Putin and Medvedev's approval ratings plummet due to pension reform and gas prices

Putin and Medvedev's approval ratings plummet due to pension reform and gas prices
Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin

The President's approval rating has not dropped to such a level since December 2013.

The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) has recorded a decrease in the rating of Russians' confidence in the authorities. According to the poll conducted, in mid-June, the work of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was approved by 44.7% (the previous figure is 41.7%), the Russian government - by 38.5% (47.1% a week earlier). President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating has fallen to 72.1% on average for a week (the previous week he was supported by 77.1%).

Sociologists attribute the ratings plummet to the recent resonant events - higher gasoline prices and the announcement of increasing retirement age. The president's approval rating has not decreased to such a level since December 2013, Vedomosti reports. Following the annexation of the Crimea, more and more people supported the Head of state.

Between late May and early June, the approval rating of the President stood at 77.3%, the Prime Minister - at 43.6%, the government - at 49.7%. In mid-May, the president's activities were approved by 80.3% of the population, the Prime Minister’s ones – by 45.4%, the government’s – by 52.3%.

Nevertheless, Putin, just as before, leads the overall approval rating of Russian politicians: 42% of Russians back him. In mid-May, 47.4% of the polled reported this. Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu ranks second in the list - 16.7% of those surveyed approve him. In mid-May, 20.8% of the people declared their confidence in the Defense Ministry Head. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov takes the third place - 13.7% of respondents approve him, last month the Minister was supported by 16.6% of Russians.

The leader of the disapproval rating is head of the LDPR Vladimir Zhirinovsky - 30.3% of the polled said they would not entrust him with the resolution of crucial state matters. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev comes second: 20.5% of Russians do not support him. In the middle of May, 17.9% of the residents spoke about mistrust of the Head of the Cabinet. The third in the rating is the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Gennady Zyuganov - 11.3% of Russians reported their lack of confidence in him.

The approval ratings of the State Duma and Federation Council in May were 47.2% and 50.7%.

The electoral rating of the United Russia party, according to a survey conducted between June 11 and 17, amounted to 45.9%. The CPRF’s rating is 11.8%, the Liberal Democratic Party’s - 9.5%, A Just Russia’s - 4.9%.

The Head of the practice of political analysis and consulting of VTsIOM, Mikhail Mamonov, commenting on the results of the poll, remarked that the increased negative indicators regarding government institutions, especially the government, was recorded as early as between late May and early June. The reason for the rating dips was increased gasoline prices and "the lack of prompt and adequate, in the opinion of Russians, government's response to this situation," he said.

The second factor for sharpened criticism of the population was the announcement of the pension reform. Since the mechanisms for implementing the reform have not been clarified, there is opposition to the issue, a sociologist explained, noting the common trend of increased requests to the Head of state after the elections. In his opinion, the further development of the situation will hinge on the effectiveness of the government's measures to control gasoline prices and the information campaign on clarifying the pension reform.

The poll titled VTsIOM-sputnik was conducted in between May and June 2018. 7000 people in 80 regions of Russia were surveyed.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced the government's decision to raise the retirement age on June 14. As it was reported, the reform will be implemented on a step-by-step basis - since the beginning of next year for the next 15 years. As a result, the retirement age in Russia will increase by five years for men - to 65 years, and by eight years for women - to 63 years. The decision triggered fierce public criticism, some political forces, including the non-system opposition, announced their intention to organize protests against the pension reform.

Between May and early June, retail gasoline prices in Russia have exceeded 41, 42 and 43 rubles per liter. In late May the government decided to reduce excises on motor fuel and agreed with the largest oil companies on the temporary fixation of fuel prices.

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