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The good old days. Photo: Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

More than 6-in-10 Russians consider it a "great misfortune that the Soviet Union no longer exists," according to a new Pew survey. That's 13 points higher than in 2011.

The big picture: The survey reveals far more nostalgia for the Soviet Union in Russia than elsewhere in Eastern Europe. And while that sentiment is highest (71%) among those who spent most of their lives in the USSR, half of Russian 18- to 34-year-olds agree.

  • Just 22% in Russia say ordinary people have benefited from the changes since 1991, while 57% say life is worse than it was under communism.
  • Of eight former Soviet bloc countries surveyed, only Russians are growing more convinced that the economic situation was better under communism.
  • Two-thirds are dissatisfied with how democracy functions in Russia. However, strikingly small percentages of Russians say it's important that the media, opposition parties and civil society operate freely.
  • Just 40% of Russians say it's important to have regular elections. Of 16 other countries surveyed, the next lowest number is 57%, in Lithuania.

Between the lines: Vladimir Putin has played on nostalgia for the Soviet Union. But given he's been in power for 20 years, much of the dissatisfaction reflects on him.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.