PUTIN’S POPULARITY RATING IS STILL THE HIGHEST

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PUTIN’S POPULARITY RATING IS STILL THE HIGHEST

ORT, Vremya, February 26, 2000, 21:00

The Public Opinion Foundations did its regular poll last weekend. The question was: “Whom would you elect as president if the election took place this Sunday?” Here are the results.

Vladimir Putin is at the top this weekend with 55% (the previous weekend he had 54%). Gennady Zyuganov is second, with 16% this week and 18% last week.

Grigory Yavlinsky remains in third place, with 5% support. Vladimir Zhirinovsky is fourth, with a steady 4% of the vote. Amangeldy Tuleev is fifth with 2% this week, against 1% a week earlier.

Konstantin Titov has 1% support, unchanged since last week.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky has been eliminated from the race, and the next poll will show which candidates will benefit from his share of the vote.

ACTING PRESIDENT PUTIN MEETS LEADERS OF DUMA FACTIONS AND GROUPS

Russian Television, Vesti, February 26, 2000, 20:00

On February 26 acting president Vladimir Putin met with leaders of the Duma factions and groups. The meeting lasted about three hours. After the meeting Putin reported that many issues had been discussed: land ownership, the Armed Forces, the international situation. However, asserted the prime minister, the election campaign was not discussed.

Arriving 15 minutes late, Putin announced that this would be a working meeting to exchange information on urgent issues. These issues turned out to be many and varied. Land ownership, the rise in vodka prices, the economy, and missile defense were discussed; along with Yavlinsky’s proposed peace plan for Chechnya.

Journalists were assured that the meeting had nothing to do with the election campaign. The deputies, dissatisfied with the fact that poorly-developed laws are being submitted to the Duma, criticized the government. Putin promised to take these remarks into account.

Putin on the redistribution of the aluminum market: “No concentration of share ownership has taken place; one shareholder has just bought an existing package of shares from another. This issue should be considered by the government agecny responsible for anti-monopoly issues.”

As he farewelled leaders of the Duma factions and groups, Putin resumed his private conversation with Yevgeny Primakov, leader of Fatherland-All Russia, as had earlier been agreed.

It is interesting that Primakov himself has so far avoided discussing his political preferences. “I’m not saying,” he replied when asked whether he intends to support Putin.

NEW SUGGESTIONS FOR PUTIN FROM THE EXPERTS

Russian Television, Vesti, February 26, 2000, 20:00

Sergei Karaganov’s team of political strategists, which once planned the campaign of Yevgeny Primakov, has now come up with a new policy paper entitled “A Program for the Future President of Russia”. It is meant for Vladimir Putin. The paper was presented at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Policy and Defense, in the presence of Sergei Prikhodko, deputy chief of the presidential staff.

The authors of the new position paper propose that powers should be distributed between the president and the prime minister in such a way that the prime minister would choose all the ministers. The authors do not support extending the presidential term in office; they call this suggestion ill-considered.

Many opinions were expressed about the paper, but everyone agreed that Vladimir Putin should not reject its proposals out of hand.

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