When the Soviet Union collapsed 25 years ago, almost 300 million of our “ex-Soviet” compatriots were faced with making a choice for their own country’s future. Some got lucky and ended up in the EU and NATO. Others are still striving to become club members; a few have almost no chance, especially with one former Soviet state playing the harmful role of big brother.
How do Russians and Georgians feel, after a quarter century, about the disintegration of the Union of Soviet Republics? To gauge this and several other interesting issues, the Levada Center of Russia and GORBI have designed survey questions and asked a representative sample of 1600 and 800 Russians and Georgians, respectively.
While the restoration of some elements of the Soviet system is a considerable issue in Russian society and their propaganda machine works without failure almost like a Kalashnikov gun, in Georgia this is not a high level issue. However, truth to be told there seems to be a considerable increase of anti-Western propaganda from some political players. Still, going back to the USSR seems not very attractive for even the poorer segments of society.
While we can’t even dream about restoration of the Great Georgian Nation or expanding our political and national interests to neighboring countries, it still seems counterintuitive for us to support turning Russia into a super power once more.
Based on the survey results, both nations view the demolition of USSR in different ways.
While the majority (53%) of Russian respondents regret the destruction of the Soviet Union, 12% less Georgians share the same feelings. Almost a third of surveyed Russians have no regrets, and 46% of Georgians also don’t care much about the collapse of the USSR.
This column is not meant to present a detailed analysis, however respondents' profiles play a key role and there are clear positive ties between the volume of consumption of media, generation of respondents, and income vs how they perceive the disintegration of the USSR.
One interesting moment is also found thanks to this research: if we judge by net rating (not regretting collapse – regretting) Russians are significantly more concerned than Georgians about the “failure” of the Soviet Union, -22% vs +5% respectively.
The bottom line is that the USSR will never be back - not only in the form that it used to be but even in any approximation to that - regardless of how many of us still want one man to lead us to a Soviet paradise. Some Americans also, I believe, are talking about better times when hamburgers were tastier and cheaper…. And, I am also missing the USSR and would be thrilled to go back to the late 70...s for a week as long as I had a guarantee of returning back.
GORBI is a regional hub for partner organizations and international clients. Since 2003, GORBI remains an exclusive member of Gallup International research network for its two decades of experience in survey research in post-Soviet Union countries, as well as Mongolia and Iraq. This data was provided exclusively to the Financial.