Go on any internet gun forum and you'll see people talking about the recoil of their Mosin-Nagants like they were some sort of elephant gun. I'll agree that the short M38s and -44s have the sort of muzzleblast one can expect from a carbine-length barrel firing a long cartridge stuffed with slow-burning propellant, but recoil? Pffft.
A few months from now, American adolescents will be heading into the woods with shiny new ~7 lb. Savages and Remingtons firing commercial hunting ammo in .30-'06 and .300 WM that makes the ~9 lb. Mosin and its antediluvian three line cartridge look tame in the recoil department, to say nothing of the people hunting with 12 gauge slugs or buckshot. The Mosin was dragged across half of Europe by underfed Kazakhs for heaven's sake, and they didn't have none of these.
I think a lot of it is just that the $79 Mosin is frequently the first manually-operated* centerfire rifle experience for people who didn't get a .308 for their seventeenth birthday and therefore, compared to the .22s and borrowed SKSs fired previously, it seems to recoil a lot. I know I didn't grow up in a gun household, and so I thought my bubba-ized No.4 Enfield kicked like a mule when I first got it. Now I remember it fondly when touching off my .405 Win Encore.
*This is important. A lot of people don't seem to realize how much the recoil impulse gets moderated by the function of a self-loading weapon. The difference in felt recoil between an SKS and a CZ 527 in 7.62x39mm is illustrative. The stubby .30 Russian has a lot more shove when it's exerting it against a manually-unlocking bolt.