Russians are most unhappy with President Vladimir Putin over the unequal distribution of wealth in the country, according to the latest independent Levada Center poll.
Putin, 65, officially assumes office for his fourth term Monday and reportedly plans to kick-start economic growth with a $162 billion increase in spending on healthcare, education and infrastructure in six years. Hundreds of protesters were arrested over the weekend at opposition rallies titled "He's Not Our Tsar," preceding Putin's official inauguration.
Levada’s April survey found that 45 percent of respondents fault Putin for “failing to ensure an equitable distribution of income in the interests of ordinary people,” up from 39 percent in March 2015 when the last survey was conducted.
Putin’s inability to “reimburse the capital lost in the course of reforms to ordinary people” followed as the second most frequent complaint at 39 percent.
Meanwhile, 47 percent of Levada’s respondents credited the president for “returning the status of a great respected power to Russia” and 38 percent lauded him for “stabilizing the situation in the North Caucasus.”
The share of Russians who are unhappy with Putin over low wages, pensions and other benefits doubled from 15 percent to 32 percent in the past three years. Meanwhile, one-quarter of respondents said he is to be thanked for raising pensions and wages.
Levada conducted the survey between April 20 and April 24 among 1,600 people in 52 Russian regions.