Publication: Russia and Eurasia Review Volume: 1 Issue: 3

By Andrei Kolganov

[Note: This article is largely based on the findings of a Russia-wide sociological survey; “New Russia: Ten Years of Reform,” carried out in November 2001 by the Institute of Complex Social Studies. That study used research conducted in 1992-2000 by the Russian Independent Institute for Social and National Problems, in collaboration with the Academy of Security, Defense and Law Problems and the participation of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.]

Surveys of Russian public opinion show a consistently high level of public confidence in President Vladimir Putin. Since he took office, Putin’s ratings have risen steadily, with only small fluctuations.

Context and coincidence are the key to Putin’s popularity. His years in government have coincided with economic growth and increased personal income. No less obvious (and much noted) is the marked contrast in personality between Putin and his predecessor Boris Yeltsin. The comparison, in all respects, favors Putin.

Will Putin’s popularity last? Analysis of recent polling data suggests an answer.

The quality of life in Russia, as Russians judge it, has noticeably improved since 1997, and especially during Putin’s presidency. In 1999, fewer than 12 percent of those polled said that life was good. In 2001 over 20 percent did. The proportion of those who thought it was not fell from 26.4 percent to 15.5 percent in the same period. The number of those who found it satisfactory remained almost unchanged.

The numbers below give the percentages for each of the years 1997-2001: