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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Survey Shows Investors Back 3rd Term for Putin

The majority of Russia's citizens -- and its investors -- are rooting for President Vladimir Putin to maintain his stabilizing hold on the economy for another four-year term, Renaissance Capital said in a survey released Monday.

Regardless of age and income, more than 80 percent of the population favors Putin -- a situation "unheard of in any other European nation," according to the survey of 1,600 Russians across 46 regions.

Commissioning a political survey is an unusual move for a private bank and signals how vital the elections have become in making investment decisions.

"The political question is among the top concerns, and our clients have told us this repeatedly," said Vladimir Pantyushin, the Renaissance Capital analyst who compiled the study.

The respondents praised the ruling government most for improving Russia's image on the world stage, the bank's study found.

In the next race, however, economic issues such as fighting inflation and raising income will come to the fore.

On all fronts, Putin is the politician most trusted to solve the country's problems. Almost 30 percent of the electorate believes that he will remain in office, despite his repeated promises to step down.

Many foreign investors agree, feeling that Putin's re-election is still "up in the air," Pantyushin said.

"I think investors would be very happy if Putin took a third term and carried his policies forward," Pantyushin said.

But to stay in office, Putin would need to amend the Constitution, a move that would "put Russia within range of a dictatorship," Pantyushin said. "And this is politically unfeasible."

Among Putin's potential successors, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev leads his rival, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, but more Russian voters are undecided than would vote for either of these candidates, the study found.

According to the survey, United Russia is poised to take a two-thirds majority in the State Duma elections in December. The Communists would come in second with 14 percent, and 10 percent a piece would go to the far-right Liberal Democrats and the second pro-Kremlin party, A Just Russia, the survey found.

Yabloko, the Union of Right Forces, and the People's Democratic Union are a "dead political force" and will not pass the 7 percent barrier needed to get seats in the Duma, the study found.

But even if powerless at the polls, opposition forces may still hold sway with the media, said James Beadle, portfolio manager at Pilgrim Asset Management.

"If they can provoke some violent response from OMON [riot police], it will play out in the foreign media ... and investors will be less inclined to move money into an uncertain environment," Beadle said.

Renaissance Capital plans to release a similar survey every quarter leading up to the elections.