Russian Poll: Brezhnev Best Leader of Last Century, Gorbachev Worst

Saturday, 25 May 2013 03:43 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Leonid Brezhnev was voted the best head of Russia in the 20th century and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev among the worst, according to a survey of Russian citizens.

Fifty-six percent of Russians polled by sociologists at the Levada Center in Moscow rated Brezhnev, who led the USSR from 1964 to 1982, as the best head of state of the past century, the Russian Times reports.

Only 29 percent of those surveyed reported negative feelings toward Brezhnev.

The Levada Center is an independent, nongovernmental polling organization. It is named after its founder, Yuri Levada, the first Russian professor of sociology. He died in 2006. The center was founded in 1987.

Brezhnev was followed in the survey by Vladimir Lenin, who masterminded the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, and dictator Joseph Stalin, the RT reports.

Lenin, the first ruler of the Soviet Union, is viewed positively by 55 percent of the Russians surveyed, while exactly half favored Stalin.

But more than a third of respondents said they did not approve of Stalin, who is often described as “bloody tyrant” despite being associated with victory in World War II, the RT reports.

Levada Center experts link Brezhnev’s popularity to financial well-being during his tenure, which was the “peak of Soviet socialism,” according to the RT.

And Nikita Khruschev, the Soviet premier during the Cuban missile crisis of the 1960s, is liked by 45 percent of Russians.

At the other spectrum, Gorbachev, the first and only Soviet president, received the worst rating in the survey, being disliked by 66 percent of Russians. He was liked by only a fifth of survey participants.

The first Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, was liked by only 22 percent of those surveyed, the RT reports.

“Gorbachev’s rule ended up with the dissolution of the USSR, which is still considered by Russians as the 20th-century catastrophe,” Aleksey Grazhdankin, deputy head of the Levada Center, told the RT.



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