Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 03/2013

The Stalin Puzzle: Deciphering Post-Soviet Public Opinion

Thomas de Waal, Maria Lipman, Lev Gudkov, Lasha Bakradze

January 2013

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Joseph Stalin is not yet dead, it would seem. The Soviet leader who was responsible for the deaths of millions over his thirty-year rule still commands worryingly high levels of admiration for a host of reasons. These findings are clear in the first-ever comparative opinion polls on the dictator in the post-Soviet countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia. The surveys, commissioned by the Carnegie Endowment in 2012, suggest de-Stalinization has not succeeded in the former Soviet Union and most post-Soviet citizens have not come to grips with their history.