Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 77

” Lenin was born 128 years ago today. To mark the anniversary, an opinion poll was conducted by the Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM). It found that many Russians still feel quite warmly about the Bolshevik leader. The older the respondent, the more favorable the response is likely to be. A quarter (25 percent) of respondents say Lenin set Russia on the path of progress and justice; 28 percent think he was wrong but well-meaning; 21 percent thing he was simply wrong; while 14 percent describe Lenin as a cruel man who tried to transform Russia by force. Only 10 percent feel his ideas will still be relevant in the next century, while 44 percent say his ideas have already lost all relevance. (Russian agencies, April 21)

As for the youngest members of society, they seem very confused. The Monitor’s correspondent in the Volga region reports on a poll of seven-year-olds in Kazan, capital of Tatarstan. It turned out that all the children recognized Lenin’s portrait, but very few had much idea who he was. Their answers ranged from, “Lenin commanded the Red Army,” to “He was good when he was alive but became bad when he died.” “He was the first president of Russia after the Tsar.” “He didn’t believe in God and banned the painting of icons.” “He was cruel and wanted to kill everyone.” “He was a president, but I don’t know of which country.” “He made the rich people poor.” One little girl typified the general confusion: “Lenin was a German fascist,” she declared. “He killed everyone. He didn’t believe in Santa Claus.”