CSM posted an article 8-22-11 talking about how only 27% of Russians believe the country chose the right path of development following the coup of August 19-21 of 1991 that decimated Mikhail Gorbachev’s legitimacy and dissolved the Soviet Union. The Coup plotters believed Gorbachev had betrayed the principles of the Soviet system in his attempts to reform it. Even today in Russia, there’s a segment of the population that believes Gorbachev is/was a Western agent with orders to destroy the Soviet Union from within.
Where most people would see bad news, I say lets look at the reality of Russia post-coup. Boris Yeltsin rode into power as the great hero on the tank in front of the White House, but reality soon became an absolute mess. Rapid hyperinflation wiped out peoples savings and put many of the newly imported goods out of reach of many. Criminal methods and gangs to protect goods and property became commonplace. Furthermore, previously venerable instruments of state power and Russian pride like factories were sold into the hands of a few wealthy oligarchs, who plundered much of Russia’s remaining wealth.
It has been only in recent years under the Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev that stability has returned, though with a dangerous reliance on the oil and natural gas sectors and dubious implications for democracy. Never underestimate the value of stability for anyone. There isn’t necessarily a nostalgia for communism here, but one cannot escape the reality that the system was reasonably stable, which is not exactly something that can be said for the “democratic Russia.”