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    (SWEEPING MAJORITY OF RUSSIANS LIKE PUTIN(

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    MOSCOW, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - The sweeping majority of Russians - 85 percent - like President Vladimir Putin, while only 4 percent dislike him.

    This is seen from the poll figures circulated on Thursday by the independent service Public Opinion Fund. It has held a national poll of 1,500 urban and rural residents of 100 populated places in 44 regions, territories and republics of Russia's every economic and geographic zone. Polling was done by place-of-residence interviews. The polling error does not top 3.6 percent. Poll-taking was done on April 3.

    Respondents were asked to say what they think of Putin as man, not talking of his political activities.

    In the opinion of 53 percent of the polled, Putin has changed during his presidency; 43 percent say to the best, 4 percent to the worst.

    Respondents also said what they see as his basic merits and strong sides, faults and the weak sides.

    They lauded Putin for resolve, purposefulness, firmness, coolness, self-confidence (23 percent).

    Seventeen percent of the polled like the president's behaviour in public, manner of speech, communication, "simplicity", "tact", "diplomatic manner".

    Fifteen percent of the polled see Putin's strong side in his being "businesslike", "industrious". Twelve percent noted his intelligence, erudition, education ("knows many languages", "sober-thinking", "logical").

    Eight percent said Putin's strong side is appearance and "youthfulness" ("always smart", "attractive", "nine-looking").

    For 7 percent of the respondents it is important that the president does not drink or smoke, is "healthy" and "conducts a healthy way of life".

    Others (7 percent) emphasise such moral qualities as honesty, fairness, uprightness.

    For 2 percent it is important that Putin is "a good family man" and for 1 percent his "KGB experience".

    Only 12 percent spoke of the president's personal faults. Some respondents do not like his "gentleness", "caution"; some reproach him for not being "keen on public-speaking", "president-like" but being instead "young" and "not tall".

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