan, dated 2010 and marking the 65th anniversary of Soviet victory in Europe

Nostalgia for the Soviet Union[1] (Russian: ностальгия по СССР) or Soviet nostalgia[2][3] is a social phenomenon of nostalgia for the Soviet era (1922–1991), whether for its politics, its society, its culture, or simply its aesthetics. Such nostalgia occurs among people in Russia and other post-Soviet states, as well as among persons born in the Soviet Union but long since living abroad.

In 2004, the television channel Nostalgiya, its logo featuring stylized hammer-and-sickle imagery, was launched in Russia.


Wall ad of the "Soviet Times" pub in Moscow

Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union and the Socialist Bloc, annual polling by the Levada Center has shown that over 50 percent of Russia's population lamented its collapse, with the only exception to this being in the year 2012 when support for the Soviet Union dipped below 50 percent. A 2018 poll showed that 66% of Russians regretted the fall of the Soviet Union, setting a 15-year record, and the majority of these regretting opinions came from people older than 55.[4][5]

In Armenia, 12% of respondents said the USSR collapse did good, while 66% said it did harm. In Kyrgyzstan, 16% of respondents said the collapse of the USSR did good, while 61% said it did harm.[6] A 2012 survey commissioned by the Carnegie Endowment found 38% of Armenians concurring that their country "will always have need of a leader like Stalin".[7]

A poll conducted in 2019 found that 59% of Russians believe the Soviet government "took care of ordinary people".[8] A poll conducted in 2020 found that 75% of Russians believe the Soviet era was "the greatest time" in the country's history.[9]


According to polls, what is missed most about the former Soviet Union was its shared economic system, which provided a modicum of financial stability. Neoliberal economic reforms after the fall of the USSR and the Eastern Bloc resulted in harsh living standards for the general population.[10][11][12][13] Policies associated with privatization allowed of the country's economy to fall in the hands of a newly established business oligarchy. The sense of belonging to a great superpower was a secondary reason for the nostalgia; many felt humiliated and betrayed by their experiences throughout the 1990s and blamed the upheaval on advisors from Western powers, especially as NATO moved closer into Russia's sphere of influence.[14]

According to Kristen Ghodsee, a researcher on post-communist Eastern Europe:

Only by examining how the quotidian aspects of daily life were affected by great social, political and economic changes can we make sense of the desire for this collectively imagined, more egalitarian past. Nobody wants to revive 20th century totalitarianism. But nostalgia for communism has become a common language through which ordinary men and women express disappointment with the shortcomings of parliamentary democracy and neoliberal capitalism today.[15]

According to the Levada Center poll (November 2016), the people mainly miss the Soviet Union because of the destruction of the joint economic system of its 15 republics (53%); people lost the feeling of belonging to a great power (43%); mutual distrust and cruelty have increased (31%); the feeling that you are at home in any part of the USSR was lost (30%); and connection with friends, relatives lost (28%).[16] Levada Center sociologist Karina Pipiya says that economic factors played the most significant part in rising nostalgia for the USSR in the 2018 poll, as opposed to loss of prestige or national identity, noting that a strong majority of Russians "regret that there used to be more social justice and that the government worked for the people and that it was better in terms of care for citizens and paternalistic expectations."[17] A June 2019 Levada Center poll found that 59% of Russians felt that the Soviet government "took care of ordinary people". Joseph Stalin's favorability also hit record highs the spring of that year.[8]

See also

Communist nostalgia in Europe


  1. ^ "Why Russia Backs The Eurasian Union". Business Insider (from The Economist). August 22, 2014. "Often seen as an artefact of Vladimir Putin's nostalgia for the Soviet Union, the Eurasian Union has been largely ignored in the West."
  2. ^ Nikitin, V. "Putin is exploiting the legacy of the Soviet Union to further Russia's ends in Ukraine". The Independent. March 5, 2014.
  3. ^ Taylor, A. "Calls for a return to 'Stalingrad' name test the limits of Putin's Soviet nostalgia". Washington Post. June 9, 2014
  4. ^ "Ностальгия по СССР". levada.ru. 2018-12-19.
  5. ^ Maza, Christina (December 19, 2018). "Russia vs. Ukraine: More Russians Want the Soviet Union and Communism Back Amid Continued Tensions". Newsweek. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  6. ^ "Former Soviet Countries See More Harm From Breakup". Gallup. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  7. ^ "Poll Finds Stalin's Popularity High Archived 20 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine". The Moscow Times. 2 March 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Most Russians Say Soviet Union 'Took Care of Ordinary People' – Poll". The Moscow Times. June 24, 2019. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  9. ^ Times, The Moscow (2020-03-24). "75% of Russians Say Soviet Union Was Greatest Time in Country's History – Poll". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 2021-01-22.
  10. ^ Ciment, James (1999-08-21). "Life expectancy of Russian men falls to 58". BMJ : British Medical Journal. 319 (7208): 468. ISSN 0959-8138. PMC 1116380. PMID 10454391.
  11. ^ Men, Tamara; Brennan, Paul; Boffetta, Paolo; Zaridze, David (2003-10-25). "Russian mortality trends for 1991-2001: analysis by cause and region". BMJ : British Medical Journal. 327 (7421): 964. ISSN 0959-8138. PMID 14576248.
  12. ^ Izyumov, Alexei (2010). "Human Costs of Post-communist Transition: Public Policies and Private Response". Review of Social Economy. 68 (1): 93–125. ISSN 0034-6764.
  13. ^ "The effect of rapid privatisation on mortality in mono-industrial towns in post-Soviet Russia: a retrospective cohort study". The Lancet Public Health. 2 (5): e231–e238. 2017-05-01. doi:10.1016/S2468-2667(17)30072-5. ISSN 2468-2667.
  14. ^ Why do so many people miss the Soviet Union? The Washington Post. December 21, 2016.
  15. ^ "Dr. Kristen Ghodsee, Bowdoin College - Nostalgia for Communism".
  16. ^ "THE FALL OF THE SOVIET UNION". Levada.ru. January 9, 2017.
  17. ^ Balmforth, Tom (December 19, 2018). "Russian nostalgia for Soviet Union reaches 13-year high". Reuters. Retrieved December 23, 2018.

Further reading

External links


Internet societies

This page was last updated at 2021-02-03 19:13, update this pageView original page

All information on this site, including but not limited to text, pictures, etc., are reproduced on Wikipedia (wikipedia.org), following the . Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License


If the math, chemistry, physics and other formulas on this page are not displayed correctly, please useFirefox or Safari