Joseph Stalin as he is seen by people of Kazakhstan: from admiration to hatred

DEMOSCOPE Bureau for Express Monitoring of Public Opinion conducted a public opinion poll to find out what people of Kazakhstan think about Joseph Stalin’s personality.

1 862 respondents from Astana, Almaty and 14 regional centers of Kazakhstan took part in the poll, with 68% women and 32% men aged over 16 years old being interviewed. The maximum statistical error with 90% possibility did not exceed 0.6%. The respondents were interviewed by phone between 08 and 11 March 2018.

The poll was dedicated to the 65th Anniversary of Joseph Stalin’s death.

The results of the poll aimed to find out what Kazakhstan’s people think about Joseph Stalin’s personality showed that a significant part of the respondents feel neutral about the leader. “Everything that happened is already in the past. This is historical past that does not affect our lives,”- answered 39% of the respondents.

37% believe that owing to Josef Stalin’s rule the USSR became a superpower.

Another 17% of Kazakhstan’s people expressed extremely negative attitude to the personality of the Soviet dictator. 10% are sure that Stalin is the only one to blame for mass repressions, deportation of nations and death of millions of innocent people. And another 7% of respondents believe that it was Stalin who repressed the Kazakh intelligentsia and destroyed the Alash party.
At the same time, 7% treat Stalin with admiration, recognizing him as a great politician of the 20th century.
It is interesting to mention that the majority of young people (16-29 years old) have a neutral position, and 51% of the respondents of the older generation (60-69 years) feel positive about Stalin.
52% of respondents acknowledged victory in the Great Patriotic War as Stalin’s major achievement.
34% of citizens consider the system of free social institutions introduced during Stalin’s rule (primary education, health care and pension system) as a true legacy of that time.
Another 14% noted that Stalin made the USSR a military-industrial power on a world scale.
If taking evaluation of the most tragic results of Joseph Stalin’s reign, opinions of the respondents were divided almost equally.
34% consider mass deportations of nations living in the USSR as the most tragic event. The interesting thing is that such opinion was supported mainly by the respondents aged between 30 and 39 years old.
33% of the respondents emphasized forced collectivization that led to mass starvation in Kazakhstan in 1932-33. This opinion is supported by the majority (41%) of the older generation that are 60-69 years old.
33% of the poll participants considered the time of Stalin’s mass repressions as the most tragic time.
When evaluating the main lessons of Stalinism that should be taken by descendants into account, the overwhelming majority of respondents (78%) noted that it is important to remember the lessons of the past in order to prevent their recurrence.
14% of the poll participants believe that only a strong centralized government is able to rule the country effectively, as well as promote large-scale reforms.

And only 8% of Kazakhstan’s respondents believe that the key lesson of the Stalin’s era is the fact that unlimited power of one person leads to the destruction of personal freedom.

23% of the interviewed people watched The Death of Stalin movie, banned in Russia. 13% of them did not understand the French-British humor, while 10% were satisfied with this political satire. However, the majority of the respondents (76%) did not watch this movie.

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