Lately, there have been multiple articles published which note a rise of Soviet nostalgia in Russia. Citing an article released by the Christian Science Monitor, it appears economic tensions at home and hostilities with the West have Russians longing for communist years. Even former leaders are longing for the Soviet years.
I hope I do not need to point out that the Soviet Union was not exactly a utopia. Hunger, poverty and Joseph Stalin’s mass murders of Ukrainians between 1939 and 1953—which killed over 20 million—are just a few reasons not to look back at the Soviet years fondly. Pavel Suzik, the Director of Patriotic Education at the Hall of the Soviet Epoch based in Kaluga, Russia, states “The Soviet era was a time of greatness at home and abroad. We had real heroes. We had world-class science. And the people had a worthy goal: to build a just and fair society.” Let’s delve into this a bit deeper and see exactly why Russians are looking back at the Soviet past fondly.
Recently, I watched a documentary which examined Russian citizens who were born in the Soviet Union’s last years and now live in a very different Russia. The overwhelming consensus is that many of those who are 28 and up feel that the new Russian Federation is weak and laughable on the global stage. As Suzik stated, many feel that the Soviet Union was respected on the global stage during a time of great innovation in multiple fields, nationally.
I think what these people are trying to say is that during the time of the Soviet Union, they felt their homeland was more respected and taken more seriously. Today, Russia faces an economic crisis, which can also account for the rise of Soviet nostalgia, as people feel that the economy was more stable during the Soviet days. Yes, the economy was more stable—it was always poor and never really fluctuated from that.
People dislike change, especially when it means that the country they grew up in is no more. People who grew up in the Soviet Union no longer have their country, and they still have trouble dealing with it. These people do not necessarily want to go back to the Soviet style of government, but they can only look back on their past and remember.
Will there be a new Soviet era? Maybe, especially because the current Communist Party of the Russian Federation—the successor of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union—has over 500,000 members and 450 seats in the Russian Parliaments.
Communism was and is a different philosophy of trying to fix problems such as inequality and unemployment. The USSR was unlucky, as the leaders they had were corrupt and some were madmen. Socialism and Communism are not forms of government, but styles of answers some propose to problems that exist in every country of the world. Even in America, millions face extreme hunger, poverty and unemployment. Those who do not face those issues may still deal with injustices and inequality. Either way, we can still say, “Workers of the world, unite!”