Quarter of Russian youth never heard of Berlin Wall...

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
More than a quarter of young Russians have never heard of the fall of the Berlin Wall three decades ago, the independent Levada Center pollster said ahead of its 30th anniversary.

The Berlin Wall divided the German city’s Soviet-occupied eastern sector from American, British and French-occupied West Berlin when it was built in 1961. Communist East Germany tore the wall down 28 years later on Nov. 9, 1989, amid pressure from mass demonstrations in East Berlin and reforms in the Soviet Union.

Twenty-eight percent of Russian respondents aged 18-24 said they’re hearing about the fall of the Berlin Wall for the first time, according to Levada’s results published Friday. Nineteen percent of respondents aged 25-39 had the same answer.

Across all age groups, the share of Russians who had never heard of the fall of the Berlin Wall totaled 12%. The remaining 88% said they had detailed or general knowledge of the event.

“Historical knowledge is dwindling and is being replaced with mythology,” senior Carnegie Moscow Center fellow Andrei Kolesnikov wrote in The Moscow Times on Thursday.

A majority of 18- to 24-year-olds (54%) told Levada they “don’t care” about the fall of the Berlin Wall, compared to 32% who viewed it positively.

Across all age groups, 43% held positive views of the event versus 13% who viewed it negatively, while 35% said they don't care.

“[Russian respondents] are increasingly struggling to answer when asked about the significance of the event,” Kolesnikov wrote in The Moscow Times op-ed.

Levada conducted the survey among 1,616 respondents in 50 Russian regions on Oct. 24-30.

I'd blame history teachers, if I didn't know the way the education system there works, and that history studies are essentially governed less by professional standards than by state imposed ideology...

And teachers are always pressured and scrutinized, under Putin, to present the Soviet era in a positive light.

The focus is on the military glory of the Red Army

including venerating WWII veterans

Kids also learn about famous cosmonauts, like Yuri Gagarin

or legendary athletes from those days, like soccer goalie Lev Yashin (a superstar in the 70s)

But thornier, more unpleasant subjects, like mass repressions, GULag camps, invasions of other countries (Hungary, Czechoslovakia) are barely mentioned, in most schools, if at all... :(

So, you get what you get...