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More than half of Russians would vote for preserving Soviet Union — poll

Many respondents (40%) were hesitant to answer the question of who was to blame for the demise of the USSR

MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. More than half of Russians (64%) would vote for keeping the Soviet Union if a referendum were held on this issue, according to the poll results posted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Center (VTsIOM) on its website on Wednesday.

"Twenty-five years after the referendum on preserving the USSR was held [March 17, 1991], most citizens have again expressed their readiness to give a positive answer," the pollster said.

"Thus, according to the data of the USSR referendum central commission, 76% of voters [71% in the Russian Federation] who came to the polls ticked off the box ‘yes’ on the ballot papers. Today as many as 64% of Russians say they would vote for preserving the Soviet Union," the pollster said.

The maximum share of positive answers (81%) was registered among the supporters of Russia’s Communist Party (KPRF). This figure rises from 47% among people aged 18-24 to 76% among respondents aged 60 and more, VTsIOM said.

Only 20% of Russian citizens would vote negatively for preserving the Soviet Union in its renewed format, according to the poll results.

Citizens of contemporary Russia blame last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (27%) and his team for failure to carry through the people’s free will expressed at the referendum for preserving the Soviet Union, as well as the supreme authorities in general (17%), first Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his close associates (13%), the poll results show.

Only 2% of the respondents pointed to the influence of the United States and other Western countries and only 1% of those polled said there was no one to blame for the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

However, many respondents (40%) were hesitant to answer the question of who was to blame for the demise of the USSR, the pollster said.

"The poll held a quarter of a century after the referendum shows that the wide-spread conception about the general nostalgia for the USSR is an exaggeration. The persons who have these nostalgic feelings are the people who voted for the preservation of the Soviet Union a quarter of a century ago and still blame Gorbachev for its disintegration," Research Head of the VTsIOM Department for Social and Political Studies Yulia Baskakova said, commenting on the poll results.

"These are the people of the older generations who strongly associate the word Soviet with law and order, a confident look into the future and stability," she added.

"Today, these people are giving way to representatives of new generations for whom the USSR has become a mental image basically known from the stories of their parents. They view the USSR as a past page in history," she added.

VTsIOM held its poll on March 5-6, 2016, polling 1,600 people in 130 populated areas in 46 Russian regions, territories and republics, with a statistical margin of error of no more than 3.5%.