No foreigner cracked Russians’ top ten statesmen of all times and places

A man kisses an icon of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin next to his grave in front of the Kremlin wall in Moscow.

A man kisses an icon of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin next to his grave in front of the Kremlin wall in Moscow. 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia

The Levada Center poll concerning whom Russians see as the most outstanding statesmen of all times and places has attracted most attention because it found that they list Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin as number one with Vladimir Putin and Aleksandr Pushkin tied for second.

But perhaps equally important is that Russians did not list a single non-Russian in the top dozen: the highest ranked of those was Napoleon at 14th place. But as Aleksey Makarkin points out, there is in that too “not a little of Russian patriotism” because of “pride about a victory over such a great military commander.”

For Russians who took part in this poll, “Russia is undoubtedly the center of the world, and foreign history interests them not very much.” Indeed, they are inclined to list as outstanding statesmen Russian poets and novelists before considering any political leader from any other country.

But the most important finding of the poll that must be explained, the Moscow commentator says, is the extremely high support Russians now display for Stalin. “The simplest and completely true explanation of this phenomenon,” Makarkin says, “lies in the authoritarian culture characteristic of Russian society.”

Russian society doesn’t respect institutions very much. Instead, it places its bets “on a strong and just leader capable of imposing order.” And despite what many think, the 1990s were not an exception in this regard. Many saw Boris Yeltsin at least initially as a strong leader who could make changes. Only later did that change, the Moscow commentator continues.

But something far more fundamental is at work, Makarkin says.

Stalin “unites people who on other issues support very different views.” That is possible because there are in effect many Stalins, and different people now can support that Stalin they find most attractive ignoring all the others.

Thus, some Russians may support Stalin because they are loyal to the current regime, but only “if they see in Putin a continuer of the course of the Soviet leader.” But others may support him precisely because they reject Putin, viewing him as insufficiently tough and aggressive and thus comparing him unfavorably with Stalin.

Other present-day Stalinists may be Russians who suffered in the 1990s and remember Stalin as an ascetic leader who cracked down hard and justifiably against the bourgeoisie. And still other “Stalinists” can be found among those who view the Soviet leader as “’an effective manager’” and as the man who won the war.

“In this way,” Makarkin says, “Stalinism penetrates into various social groups. The common cause is a lack of empathy and in the atomization of society which can be united only for a time and only against an enemy which it is shown on the television screen.” The sufferings of others simply aren’t that important to them.

That helps to unite a society which is otherwise not united, but what must be remembered, Makarkin continues, is that not one of these groups “would want to live in Stalin’s times. No one would want to be pulled from his warm bed and carried off by the secret police. No one would want to lose his property, not to speak about his life.”

At the same time, he concludes, one shouldn’t see this lack of interest as a good thing because “the justification of Stalinism by an enormous segment of Russians doesn’t testify to the moral health of society.” Instead, it testified to exactly the reverse, even if those who name him an outstanding leader don’t really want to live under all the various Stalins he represented.

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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Scradje

    It shows only too clearly why a filthy murderer like the little chekist rodent can be so popular.

  • Murf

    This is why I have solitude respect for the Russianpeople. The worse a leader treats them, the more they love him.
    Both Lincoln and Alexander II freed their respective slaves.
    Abe is admired even for it.
    Alex barely gets a foot note.
    Even Putin only had so so polling numbers when he was being more or less nice.
    Russians must be a race of Masochist.

    • Rafael Hernandez

      It’s fine, your dislike for them is fortunately only a tiny minority of the world

      • Scradje

        A scrofulous little communist from some squalid third world sh#thole shows his undying love for fuehrer pootler. Proving yet again that the far left and far right are just two sides of the same stinking, evil fascist coin.

        • Mick Servian

          Hahaha
          How you attack people with different opinions so quick.
          He’s right though. Most of the world doesn’t hate Russians.

          • Scradje

            Slight error there: you mean ‘most of the fascist world doesn’t hate RuSSians’. These would be the key allies of fuehrer pootler, which are coincidentally the filthiest regimes in the most fly-blown sh#tholes in the world: Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, N. Korea, Venezuela. Naцi scum like servian the kremtroll need to live inside that axis of hate. Oh, I forgot, you’re too busy living in a trailer park on welfare, aren’t you skummsukker?

          • Mick Servian

            Yeah man big welfare recipient here. If it makes you feel better then so be it.
            I hope your financial situation improves. Nah not really. I can see from your comment it obviously weighs on you. Lol
            Are you jealous of what your friends have? Lol
            Nah but seriously. Someone’s financial situation is the last thing i would have thought or used as a slur. Never really occurs to me. Lol
            Occupies your mind though doesn’t it?
            I don’t even know if we have that here. Lol
            Yeah im on the dole and on the beach every day. Where i talk to normal people. Which incidentally don’t give a shit about Russia or Ukraine. Most think it’s the same thing.
            The only ones that care are like Georgians or the like, because they have a complex about Russia.
            Normal people in the west don’t give a shit about what’s going on in Ukraine.
            Except to sidestep the banana shole.
            If they ever visited. They probably make jokes about how they had to poo crouching. Lol

          • laker48

            You’re such a pathetically ignorant excuse for a human being as most brainwashed, sovok RuSSians are. :)

          • Scradje

            You don’t talk to anyone except your fellow bottom-feeders and the social services who support you. Unfortunately cretins don’t know they’re cretins. But at least you are honest enough to admit that you are a welfare leech, as are almost all kremtrolls living in developed countries. Bitter, sociopathic losers who are attracted to fascist dictators are the constituency of the Kremlin murder gang.

          • Mick Servian

            Hahahaha
            Mate the only loser here is you.
            You’re just a sad racist bigoted fascist, loser. Nothing more.
            Worry about your own financial status you spastic. I love how you have to imagine things so it ends up right in your backwards head.
            You’ve got the maturity of a five year old.
            Oh is that why you can’t tell your a cretin? Lol
            What a retarded thing to say.
            No wonder Russia is going to take the other regions. No wonder the people didn’t want to stay with you.
            No wonder the Dutch turned you down.
            They don’t want racist bottom feeders like you in their country.
            Welfare is the first place your retarded ass would go. Lol
            That’s why it’s in your head. Lol

  • Микола Данчук

    Can it be that a country built on lies can only respect its self in lies?

    • Mick Servian

      Sure mate…all of Russia is a lie.
      Lol
      What about Ukraine then?

      • Микола Данчук

        Whatsabout all you got!

        • Mick Servian

          Haha “whatsabout”…lol
          Buddy Russia is REAL, it’s history is long.
          Only a ignoramus would say anything about Russia is fake.
          I don’t need whatsaboutism, whatever that is. I’ve got reality.

          • Микола Данчук

            As had Alice!

          • Mick Servian

            Alice? What?
            You’re comparing fiction to reality?
            Really?

          • Микола Данчук

            My fiction = your reality?

          • Mick Servian

            What are u even on about?
            Your fiction=my reality??? What?
            Speak like a real person dude

          • Микола Данчук

            You mean what you think is real?

          • Mick Servian

            No.
            Im asking you what you are talking about. You don’t make sense

          • Микола Данчук

            Neither do you, so what’s your problem?

          • Mick Servian

            What doesn’t make sense to you? That Russia is real and has a real history? Really? That hard to understand?
            Interesting. I push for answers from people on here. But all i get is stupid name calling, questions answering questions and innuendos. Everything except real answers

          • Микола Данчук

            Maybe in your world nothing is as you think it is, is that real enough or is that too hard to understand.

          • Mick Servian

            Dude if that philosophical bs makes it easier on you. Sweet.
            Like i told you Russia is pretty real. Not just to me but to the rest of the world to.
            If it isn’t to you and your alice. Then i feel for you.

          • Микола Данчук

            And the world is flat again, going over

          • Mick Servian

            Yeah….is that what you tell yourself?

          • Микола Данчук

            what I get from you – Dude

          • Mick Servian

            What you got. Did you miss it?
            Dude i don’t care if you think Russia is fake and the world is flat
            More power to you.

          • zorbatheturk

            Bugoff, Baron. Fly your Fokker over Syria and stop a missile.

          • Mick Servian

            Hahaha more name calling.
            Genius dude.

          • Микола Данчук

            How can one miss what one get?
            Power is a fallacy, a myth – a delusion, mate!

          • laker48

            You’re peddling lies and Soviet mythology still taught in schools throughout the fascist RuSSian Federation.

          • Mick Servian

            If you say so.
            I putting my view forward. Nothing more.
            If you disagree that’s ok

          • laker48

            Muscovite RuSSians don’t have their own cultural heritage. They absorbed the languages and culture od the peoples Genghis Khan’s hordes had conquered and enslaved, but their Asian nature has not changed since the Golden Horde’s era. General George Patron did notice that and brilliantly described it. “The difficulty in understanding the Russians we do not take cognizance of the fact he is not a European, but an asiatic therefore thinks deviously.
            We can no more understand a Russian than a Chinese or a Japanese. From what I have seen of them I have no particular desire to understand them except to ascertain how much lead or iron it takes to kill them. In addition to his other amiable characteristics, the Russians have no regard for human life and they are all out son of bitches, barbarians
            and chronic drunks.”

          • Mick Servian

            Who cares what a racist has been underachiever thinks.

          • Mick Servian

            Oh my god.
            Mate. You have to re read your shit.
            Apart from being racist its ludicrous nonsense.

      • Brent

        Why don’t you go kiss your Putin painting “Dick Servant”?

        You’re no one’s “mate” here either. That’s a term used for friendly respect among peers. You’re nothing but a lying Russian troll pretending to live elsewhere and call people “mate”….

        • Mick Servian

          Lol.
          How do you know im no one’s mate here?
          Is it because this site is a treasure trove of confirmation bias and yaysayers?
          Im not Russian. Lol
          Sorry mate. But mate is a figure of expression here at home. It doesn’t literally mean friend. But there u go you’ve learned something.

  • Eolone

    Not far from Holy Saint Stalin’s kissy kissy icon above, a multitude of people is passing by, yes, and kissing, a relic of St. Nick at a cathedral in Moscow.

  • Dirk Smith

    So a Georgian is #1 in fascist ruSSia. Got it. LOL. What a truly dysfunctional mafia state. Once it collapses again this year, it needs to be chopped up like Yugoslavia. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/900069c1ecff794a57c354c85f33ea313e822fbea2f6429a04094d7a21bb38c1.jpg

    • zorbatheturk

      Yes a breakup is the only answer.

    • Rafael Hernandez

      I highly highly doubt that

    • Mick Servian

      I think it’s happening to Ukraine right now.
      Always the Catholic quislings think they’re better than everyone else.

    • Mick Servian

      Besides i wonder why you and this sites authors worry about another nation. Not yours?
      Really. Why?
      Yeah like your crocodile tears about the Tatars.

  • bob

    how
    I wish that the roos-ski’s would get their beloved stalin back-they deserve
    every inch of him-Pooh-tin is a failure & does not match generalissimo
    stalin so the bidding needs to broaden.Can anyone on this planet put their hand
    up & volunteer to be roos-ski’s next stalin-perhaps kim jong or Assad or
    ??? maybe Charles manson?It’s sickening to see how a nation can have been
    brainwashed so much that they have lost their souls & brains admiring
    butchers like stalin & putin!

  • zorbatheturk

    RuSSia is the archetype of a sick society. Sick, misinformed, parochial, and xenophobic. They see Stalin as some kind of saint. The RuSSian menace will only disappear once the Russian empire disintegrates completely.