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Putin Named Politician of the Year

President Vladimir Putin has once again taken the title Politician of the Year by a wide margin, a poll published Thursday found.

Forty-four percent of respondents said that Putin was Russia's star politician this year, down from 54 percent in 2012, according to a survey by pollster VTsIOM.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov followed at a distance with 8 percent and 7 percent of the vote, respectively.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the flamboyant leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, came in fourth with 6 percent, maintaining the small but stable following he has demonstrated over the past five years.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev rounded out the top five with 5 percent of the vote, down from 16 percent in 2012. Medvedev's popularity has plummeted from a peak of 37 percent during his presidency in 2010, which was nonetheless below the 55 percent that Putin earned that year.

"All politician's ratings fell this year," said general director of VTsIOM Valery Fyodorov, attributing the drop to "a decline in interest in elections" resulting from the absence of federal elections in 2013, RIA Novosti reported.

The poll was conducted on Dec. 14 and 15 and questioned 1600 people from 130 towns in 42 regions and republics of Russia. The margin of error was 3.4 percent.

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