Yaroslava Kellermann

When I created this piece in 2017, a survey in Russia has shown that Joseph Stalin remains the most popular personality (46 % in 2017, 42 % in 2012) followed by Vladimir Putin (34 % in 2017, 22 % in 2012) and Vladimir Lenin (32 % in 2017, 37 % in 2012)*.

The situation in Ukraine looked slightly better, but still Stalin got 31% of sympathy, Lenin 25 % **. A recent research conducted on March (Russia) and April 2018 (Ukraine) showed decline of numbers: 40 % of Russians see Stalin as a wise and respectful personality, 14 % in Ukraine. At the same time 57 % of the Russian people think that Stalin is a great leader as compared with 28 % in Ukraine (in April 2019 the number of Russians approving Stalin's actions reached 70 %). Such substantial numbers of respondents sympathizing with these gentlemen are alarming - regardless of whether they result from Stockholm syndrome, the longing for a strong leader or imperialistic aspirations.

My project addresses the outcome of these surveys and poses the question if a personality cult could be established nowadays and to what consequences it could lead. As we have witnessed, these numbers are not only a local matter, it is something that goes far beyond the borders. Just think of Syria, annexation of Crimea, war in Ukraine and the last, but unfortunately not the least the Salisbury incident.

* data of the Analytical Center of Yuriy Levada (February and June 2017; March 2018; April 2019)** data of the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; Sociological Group Rating (2016), Kyiv International Sociology Institute (April 2018).   |   Hadikgasse 90, 1140 Vienna