Russian citizens see Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as a better choice for president than Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, sociologists from Levada Centre say. Shoigu used to be the most popular politician after Vladimir Putin before the “tandem” emerged.
According to an opinion poll by Levada Centre cited by the Kommersant daily, if the presidential election were held next Sunday, 32 percent of the Russian citizens would support Vladimir Putin, eight percent of the vote would go to Communist leader Gennady Zyuvanov, Civic Platform leader Mikhail Prokhorov would get four percent and the same four percent would go to LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky. And the number of votes in favor of Sergei Shoigu would be higher than the number of votes cast for the prime minister – 3.5 percent would vote for Shoigu and two percent – for Medvedev. Less than two percent of the polled Russian nationals would vote for the leader of the A Just Russia Party, Sergei Mironov. Another 23 percent of the polled people would not participate in the election at all, and 17 percent found it difficult to answer the question.
“In terms of public policy, Mr. Shoigu is electable,” political strategist Yevgeny Suchkov told the newspaper, noting that it sociologists gave a possibility to vote for several candidates at once, “he would get a much higher percentage”.
In the future, Sergei Shoigu may be ushered “as a conservative tough politician” but at the moment he is not considered as a political leader and cannot compete against Vladimir Putin, the director of Levada Centre, Lev Gudkov, believes. “Sergei Shoigu does not seem to be very welcome as a politician to citizens, but the ‘all-Russia fireman’ is indeed popular with the conservative part of Putin’s electorate,” the sociologist says. “These are elderly people, with a low level of education, not well informed, living in provinces,” he said. However, Gudkov sees no reasons for Putin not to run for a new term in office.