Nostalgia for the Soviet Union is still burning brightly across Eastern Europe, according to a Pew Research survey. It found that the USSR’s demise is viewed positively by most people in the Baltic states but quite negatively elsewhere in the region. For example, 69 percent of Russians believe the breakup of the Soviet Union was a bad thing compared to only 17 percent who find it favorable. The most interesting aspect of the research is how Mikhail Gorbachev and Josef Stalin compare in popularity.
Considering the high level of Russian regret at the USSR’s collapse, it comes as little surprise that Gorbachev hasn’t left the best impression with only 22 percent of Russians viewing his role in history as favorable. Thanks to growing Russian nationalism and soviet-era nostalgia on the other hand, Stalin is reaching new heights in the popularity stakes. 58 percent of Russians say he had a favorable role in history, along with 57 percent of respondents in his native Georgia.
Gorbachev starts to increase in popularity further west. Stalin still just about beats him in Bulgaria by a single percentage point but he is far more popular in Hungary, the Baltic states and Poland. 51 percent of Poles have say Gorbachev played a positive role in history compared to 6 percent for Stalin.