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    Putin tops Kommersant daily's rating of Russian elite

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    President Vladimir Putin has topped business daily Kommersant's annual rankings of Russia's elite for the seventh consecutive time, the paper said on Friday.

    MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin has topped business daily Kommersant's annual rankings of Russia's elite for the seventh consecutive time, the paper said on Friday.

    The ten top personalities on the list also include five other politicians and four stars from the world of pop music and movies.

    Over 82% of respondents voted for Putin, whose second presidential term is nearing an end. In a similar survey last year, 65.2% voted the president the country's most popular figure.

    Pop singer Alla Pugacheva, who has remained a heroine to millions of Russians and eastern Europeans throughout the Soviet and post-Soviet period, is second on Kommersant's list.

    The pop diva, who has been likened by some to Barbra Streisand for her ballads and to Tina Turner for her longevity and penchant for thigh-skimming skirts, is followed by the two first deputy prime ministers and a minister.

    Sergei Ivanov, who oversees industry in the government, is third on the paper's list of Russia's elite.

    Dmitry Medvedev, widely expected to replace Putin after presidential polls on March 2, 2008, is the fifth most popular personality, according to Kommersant, after Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu.

    Flamboyant and controversial Russian ultranationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky has retained his popularity throughout Russia's post-Soviet history. He is sixth on the daily's rankings.

    Longtime Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov climbed into the top ten from last year to seventh, with Joseph Kobzon, an iconic Soviet crooner and currently one of Russia's most experienced MPs in eighth.

    Oscar winning actor and film director Nikita Mikhalkov is in ninth place, while film director Eldar Ryazanov, who directed 24 movies that shaped the face of Russian comedy during the second half of the 20th century is in tenth place.

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