PUTIN THE BOSS

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ONLY 12% RUSSIANS BELIEVE THAT DMITRY MEDVEDEV GOVERNS IN HIS OWN NAME

Fewer and fewer Russians regard President Dmitry Medvedev as number one state official.


According to Levada-Center sociologists, Vladimir Putin’s clout with the political life in the country is more considerable than the Russians expected it to be. Last February (in 2008), 25% respondents thought that Putin would retain practically all his political clout and influence even after his resignation as the president. Earlier this month, the same thing was already suggested by 45% respondents. Forty-two percent said Putin had retained “considerable clout” and only 1% did not think that Putin was wielding any clout at all. (The latest opinion poll was conducted on February 20-23; 1,600 respondents were approached.)

On the contrary, Dmitry Medvedev turned out to be less powerful and influential than the population had expected. Only 12% suggested that Medvedev was wielding real power in Russia, but a year ago 23% had thought that he would certainly take over with Putin gone from the Kremlin. Twenty percent had thought meantime that Putin would remain the decision-maker in whatever the capacity. These days, 34% respondents are convinced that it is Putin who wields power and makes decisions in Russia. His rating of trust went down from 62% last February to 48% the other day. Medvedev’s rating remained more or less unchanged – 39% now against 36% a year ago. As a matter of fact, Levada-Center sociologists reported a dramatic drop of Putin’s rating last month.

“People are convinced that Putin holds all the reins in his hands. It devalues presidency in their eyes,” Levada-Center Assistant Director General Aleksei Grazhdankin said. “As for the ratings, they went up a year ago on the eve and in the wake of the presidential campaign. They deflate to the usual level, these days.”

“Exactly who wields the power is not for people to decide because they lack all relevant information,” Russian Public Opinion Research Center Director General Valery Fyodorov objected.

“The Constitution is absolutely clear on functions of the president and the premier, and both regularly pledge allegiance to the Constitution,” Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said. “That is why the premier is ever focused on social and economic problems, and doubly so in crises.”

Presidential Press Service declined comment.

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