© Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev
Although a majority of Russians say they approve of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's role in history, according to recent polls, just a tiny portion of them would have liked to have lived under his rule, a new survey reveals.

Earlier this week a Levada Center poll, which revealed that over 50 percent (the highest ever) of Russians view Joseph Stalin positively, made headlines in Russia. It sparked another heated debate about the role of the controversial Soviet leader.

However, a new survey by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), showed that only 5% of Russians would want to live in Stalin's era during the times of mass repressions, industrialization and WWII.

Political analysts explain that the rising approval rating of Stalin shows society's attitude to the mythical image of the Soviet leader - a symbol of order and a champion of the oppressed - rather than the actual historical figure of Stalin.

Unsurprisingly, 40% said they prefer living in modern Russia. Meanwhile, almost the same amount (37%) would prefer to go back to the times of the rule of Leonid Brezhnev. The Brezhnev period, spanning over more than two decades from 1964 to 1986 is often referred as Era of Stagnation in Russian history, associated with low economic growth, as well as social and economic stability.

Just 4% of Russians would like to return to the times when Boris Yeltsin ruled from 1991 to 1999. That period was marked by high inflation, economic collapse, widespread corruption and violent crime. Only about 3% could imagine themselves living on the cusp of the 19th and 20th centuries, before WWI and the October Revolution.