2 Years After Luzhkov, Most Muscovites Happy With Sobyanin

Two years after the dismissal of longtime Mayor Yury Luzhkov, Moscow residents appear to be content with the leadership of his successor, Sergei Sobyanin, according to a survey released Monday.

Seventy-one percent of respondents surveyed by VTSIOM, the state-run pollster, said Sobyanin deserved to remain in office, Interfax reported.

His backers are mostly pensioners (66 percent) and United Russia supporters (78 percent), it said.

Moreover, Sobyanin's popularity has grown over the past three months to 56 percent, from a previous 45 percent.

Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov placed a distant second in the poll, at 9 percent. VTsIOM researchers described him as being attractive to those who have been protesting against the Kremlin in recent months.

Sobyanin, a longtime ally of President Vladimir Putin, was appointed mayor in December 2010, two months after Luzhkov was dismissed by then-President Dmitry Medvedev over "a lack of confidence."

He promised to reduce traffic jams, improve Muscovites' quality of life and take measures to fulfill the Kremlin's plan to turn the city into an international financial center.

About half of Moscow residents consider Sobyanin's work satisfactory, a figure that has remained steady for the past year, VTSIOM said.

In addition, 49 percent saw positive developments linked to the mayor's work, an increase from 40 percent a year earlier, it said. Among city authorities' main achievements were improvements in the road transportation system during the past two years and the construction of housing and metro stations.

But VTsIOM researchers said that if Sobyanin wants to further strengthen his popularity, he must address issues of migration, poor road conditions, social problems and the economy.

The Oct. 11-16 survey among 1,200 Moscow residents had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

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