Putin's approval rating still on the rise - survey

MOSCOW, September 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval rating continues to rise, a leading national pollster said Thursday.

The Levada Public Opinion Research Center said that according to a survey it conducted in late August, 70% of Russians believed Putin was doing a good job as president, whereas only 27% assessed his performance negatively. In July, these figures were 67% and 31%, respectively.

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov's ratings have remained almost unchanged since July: 33% believed he was the right man for the job, whereas 59% said they would like to see him go (figures from the previous survey were 32% and 59%, respectively).

The approval rating of the Russian government as a whole has gone down. Only 29% of those interviewed for the August survey praised the government's performance (compared with 32% in the previous month), whereas 66% expressed disapproval (against 64% in July).

The Russian politicians enjoying public trust include Putin (41% in July, 42% in August); Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu (13%, 14%); ultranationalist LDPR party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky (11%, 8%); Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov (9%, 12%); Communist Party leader Gennadi Zyuganov (7%, 8%); Dmitri Rogozin, leader of the nationalist party Rodina (7%, 6%); Kemerovo Regional Governor Aman Tuleyev (5%, 8%); Boris Gryzlov, Speaker of the State Duma, or parliament's lower house (5%, 6%); Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov (5%, 7%); St. Petersburg Mayor Valentina Matviyenko (5%, 5%); and Irina Hakamada, leader of the liberal movement Our Choice (4%, 4%).

The list of politicians considered to be the least trustworthy includes Anatoli Chubais, CEO of the electricity giant Unified Energy Systems (UES) and the main architect of the post-Communist privatization campaign in the early '90s (28%); Zhirinovsky (18%); Zyuganov (15%); Hakamada (10%); and former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov (9%); as well as liberals Yegor Gaidar (9%), Grigory Yavlinsky (9%), and Boris Nemtsov (7%). Five percent of the respondents said they did not trust President Putin or former Yukos chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

A sample of 1,600 adults from 128 urban and rural communities across Russia were interviewed for this survey, with the maximum margin of error at 4%.

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