President Boris Yeltsin has regained the number one ranking among Russia’s politicians following his recovery from surgery, the Moscow Tribune said yesterday. The newspaper cited a monthly opinion poll by Russian political analysts as placing Yeltsin first on the list of Russia’s 100 leading politicians. Prior to surgery, Yeltsin had dropped to third place. Yeltsin’s comeback shunts Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, in first place since August, to second place and presidential aide Anatoly Chubais down to third. Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov remains in fourth place. (Xinhua, December 4)
But while Yeltsin is a no longer being seen as a lame duck president, his popularity rating has plunged from what it was during the presidential election this past summer. One reason is that people blame Yeltsin for failing to honor his election promise to pay wages and pensions on time. The anger of Russia’s striking miners is shared by many. (Moskovskie novosti, December 1-8) In a November poll of 1,600 Russians by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, only 10 percent of respondents said they trusted Yeltsin (the corresponding figure in July was 29 percent). Trust in Communist leader Gennadi Zyuganov also fell, from 21 percent in July to 14 percent in November. Aleksandr Lebed is the only politician who still commands any confidence: his rating fell from 29 percent in July to 24 percent in November. Meanwhile, the number of those saying they trust no one rose from 17 percent in July to 31 percent in November. (Pravda [special issue], November 29-December 6)
Russian Defense Chief Cites Army’s Internal Problems.