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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Love for President Strong but Not Blind

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Opinion polls show that President Vladimir Putin enjoys the support of about 75 percent of Russians. But the love is not blind: A year after his election, people have greater doubts about Chechnya, the lack of a clear economic policy and the president's ability to raise their standard of living.

According to a poll conducted early this month by the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion, or VTsIOM, respondents' biggest disappointment was Chechnya, with support for Putin's policy in the war-torn region dropping more than threefold — from 24 percent in October 1999, when Putin was prime minister, to a mere 7 percent as of February.

The number of people who said they were "very worried" by the president's inability to end the fighting in Chechnya more than doubled since last March — rising from 22 to 48 percent. The survey also showed a marked decline in respondents' belief that Putin would be able to end the war at all, down from 30 percent last June to 20 percent in February.

All of the cited polls were conducted using a standard sample of 1,600 respondents throughout the country, VTsIOM said on the Polit.ru web site, where it posted the results.

Less dramatic, but still noteworthy, was the disappointment in Putin's economic policies: In comparison to last June, the number of people who believed Putin could raise their standard of living dropped by February from 26 to 17 percent, while the number of those who "have no hope" of seeing the standard rise grew from 10 to 15 percent.

Over the same period, the number of those who feel Putin can "lead the country out of crisis" dropped from 27 percent to 20 percent, while those who are unhappy with "the lack of a clear political line" grew from 5 percent in October 1999 to 12 percent in February.

Although the number of respondents who believe Putin is closely linked to the entourage of ex-President Boris Yeltsin rose since October 1999 from 16 to 26 percent, so has the number of people who attach no significance to this affiliation — from 17 percent a year ago to 27 percent now.

Despite the disappointments, Russians generally still like their president. About 61 percent believe Putin is "doing everything possible to fulfill his electoral promises." And the ranks of those who consider him the guarantor of stability in Russia grew from 10 percent in October 1999 to 15 percent. So did the number of those who find Putin "outwardly pleasant" — from 10 percent in October 1999 to 16 percent.