Two-thirds of Russians want Putin to remain president after 2018 – study

Russian President Vladimir Putin © Maksim Blinov
The share of Russians who would prefer Vladimir Putin to continue leading their country after the 2018 presidential polls has risen to a four-year high and is currently at 63 percent, according to the latest public opinion poll.

The Levada independent research center reported on Tuesday that in October this year the share of Russians who said that they would prefer Putin to remain president for another term was 63 percent, with 18 percent saying that they would prefer another scenario and 19 percent refusing to give an unambiguous answer to the question.

For comparison, in October 2012 only 34 percent of respondents claimed positive attitude towards a fourth presidential term for Putin and 40 percent described such an outcome as undesirable. The share of those who could not answer the question was 26 percent back then.

Mikhail Vinogradov of the St. Petersburg Politics foundation told Vedomosti daily that the increasing support of Vladimir Putin and his policies could be explained by the lingering “Crimea effect” – the universal public approval of the Crimean Republic’s accession into the Russian Federation and also by the fact that an average Russian has grown tired of politics and is not closely following the latest events and tendencies.

Levada researcher Denis Volkov added that the 26 percent of people who wanted another leader for Russia were “those who are not satisfied with their lives and at the same time have little understanding of the political system and the way it works.”

In late May this year, Levada released a rating of public trust to top level politicians and officials. Putin topped the list with 80 percent support, followed by Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. This was a slight decrease from the peak value of 89 percent registered in late June 2015. Also in May the government-owned research center VTSIOM reported that according to their data share of Russians who said they are happy with Vladimir Putin’s performance as president was 82 percent. Even more Russians – 84 percent – said they are ready to vote for Putin at the presidential elections.