MOSCOW, May 22 (RIA Novosti) – Russians view Leonid Brezhnev as the most positive of all Soviet and Russian leaders in the 20th century, but Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin were close behind in an opinion poll released on Wednesday.
Brezhnev, who ruled the Soviet Union from 1964-1982, was viewed positively by 56 percent of respondents in the survey carried out by Moscow’s Levada Center pollster.
Often mocked in jokes for his increasingly visible senility at the end of his life, Brezhnev is still respected for maintaining stability and increasing living standards among millions of ordinary Soviet citizens during his time in office as general secretary of the Communist Party.
Lenin, who led the Bolsheviks into power in 1917, was seen positively by 55 percent of respondents,
Stalin, the Soviet dictator whose almost three decade rule saw millions of his fellow countrymen perish in gulag labor camps, was judged to have been a positive influence by 50 percent of respondents.
Perestroika-era leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s rule was viewed positively by just 21 percent of respondents, while 22 percent were positive about Boris Yeltsin, independent Russia’s first president.
Tsar Nicholas II, deposed and executed by the Bolsheviks, was seen as a positive influence by 48 percent of respondents.
The poll was carried out April 19-22 across Russia among 1,600 respondents.