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    Heat-jaded Russians lose trust in Medvedev, Putin - poll

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    Support for Russia's president and prime minister has fallen to its lowest point in several years according to three national surveys published in a Russian business daily on Tuesday.

    Support for Russia's president and prime minister has fallen to its lowest point in several years according to three national surveys published in a Russian business daily on Tuesday.

    The results of the polls are particularly surprising since they do not take into account people's reactions to the allegedly poorly handled wild fire crisis.

    Vedomosti daily cited a survey conducted by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) as saying that trust in Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has dropped from 44 percent in January to 39 percent in August, while trust in Prime Minister Vladimir Putin dropped from 53 percent to 47 percent in the same period.

    A survey carried out by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) showed a 10 percent drop in trust in the president, from 62 percent in January to 52 percent as of August 1. Trust in Putin dropped by 8 percent.

    Meanwhile, a poll by Russia's Levada Center think-tank shows just a slight drop in Medvedev and Putin's popularity indexes. Medvedev saw a 1 percent drop in support while people's trust to Putin decreased by 4 percent.

    There is no obvious reason for people's changing attitudes towards politicians, Vedomosti daily quoted a Kremlin source as saying. He said the ruling Kremlin United Russia party was concerned about the trend and the unrest it may cause.

    The popularity ratings of Putin and Medvedev could drop to 40 percent in the next six months, leading Russian Sociologist Leonty Byzov told Vedomosti. He said there was a growing fatigue surrounding Putin's popularity and that if the government's reaction to the wild fire crisis is taken into account, the popularity ratings of the two leaders would decrease dramatically.

    FOM President Alexander Oslon, said such low popularity ratings could be explained by the extended heat wave in most of Central Russia that has worsened the mood of many Russians.

    Wildfires, sparked by weeks of abnormally high temperatures in central Russia, have severely damaged the Russian economy, with the estimated short-term loss of $15 billion.

    Russian Presidential Administration adviser, Gleb Pavlovsky told Vedomosti the wildfires caught Russian authorities by surprise, when it could have been used to their advantage.

    "This is a sign of exhausted leadership," he said.

     

    MOSCOW, August 9 (RIA Novosti)

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