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10 Dec, 2020 14:40

Expected polling bounce for Navalny fails to materialize as trust rating drops; Putin also down, Communists & Nationalists up

Expected polling bounce for Navalny fails to materialize as trust rating drops; Putin also down, Communists & Nationalists up

A new poll has revealed that support for opposition parties in Russia is on the up. However, In bad news for the West’s favorite Kremlin critic, fewer and fewer voters say they trust anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny.

The latest regular Levada Center study of public opinion in the country found that around one in three people picked President Vladimir Putin as a politician they trusted, down two points from last year. At the same time, faith grew in both right-wing LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, taking him to 13 percent, and in his Communist counterpart Gennady Zyuganov, who was backed by five percent of those surveyed.

But despite rarely being out of the headlines in recent months after an alleged poisoning, only three Russians in a hundred picked Navalny as a politician they trust. Many had expected his ratings to rise after the incident took on an international dimension and broke open a new rift between Moscow and Berlin, where he was transferred in a coma after taking ill on a flight to the Siberian city of Omsk in August. Furthermore, the protest leader has received unprecedented coverage in Russian mainstream media since then.

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Navalny has accused the Kremlin, and Putin himself, of being behind what he and a number of international organizations allege to have been an attempt on his life with the nerve agent Novichok.

Navalny has remained in Germany since being discharged from the Charite hospital in Berlin, and has continued to campaign against the Russian government from abroad. He was visited in hospital by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has since pushed for a new package of sanctions and punitive measures against Moscow as a result of the incident. 

As part of the survey, 1,607 Russians were asked who they would vote for if the presidential elections were held tomorrow, and 39 percent said Putin. Zhirinovsky was chosen by 6 percent of respondents, and both Zyuganov and Navalny attracted support from 2 percent of those surveyed.

Named after its founder, the late Yury Levada, the Levada Center polling company has often been accused of liberal bias. In 2016, it was registered as a foreign agent after it admitted to receiving Western funding in the past.

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