Almost two thirds of Russians (65%) think Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union, played a positive role in the history of their country. Twenty-six percent think he played a negative role, and 9% have no opinion on the matter.
This data was published by ROMIR Monitoring (Russian Public Opinion and Markets Research), an independent sociological service, on Wednesday, January 21. The data was collected through a representative survey of 1,500 adult Russian citizens before the 80th anniversary of Lenin's death, January 21, 1924.
The All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM-A) under direction of Yuri Levada conducted an analogous in depth survey. The respondents to this survey choose from a list of suggested answers and consequently the percentages exceed 100%.
According to VCIOM-A only 9% of Russians believe that Lenin's ideology will "illuminate the path to a better life" in the coming century. Thirty-six percent of those surveyed think that Lenin's memory will survive in history, but that his ideas will no longer have a following, and 26% agree with the opinion that the proletarian leader's teachings were distorted by his successors.
Twenty-four percent of those surveyed believe that Lenin led Russia to the path of progress and justice, however, 21% think that the leader took advantage of people's goodwill and high hopes in order to promote his cause.
Sixteen percent believe that Lenin led the country on the wrong path and that this caused many misfortunes and suffering. Another 14% consider him a cruel man who tried to violently transform the country. Thirteen percent think that Lenin was mistaken in his expectation of building communism.
Sociologists have noted that opinions on Lenin depend largely upon the sociological and demographic backgrounds of those surveyed. People who are over 55 are 2.5 times more likely to have a positive opinion of him than people under 25. Likewise, those who live in small villages, have a low level of education, earn a small income and primarily vote for the KPRF have a positive opinion of Lenin's role.
The General Staff noted that the document appeared at a time when Russia was trying to deter the arms race unleashed by the United States