When the Soviet republics of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus signed the Belavezha Accords on December 8, 1991, dissolving the Soviet Union, Marat was just a few months old. He did not know life in the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, he says he misses that country.
Marat, whose real name is being withheld at his request, is now 25 years old. He works in one of the Russian ministries, is satisfied with his salary and life, but still believes that things must have been better in the USSR.
"Free education, free medicine," Marat said, listing the advantages of the Soviet state. “People lived modestly but the state took care of them. Now money controls everything. The inequality is immense. Whoever is stronger is right. It wasn't like this in the USSR."
Marat is not alone in his nostalgia. Sociological surveys indicate that more than 50 percent of Russians today regret the collapse of the Soviet Union. In an April 2016 poll by the Levada Centre, 56 percent of the respondents said they wished the Soviet Union still existed. A recent survey by the All-Russian Centre for Public Opinion (VTsIOM) showed that 64 percent of Russians would vote for the preservation of the USSR if a referendum was held today, similar to the one held on March 17, 1991, which asked Soviet citizens if it was necessary to preserve the country in that form.
Nostalgia for the Soviet Union is highest among Russians over the age of 55, and those who live in rural areas, according to Karina Pipiya, a Levada Centre sociologist. But there are a number of those like Marat — young people who are successful, integrated in modern society and who do not remember the Soviet Union — who long for it. A huge 50 percent of young people surveyed on the topic by VTsIOM share Marat's opinion, said Mikhail Mamonov, director of the VTsIOM research projects.….
Mamonov said those who are positive about the Soviet Union always point out the same three things: "A small but guaranteed salary, employment, things that are guaranteed for you." In an era of harsh market competition, people want to retreat to a time when they think all these things existed, Mamonov explained.People don't miss the USSR as much as the socialistic welfare state. Polling shows that there is little support for recreating the Soviet Union and the Communist Party is stuck at least that 15% of the vote. Neoliberals advocating close ties with the West, Western liberalism, and a market sate are under 5%. It appears that Russians prefer something along the lines of the Scandinavian social democratic model or democratic socialism.
Russia & India Report
Over 50 percent of Russians miss the Soviet Union
Oleg Egorov, RIR