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70% of Russians See Trump as Competent President

John Minchillo / AP

More than 70% of Russians believe that new U.S. President Donald Trump will be a competent head of state, a survey by state-backed pollster VTsIOM has revealed. 

Some 40 percent of respondents had high expectations for President Trump, while another 31 percent believed that he would be at least an "average" leader. Only 4 percent said that they believed that Trump would make a bad president. 

Trump's positive ratings contrasted sharply with views on former U.S. President Barack Obama, with 81 percent of Russians claiming to rate his work negatively. The figures show a marked shift since 2010, when 56 percent of Russians saw Obama's work positively.

Despite a general positive attitude toward the new U.S. administration, 55 percent of respondents opposed reducing Russia's nuclear stockpile in return for the cancellation of sanctions U.S. Trump had floated the possibility of weakening U.S. sanctions in return for the Kremlin scrapping nuclear warheads during an interview on Jan. 16. 

Even more Russians were opposed to the idea of extraditing ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the United States, with 71 percent of respondents rallying against the idea. Snowden first obtained temporary residency in Russia after fleeing the United States in 2014, but recently had his residency permit extended to 2020. 

The poll was carried out with 1,800 respondents between Jan. 20-22. The margin of error does not exceed 2.5 percent. 

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