Nostalgia for the Soviet Union (Russian: Ностальгия по СССР, romanized: Nostal'giya po SSSR) or Soviet nostalgia is a social phenomenon of nostalgia for the Soviet era (1922–1991), whether for its politics, its society, its culture, its superpower status, or simply its aesthetics. Such nostalgia occurs among people in Russia and other post-Soviet states, as well as among people born in the Soviet Union but long since living abroad, and even among Communists and Soviet sympathizers from elsewhere in the world. It is associated with Soviet nationalism.
Ever since the fall of the USSR and the Eastern 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, and the majority of these regretting opinions came from 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 country "will always have need of a leader like Stalin".
A poll conducted in 2019 found that 59% of Russians believe the Soviet government "took care of ordinary people". A poll conducted in 2020 found that 75% of Russians believe the Soviet era was "the greatest time" in the country's history.
According to polls, what is missed most about the former Soviet Union was its shared economic system, which provided 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 much 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 Kristen Ghodsee, a researcher on post-communist 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." A June 2019 Levada Center poll found that 59% of Russians felt that the Soviet government "took care of ordinary people". Joseph Stalin's favorability also hit record highs the spring of that year.
- Communism in Russia
- Communist chic
- National Bolshevism
- Sovietwave, a Russian musical subgenre of synthwave
- Soviet patriotism
Communist nostalgia in EuropeEdit
- "Why Russia Backs The Eurasian Union". Business Insider. The Economist. 22 August 2014.
Often seen as an artefact of Vladimir Putin's nostalgia for the Soviet Union, the Eurasian Union has been largely ignored in the West.
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- "Dr. Kristen Ghodsee, Bowdoin College – Nostalgia for Communism". WAMC Northeast Public Radio. 1 November 2011.
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- In Russia, nostalgia for Soviet Union and positive feelings about Stalin. Pew Research Center. June 29, 2017.
- Russian Support for Stalin Surges to Record High, Poll Says. Bloomberg. April 16, 2019.
- Project "Encyclopedia of our childhood", Soviet Union through the eyes of contemporaries
- Museum "20th century". Recollections about the Soviet epoch
- Soviet cards and posters
- USSR in scale, a website commemorated to a private collection of Soviet technology and vehicles in the scale 1:43
- In Barnaul, a store called "Sovietsky" was opened (photo)
- Soviet heritage: between zoo, reservation and sanctuary (about "Soviet epoch parks") // Новая Эўропа – DELFI, 11 сентября 2013