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Putin popularity lowest in four years: survey

Russians’ enthusiasm for their prime minister has dipped to its lowest in four years, according to a poll published Friday, but Vladimir Putin is still more popular than President Dmitry Medvedev.

Out of 2,000 Russians responding to the survey by the Public Opinion Foundation, 61 percent said they had confidence in Putin, down from 69 percent at the start of the year and his lowest rating since 2006 (54 percent).

But President Medvedev inspires still less confidence in Russians, with 53 percent of those questioned on June 5 and 6 giving a positive response, a drop from Medvedev’s 62 percent rating at the start of the year.

“Wage earners feel their quality of life is not improving, but on the contrary it is getting partly worse,” the analyst Dmitry Oreshkin told AFP.

Discontent with the economic and social situation in Russia is especially high in single-industry cities, once symbols of a powerful Soviet Union, but today these are the first hit by the economic crisis, Oreshkin added.

The dip in Putin’s popularity can also be explained by the corrosive effect of power, the analyst added. He has been in charge for 10 years, first as president between 2000 and 2008, and now as prime minister.