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Russians happy with the first year of Vladimir Putin's presidency

March 05, 2013, 11:13 UTC+3

A year after Vladimir Putin was elected president, two-thirds of Russians would vote for him again

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A year after Vladimir Putin was elected president, two-thirds of Russians would vote for him again, but the number of those who believe that the leader will keep his election promises has decreased, according to an opinion poll conducted by the VTsIOM center. Experts believe the sentiment might change within the next year or two, if the authorities continue to keep the present-day governance system.

On March 4, 2012, Vladimir Putin won presidential polls in the first round for the third time, gathering 64 percent of votes, the Kommersant reminds. He is presently supported by two-thirds of the electorate, director general of the VTsIOM Public Opinion Research Center Valery Fedorov said on Monday. Half of citizens /48 percent/ are confident that there is "no politician at present who would be capable of competing with Putin and that there won't be in the next few years." A year ago, 42 percent were convinced that there was no alternative to Putin.

Meanwhile, the number of those who believe that Vladimir Putin will keep all his election promises has decreased. A year ago, 37 percent of Russians had no doubts that a majority of promises would be kept. At present, their number is at 16 percent. Nineteen percent are confident that the president will fail to keep his promises.

Among the achievements of the first year of Putin's presidency, 11 percent of the respondents named "improving welfare" while 10 percent noted "success in combating corruption." Anticorruption fight is part of the five tasks which should become Vladimir Putin's priority during his term in office, according to 12 percent of those polled. Eleven percent assign priority to free and quality medical service. Thirteen percent of Russians would give priority to pension problems, and another 13 percent call for the upturn of industry and agriculture. A total of 22 percent gave top priority to improving the population's welfare.

This sentiment in the society quite agrees with "the social populism" characteristic of the government in the past few years. "But this populism is giving momentum to expectations in the society," the Kommersant cited director general of the Moscow Institute for Political Analysis Yevgeny Minchenko as saying. The authorities will have to implement "structural reforms" in the near future in the areas of education, health care, and pensions which creates risks for them to become unpopular in the society.

To keep the society's confidence, the Kremlin will need such governance technologies which will differ in principle from the "conservative-value mobilization of the population," which has been the confidence-cementing measure in the past 12 months. "Mobilization" was successful thanks to the fight against "foreign agents" and non profit-making organizations, the ouster of lawmakers from the parliament who had run business, the trial of Pussy Riot punk group members and other information events, which became the "calling card" of 2012. But all these "themes are not significant for the population in actual fact," Minchenko says, so the technology based on them "can only be effective for a year or two, until 2015 at the most."




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