Over 80% of Russians are still satisfied with Putin's work

Over 80% of Russians are still satisfied with Putin's work
Putin's popularity rating still over 80%
By Ben Aris in Berlin April 28, 2017

Eight out ten Russians (82%) are still happy with President Vladimir Putin performance, according to independent pollster the Levada Center’s monthly popularity poll.

That is despite more Russians expressing disappointment with Putin, saying that he has failed to improve living standards since the annexation of Crimea, the number of whom has more than doubled, reaching 32%, according to a separate poll from Levada.

The Russian leader’s popularity has fallen only slightly this year from a high of 86% set in November 2016 after Russia launched its military campaign in Syria.

Another 18% said they were unhappy with Putin in the latest poll, up one percentage point from a month earlier, but remarkably that means for the first time the number of respondents that answered “don't know” fell to zero for the first time. Love him, hate him, everyone now has a clear opinion on Putin.

The other numbers in this poll remained roughly the same as previous months. Just over half of Russians (51%) think the country is going in the right direction vs 32% that think it is going in the wrong direction. That represents an increase in pessimism as this indicator has been falling slowly by a point every month from its Syrian campaign high of 56 in November as the glow of national pride fades.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s popularity has staged a mild recovery after the country was swept by anti-corruption protests earlier in April aimed specifically at accusations levelled at the PM by anti-corruption blogger and opposition leader Alexei Navalny. His popularity rose two points to 44%, but is still way down on 52-57% range he enjoyed in the last six months. Those who do not approve of his activities are in the majority with 54% up form a minority of 46% in January.

However, unlike in Putin's case, public opinion about Medvedev is now more muddled and prone to diverge. In a separate Levada Center poll results published on April 26, 45% of Russians said Medvedev should resign.

Those happy with the Russian government's work are also in the minority of 46%, down from 51% in January. And those dissatisfied with the Cabinet made up 53% of citizens up from 48% in January.

The State Duma lower chamber of parliament is still getting the most opprobrium of the state bodies, with only 42% of respondents approving of its work against 57% who do not approve.

The top three leading politicians trusted by Russians remains the same and has not changed for years: Putin is in the first place (54%), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov second (25%), and Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu in third (23%) .

The runners up are: ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR)  leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky (15%), Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov and Medvedev tie (10%), followed by the mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, the leader of the "Just Russia" party Sergei Mironov, and Patriarch Kirill (5%), and in the rear, the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov (4%).

The share of Russians that don’t trust any politician is 14% of respondents, while 12% said they were not interested in politics at all.