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Russians, Ukrainians Split on Views of Stalin – Poll

The share of Russians who view Stalin as a great leader has grown twofold since 2016. Andrei Nikerichev / Moskva News Agency

Russians and Ukrainians hold starkly different opinions of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as a leader, according to surveys conducted in the two ex-Soviet countries that were published Wednesday.

Russia’s independent polling agency Levada Center said 56% of Russian respondents agreed with the statement that “Stalin was a great leader.” The share of Russians who view Stalin as a great leader has grown twofold in the five years since this question was last asked in 2016.

But only 16% of Ukrainians polled by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) shared the same view when asked whether Stalin was a great leader.

The share of those who disagree that Stalin was a great leader was inversely proportional at 14% of Russians and 40% of Ukrainians.

“Respect, indifference and sympathy toward Stalin prevail in Russia, while among Ukrainians it’s indifference and negative feelings,” Levada said.

When asked to share their feelings, 45% of Russian respondents said they respect Stalin (up from 29% in 2018), followed by 28% who said they felt indifferent and 10% sympathetic (up from 6% in 2019).

The most popular answers among Ukrainian respondents were indifference (34%) and disgust and hatred (17%), as well as dislike and irritation.

Levada conducted the survey among 1,620 Russians between May 20-26 and KIIS among 2,007 Ukrainians between June 8-9.

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