Lottie Millington in London -
Corruption is Vladimir Putin’s biggest presidential failing, according to a survey by Russia’s independent Levada Center.
According to the survey respondents, some of Putin’s biggest failures were dealing with the “fight against corruption and bribery”, and improving “relations between Russia and the West”. This shows that the sanctions imposed on Russia and Putin’s staunch responses have not gone unnoticed by the Russian public.
In the last 18 months of Vladimir Putin’s rule, Russia has suffered sanctions, international isolation and economic decline. When asked who held the primary blame for these problems, the second most popular answer was Vladimir Putin, just one point behind the Russian government/minsters. Putin also came top, by a landslide, as the party most responsible for Russia’s economic success.
Russians labelled Putin’s greatest achievement four years into his first presidential term in 2004 as “raising living standards and growth in wages and pensions”. This, compared to his biggest achievement in 2015, “increasing the combat capability of the armed forces”, suggests a Russian attitude more in line with Putin’s dogged outlook. 4% of respondents saw no achievements whatsoever.
The poor, intellectuals, and the cultural and scientific elites were deemed to be bottom of Putin’s list of priorities, harking back to the communist era, which saw dissident artists imprisoned and swathes of rural poor left wanting. Only 1% of respondents believed that the interests of the poor were addressed by Putin.
While millions of Russians live below the poverty line, Putin is blockading imports and disposing of foreign food as a reaction the EU- and US-led sanctions. Following this, the survey reports the perception that employees of the security services, army and Ministry of the Interior come top of Putin’s political priorities.
Many were also unimpressed with Putin’s recent aqua excursion, with mixed views over his involvement in a stunt that saw him descend into the Black Sea in search of ancient relics. 27% said they were either surprised, confused of irritated by the event.
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