Russians Claim “Lack of Care Towards the People” is Putin’s Top Weakness

November 21, 2017

A recent survey conducted by the Levada-Center in Russia revealed that the majority of people believe that Vladimir Putin does not care about Russian citizens enough and relies too much on the security forces. However, Russians still highly regard the President, giving him a solid 82% approval rating.

In evaluating Putin’s weaknesses, 15% of survey respondents stated his lack of care towards the Russian people and ignorance of how the majority actually live. Another 10% said he is too “soft” towards ministers, 7% claimed his unwillingness to tackle corruption, 6% – “poverty and low salaries” and 4% noted problems with the economy. However, 20% still believe that Putin has no weaknesses at all.

On the other hand, when surveyed on Putin’s positives, 19% of the respondents described his character as “decisive, courageous, strong-willed, calm, self-confident, ‘a real man’”. Secondly, 18% of respondents started that they are attracted by his decisions towards “foreign policy, protection from the West and support for the military” also claiming his “reputation across the globe”. The following question was an open one, so participants were able to state their own points.

Putin’s time in office as the President of the Russian Federation over the last 17 years was rated by respondents as fluctuating between 6 and 7 where 1 was the lowest point and 10 was the highest.

Sociologists also surveyed what respondents thought about Putin’s sources of information and whether these sources are providing him complete and reliable information on the country’s situation with 31% responding “yes”, while 42% claimed that the information he is receiving is distorted.  Recent events have caused significant public embarrassment for the Russian establishment after a number of artificial images were circulated, claiming to show Russian troops in action in Syria.

The percentage of people who believe that the real economic and political situation of the country is being concealed from Putin has increased from 14% to 16% since 2016.

Sociologists also revealed what people thought about whose interests Putin represents.  41% of respondents believed Putin most highly represents the interests of the military and Ministry of Internal affairs, 31% – the oligarchy and 31% – government employees, followed by the middle class (23%), workers (17%) and the cultural elite (15%).

Despite the fact that Russian citizens are openly demonstrating their concerns with the Russian president, perceptions of Vladimir Putin as a political leader are still relatively strong, especially in relation to how he is dealing with the country’s problems. This support has increased from 43% in January 2016 to 55% on the end of 2017.

Nevertheless, experts have predicted a grim future for the Russian economy, claiming that Vladimir Putin has been “extremely lucky” in being in office while oil prices were high.  The lack of diversity and competitiveness in the economy has led to heavy government borrowing, while offering generous rates on public borrowing and mortgages.


This survey took place between 20-24 October 2017 and was conducted throughout all of Russia in both urban and rural settings. The survey was carried out among 1600 people over the age of 18 in 137 localities of 48 of the country’s regions.  The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The answer distribution is presented as percentages of the number of participants along with data from previous surveys.

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