Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Russians List Putin’s Greatest Successes and Greatest Failures

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 25 – A new Levada Center poll showing that more than half of Russians are tired of waiting for Vladimir Putin to bring them a better life but that nearly three-quarters of them still trust the Russian president has not surprisingly attracted a good deal of attention, commentary and speculation about the upcoming election. 

            But perhaps even more interesting than those global assessments are the listing and rankings Russians give to what they say are the Kremlin’s leader’s greatest successes and greatest failures, a set of figures that provides a more nuanced view of how Russians view Putin in the 17th year of his reign (levada.ru/2017/04/24/15835/).

            The rankings combine those who rated a particular action as a success and those who rated it as a failure.  Putin’s greatest successes, in descending order, were raising the country’s military capability, strengthening the international standing of Russia, resolving the Chechen problem, restoring order to the country, improving ties with CIS countries, promoting optimism and hope, improving international relations, fighting crime and protecting democracy and freedoms, with the last only one percent positive relative to the negatives.

            His greatest failures, again in descending order from the most to the least, are, Russians say, fighting corruption, improving the standard of living, bringing the oligarchs to heel, economic development, strengthening morality, improving ties with the West, creating conditions for private business, and eliminating the threat of terrorism in Russia.  Again the margins for the last four are small, less than five percent.

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