THE LATEST poll of Russian people has revealed that the number who want a return of the USSR has set a new record.
The Levada-Centre has conducted a survey of 1,600 people from 136 towns and villages across Russia and their latest poll revealed that a massive 66% answered ‘yes’ when asked if they regretted the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.
The majority of those in favour of the restoration of the USSR were aged over 55; however, they also found that in recent years there has been a significant increase in support amongst much younger people aged between 18 and 24.
60% of those polled also expressed the belief that the dissolution of the USSR was not inevitable but could have been prevented. 52% gave the reason for wanting a return to Soviet rule as their hatred of the attacks on the ‘single economic system’ of the USSR in an attempt to break up the planned economy established by the Russian Revolution of 1917.
36% bemoaned the sense of loss at belonging to a great power – a feeling engendered by the constant ever- increasing attacks on Russia from world
A further 31% cited the growth of mutual distrust and enmity amongst former fellow countrymen following the break-up of the USSR. In 2006, the Levada-Centre started to include in the poll the popularity of the great leader of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, Vladimir Lenin, and last year their poll showed that the majority of Russians (56%) believe that Lenin had played a positive role in the history of Russia, an increase from the 40% recorded in 2006.
Lenin ranked much higher in popularity than the government of Vladimir Putin whose personal approval rating fell dramatically from 75% last year to 58%, the lowest since 2013, after he announced increases in pensionable age for both men and women to one year above the average life expectancy in Russia. Putin was forced to retreat from this move such was the hostility of workers which threatened to bring him down.
This dramatic increase in popularity for Lenin and a return to the Soviet Union has been dismissed as simply a nostalgic hankering by older Russians for the ‘good old days’. However, the increase in support amongst Russian youth is clearly worrying the Stalinist bureaucracy.
This was expressed by one of the Levada-Centre researchers who said: ‘Romantic attitudes towards everything Soviet and lack of historic knowledge’ among the younger generations may lead to dangerous consequences.
The dangerous consequences the Stalinist leadership of Russia fear are of the powerful Russian working class that is rising up against Putin and the oligarchs who plundered the Soviet economy after former president Gorbachev weakened the USSR with his policy of abolishing the state monopoly on foreign trade in the late 1980s.
Gorbachev was followed by Boris Yeltsin who handed over great chunks of Russian industry to Stalinist apparatchiks who became billionaire bourgeois oligarchs overnight.
Yeltsin decreed the dissolution of the USSR on December 8 1991, a move greeted by the imperialists as the final triumph of capitalism over the gains of the October revolution. Their triumph was short-lived; despite all their boasts, they were never able to completely overturn the social relationships established by Lenin and the Bolsheviks.
The Russian working class brought down Boris Yeltsin in 1993 and forced the renationalisation of gas and oil industries that he had privatised in the drive to restore capitalism to Russia.
Today, Yeltsin’s heir Putin balances precariously between those remaining bourgeoisie in Russia (the rest of the oligarchs having fled to London) and a working class which, as the latest poll demonstrates, is determined to defend the gains of the revolution and return to the rule of workers’ soviets.
Leon Trotsky, co-leader with Lenin in 1917 and founder of the Fourth International, called for a political revolution in the USSR to overthrow the Stalinist bureaucracy as part of the development of the world socialist revolution.
Today, it is clear the Russian working class stands on the brink of this political revolution and this return to the USSR will complete the victory of the world socialist revolution.