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Ruling Tandem's Approval Rating Falling, Poll Says

According to a new poll published Thursday, the approval ratings of President Vladimir Putin and his protege, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, have fallen over the past seven months.

Putin's approval rating is down from 69 percent in May to 63 percent in November, and Medvedev's from 64 percent to 54 percent over the same period, according to statistics posted on the independent Levada Center's website.

The poll, which surveyed 1,596 people over 18 years of age across 45 Russian regions, also showed that the public's opinion of the State Duma has worsened over the past month. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they were unhappy with the country's lower house, compared with 57 percent in October.

While the approval rating of recently appointed Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has risen from 11 percent in October to 16 percent in November, 24 percent of those surveyed said they do not trust any politicians at all, and 44 percent think that the country is heading in the wrong direction, up 11 percent since May.

But it appears that Russian citizens trust opposition leaders even less, with only 5 percent expressing faith in businessman and former presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov and 10 percent in Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov.

The Levada Center gave a margin of error of 3.4 percent for the poll.

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