23 June 2010
'No,' says a (slim) majority of Russian respondents to a poll released yesterday by the Levada Centre. In response to the question 'In your view, should Russian leaders apologise to the Ukrainian people (Ukrainskomu narodu) for the "Holodomor" of the early 1930s, as they did recently to the Polish people for the tragedy of Katyn?', Russians replied:
7% Definitely yes
16% Probably yes
28% Probably no
24% Definitely no
25% Difficult to say
The poll can read another way: 48% of respondents were not opposed to the idea of an official apology to Ukrainians, with 23% either completely or somewhat supportive of one. As for Russian views of the reasons for the 'mass famine in Ukraine' in 1932-33, the responses were also remarkable:
27% hold that it was caused by 'unfavourable weather conditions';
35% hold that it was caused by 'mistakes made during the process of collectivization';
14% hold that it was caused by 'premeditated (prednamerennye) actions by Soviet authorities that sought to break the resistance of Ukrainian peasants who did not want to go to collective farms'; and
25% could not say.
The details of the Levada poll can be read here.