Images of Past and Present in Modern Russian Society

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Andrey ANDREEV, Institute of sociology, Russia
Perception of  history is a very important topic because historical images participate in determination of political orientations and axiological predispositions. Taking that in mind a group of Russian sociologists lately carried out a special empirical investigation aimed to describe and analyze the representations of past and future in Russian mass consciousness.

As the poll showed, nowadays the Russians are not inclined to seek for their social ideal in the past. Even in 2000 not more than 15 % of respondents asserted that “a good life” began with the transition to market economy, but in 2012 about 30 % of them supported the opinion that the time when “the Russian dream” can be realized is the modern period of national history.          

But what can be said about those who associate “the Russian dream” with the unrealized historical alternatives? Such a position is also popular, it is shared by approximately one third of  population. But the social profile of this part seems to be rather vague and indefinite.

  The favorite historical hero of the Russians is Peter the Great. The second in this rating goes Catharine II. All the Soviet leaders from Lenin to Gorbachev  strongly drop behind them. The lowest position occupy Eltsin who is favored by no more than 1.5 % of the sample. Paradoxically, the correlation between political orientations of the Russians and their sympathies to different historical persons is  very weak. The only exclusion is Lenin. The communist voters 2.5 times more frequently than the others see him as an incarnation of national dream. But today even among the left-wing people  Peter the Great is much more popular than the leader of October revolution (36 % of the respondents vs 24 %).