Poll Says A Fourth Of Russians Believe Putin Has Personality Cult

world | Nov 17, 2011 | By RFE/RL 

There are no Stalinesque statues of him lining Moscow’s boulevards, but according to poll results released on November 16 by Russia’s Levada Center, one fourth of Russians believe that current Prime Minister and soon to be President Vladimir Putin has built up his own cult of personality.

In a survey of 1600 people from 45 regions of the country, 25 percent of respondents said that “all the signs” of a Putin personality cult existed -- about the same level recorded in annual surveys since 2007.

That figure is 2.5 times greater than in March 2006, when a mere 10 percent signed on to the description.

Also in the new survey, nearly one third of respondents (30 percent) said that while the ‘personality cult’ description is premature, the prerequisites that would justify the label are growing. That’s the highest percentage in the 5 years that Levada has asked the question.

Exactly one third of respondents said that there are no signs of an idealized, propaganda-backed Putin aura hanging over Russia. However, that figure represents a drop from 57 percent in 2006.

The new data was collected one month after Putin made the unsurprising announcement at a United Russia party conference in Moscow that he would run for a third term as president.

Even as his party’s popularity has fallen, he is considered guaranteed to win, amid the country’s restricted political and media environment.

Putin could stay in power for a fourth term as well, which would see him ruling over Russia until 2024 -- meaning he could end up running the country longer than Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

In the results of a separate poll released today by Levada, just 3 percent of Russians said “definitely yes” when asked if they felt they could influence politics in the country.

Some 50 percent said “definitely not.”

-- Richard Solash



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