50% of Russians Expect Putin Third Term
Director of Equity Financing, FINAM Investment Company, Moscow
Sergei Ivanov and Vladimir Putin
50% of Russians expect President Vladimir V. Putin to run for a third consecutive term, according to a poll released last week by Renaissance Capital. Just one in three voters believe the President's promise that he will step down after the March 2008 elections.
The Russian constitution currently forbids three consecutive Presidential terms, although it would not prohibit Putin from running for President again in 2012. Putin's youth (he will only be 56 next year) and recent statements that he would like to continue serving in public life has fueled speculation that "VVP" might return to politics after four years in a corporate position, perhaps as chairman of Gazprom.
Russian Ambassador Yuri Ushakov (center) and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov (right) having a working lunch with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (foreground) on May 22, 2003
Photo by: U.S. Department of Defense
The survey also found that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has pulled out in front of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as the leading candidate to succeed Putin in 2008. 15% percent of respondents said that they would vote for Ivanov if their first choice candidate was not available, up from 11% in April 2007. Support for Medvedev has slipped from 17% to 13% in the same period. No other candidate received more than 5% of the vote, with 29% of Russian likely voters still undecided. More people think that Ivanov is now Putin's choice to lead Russia than Medvedev. Just under 30% believe that the President favors Ivanov while slightly more than 28% believe that Putin prefers Medvedev for the job. Last April, these figures were 20% and 39%, respectively.
For his part, Putin told Russian journalists earlier this year that "there will be no successors. There will be candidates for the post of president of the Russian Federation. It is the state authorities' job to ensure that they have the democratic means to pursue their election campaigns and set out their campaign platforms so that voters can then make an informed choice."
Meanwhile, the same public opinion poll found that 72% of respondents said that Russia "is headed in the right direction" (in the United States, 66% of Americans surveyed by the Gallup polling organization the same week said that America is headed in the wrong direction). Two out of every three voters said that their quality of life had improved since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This poll of 1,600 voters representing 46 regions of Russia was carried out on the 16th and 17th of June 2007.
A graph from Russia's Levada Analytical Center for public opinion research
"The Russian electorate is still convinced that Vladimir Putin will be President after March next year," said Roland Nash, Renaissance Capital Chief Strategist and Head of Research. "Sergei Ivanov is growing in popularity as Medvedev seems to be faltering. However, Ivanov still has a mountain to climb to be seen as the obvious successor," Nash said.
Whether the Western media likes it or not, Putin's policies continue to be popular with the Russian electorate. 90% of respondents believe that the state should play a larger role in the economy and 81% agreed with the statement, "Russia has recently begun to play a stronger role in international global politics." The survey was conducted prior to the International Olympic Committee awarding Sochi the 2014 Winter Olympics.
"This poll suggests that whoever becomes the next President of the Russian Federation will most likely pursue a similar strategy as that presently being taken by the incumbent," said Nash.
You can read the original post at Vladimir Kuznetsov's blog, Equity Financing in Russia. The views expressed in this post and on his blog are the personal opinions of Vladimir Kuznetsov, and are reproduced here solely for educational purposes. To read more Russia Blog posts about Russian capital markets, click on the finance section or type www.russiablog.org/finance in your web browser.