Staunton, December 25 – Twenty-six years after the USSR came apart, 58 percent of Russians say they regret that outcome, the highest share since 2009; and 52 percent say that it could have been avoided, views that mirror those of Vladimir Putin who has described the end of the USSR as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century.
The new Levada Center poll found that only a quarter of the sample did not express regret about the events of 1991 and that 29 percent said that the disintegration of the Soviet Union was inevitable. Relatively large shares – 16 percent and 19 percent respectively – either had no opinion or couldn’t express one (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5A409F513A329).
Fifty-four percent expressed regret about the collapse of the USSR because it “destroyed a unified economic system.” Thirty-six percent said that as a result, “people had lost a sense of belonging to a great power.” Thirty-four percent said the country’s collapse had led to growing distrust. And 26 percent mentioned the loss of ties with relatives and friends.
This sense of imperial regret, Russian commentator Igor Yakovenko says, explains why all the candidates running for president support maintaining the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation or even its expansion, although some opposition figures are prepared to consider changing the status of Crimea (afterempire.info/2017/12/25/igla/).