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    WILL RUSSIAN PUBLIC SUPPORT PUTIN'S PLAN TO APPOINT GOVERRNORS?

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    MOSCOW, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - One of the measures suggested by Vladimir Putin with the aim of consolidating Russia's unity and counteracting terrorism has been to scrap elections for the leaders of Federation member states in favor of a system under which the federal President will offer his nominees for regional legislatures to confirm.

    The national pollster VTsIOM has tried to find out just how important a regional leader's relations with the federal government are to the general public.

    According to findings posted on the VTsIOM's website, a large number of Russians see federal authorities' support for a gubernatorial candidate as an increasingly important factor in his/her election to the post. As many as 39 percent of the respondents said they were ready to vote for a gubernatorial hopeful enjoying federal backing. A mere 9 percent said they would vote for a candidate opposing the Kremlin. Those who said they did not care much about the relations between a would-be governor and federal authorities accounted for 34 percent. And the remaining 18 percent of the pollees responded with "don't know" and the like.

    What kind of professionals would the Russian public prefer to see as their governors? Thirty-six percent of those surveyed spoke in favor of career politicians; 18 percent, for industrial executives; 15 percent, for high-level businesspeople and entrepreneurs; 16 percent, officers with a background in the army or in special services; and 10 percent, for scientists and people in the arts. A candidate from the entrepreneurial milieu is likely to be supported by middle-aged, middle-class Russians whereas a career politician will be backed by young people, from the 18-to-24 age group, and by people with high incomes.

    The list of governors capable of effectively coping with the social and economic problems of their respective regions is not a long one. One-third of Russians believe that effective governors are non-existent inRussia while another 30 percent are not sure there are any such leaders in the Russian provinces these days. The remaining respondents single out as best-performing Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleyev (7 percent), Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov (5 percent), St. Petersburg Mayor Valentina Matviyenko and Boris Gromov, Governor of the Moscow Region (3 percent each). [According to Russia's current administrative division, Moscow and St. Petersburg are regarded as Federation member states]. Young Russians, residents of Moscow and other large Russian cities come across as least interested in the activity of governors.

    Interviewed for the survey were 1,539 people from 100 rural and urban communities, located in 39 regions across Russia.

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