Nostalgia for the Soviet Union
Nostalgia for the Soviet Union (Russian: ностальгия по СССР) or Soviet nostalgia is a social phenomenon of nostalgia for the Soviet era, whether its politics, its society, its culture, or simply its aesthetics. Such nostalgia is observed among people in Russia and the other post-Soviet states, as well as persons born in the Soviet Union but long since living abroad.
Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union and the Socialist Bloc, annual polling by the Levada Center has shown that over 50 percent of Russia's population lamented its collapse, with the only exception to this being in the year 2012 when support for the Soviet Union dipped below 50 percent. A 2018 poll showed that 66% of Russians regretted the fall of the Soviet Union, setting a 15-year record. The majority were people older than 55.
In Armenia, 12% of respondents said the USSR collapse did good, while 66% said it did harm. In Kyrgyzstan, 16% of respondents said the collapse of the USSR did good, while 61% said it did harm. A 2012 survey commissioned by the Carnegie Endowment found 38% of Armenians concurring that their county "will always have need of a leader like Stalin". According to July 2012 polling in Ukraine by RATING, 42% of respondents supported the formation of a unified state of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus; earlier in 2012 this support had been 48%.
According to polls, what is missed most about the former Soviet Union was its shared economic system, which provided a modicum of financial stability. Neoliberal economic reforms after the fall of the USSR and the Eastern Bloc resulted in harsh living standards for the general population. Policies associated with privatization allowed of the country's economy to fall in the hands of a newly established business oligarchy. The sense of belonging to a great superpower was a secondary reason for the nostalgia; many felt humiliated and betrayed by their experiences throughout the 1990s and blamed the upheaval on advisors from Western powers, especially as NATO moved closer into Russia's sphere of influence.
According to Dr. Kristen R. Ghodsee, a researcher on post-communist nostalgia in Eastern Europe:
"Only by examining how the quotidian aspects of daily life were affected by great social, political and economic changes can we make sense of the desire for this collectively imagined, more egalitarian past. Nobody wants to revive 20th century totalitarianism. But nostalgia for communism has become a common language through which ordinary men and women express disappointment with the shortcomings of parliamentary democracy and neoliberal capitalism today."
According to the Levada Center poll (November 2016), the people mainly miss the Soviet Union because of the destruction of the joint economic system of its 15 republics (53%); people lost the feeling of belonging to a great power (43%); mutual distrust and cruelty have increased (31%); the feeling that you are at home in any part of the USSR was lost (30%); and connection with friends, relatives lost (28%). Levada Center sociologist Karina Pipiya says that economic factors played the most significant part in rising nostalgia for the USSR in the 2018 poll, as opposed to loss of prestige or national identity, noting that a strong majority of Russians "regret that there used to be more social justice and that the government worked for the people and that it was better in terms of care for citizens and paternalistic expectations."
- Communism in Russia
- National Bolshevism
- Sovietwave, a Russian musical subgenre of synthwave
- Everlasting Summer
Communist nostalgia in Europe
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- Soviet cards and posters
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