A poll just released by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) has found that President Vladimir Putin’s trust rating is at an all-time high, with 71 percent of those polled saying that they trust the recently inaugurated Russian head of state. On the other hand, while 28 percent of the respondents said they viewed Putin “sympathetically” and 35 percent said they viewed him “neutrally” (meaning they could find nothing bad to say about him), 18 percent said they had a “guarded” view of him or were adopting a “wait-and-see” attitude, up from 12 percent and 14 percent in March and April, respectively. In addition, 52 percent of the respondents said that they were disturbed to one degree or another about rumors concerning Putin’s alleged ties to the “Family,” as the group of Yeltsin-era Kremlin insiders is called, 55 percent said that they found his economic and political programs “vague, while 77 percent said they were in some measure disturbed by the fact that he had not yet resolved the Chechen problem. Only 36 percent said they were worried that Putin would impose a “strict dictatorship,” while just 18 percent said they were disturbed that he had spent most of his life working for the KGB.
The numbers concerning Chechnya were particularly interesting, given that 56 percent of the respondents said the military campaign in the breakaway republics should continue, down from 70 percent in February in March. The number of respondents calling for peace talks rose from 21-23 percent in February and March, respectively, to 35 percent in the latest poll. As in previous months, 5 percent of those polled this time said that the government should negotiate with Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, while the number calling for negotiations with “other, more authoritative figures from the Chechen side” grew from 13 percent in previous months to 20 percent. As in the earlier polls, 30 percent said they were against any negotiations and supported directly military rule in Chechnya (Russian agencies, June 8).
KOZHIN’S BILL OF CLEAN HEALTH FOR BORODIN SOMEWHAT DUBIOUS.