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More than 70% of Russians support Putin's constitutional changes — pollster 'Levada'

More than 70% of Russians support Putin's constitutional changes — pollster 'Levada'
Vladimir Putin caught everyone by surprise last month when he announced planned constitutional amendments to introduce more 'checks and balances' into the Russian political system.

Now, with a plebiscite planned for this spring to win public approval for the reforms, the vast majority of voters look set to support the President's proposals. That's according to a poll conducted by the independent 'Levada Centre,' which shows over 70% of respondents back the moves.

Conducted at the request of the 'Civil Society Development Fund,' the survey indicates that Russian citizens are well-informed about Putin's intentions and that the plans are backed by all social groups. Levada Centre questioned over 2000 people, representing the urban and rural population of the country, as well as various social and age strata, and found that almost 60% knew about the changes: 25% reported being 'well aware' of the content and essence of the amendments. Most importantly for the Kremlin, 72% said they would vote for the changes.

Reactions to the President's proposed constitutional reforms are an interesting snapshot of how Russian governance is viewed from inside, as opposed to outside. They have received a mixed reaction abroad, but have been generally accepted as a positive thing within the country.

The Levada Centre poll also questioned Russians on specific individual law reforms, and each result was overwhelmingly in favor. The most popular policy proposal was the mandatory indexing of pensions, at 92%.

Others included fixing the minimum wage (83%), banning officials from having foreign citizenship (79%), redistributing power away from the President and to the Duma and State Council (68%), and restricting the President to two terms (64%). No suggestion was supported by less than 58%.

The Levada Centre survey also asked citizens which of the amendments they considered the 'most important.' Unsurprisingly, two of the top three most popular related to the personal well-being of Russian citizens (pensions and the minimum wage), with the other being a potential prohibition for officials having foreign citizenship or residence permits.

The topic determined to be the least important was the State Council. Which is, somewhat ironically, where most 'experts' believe Putin himself may find a post-Kremlin role.

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