Almost half of young people in Russia disapprove of President Vladimir Putin’s performance, according to a poll by the independent Levada Center published Thursday.
Some 46% of Russians aged 18-24 said they did not approve of Putin — a sharp rise from the 31% who said the same last year.
The results are the latest sign that Russia’s younger generation has increasingly turned away from the Kremlin, Levada Center director Lev Gudkov told the Open Media news website.
“The pandemic became a tipping point for irritation that had already been accumulating,” he said. “It’s also due to Alexei Navalny, indignation at his arrest and the success of his film about Putin,” he added, referring to Navalny’s investigation into the $1.5 billion palace allegedly built for Putin that has been watched more than 108 million times on YouTube.
Putin’s net approval rating — the difference between those who approve and disapprove of his performance — among 18-24 year olds now stands at +5, down from +60 three years ago.
The president enjoys stronger support among older Russians, with his approval increasing with each subsequent age group. Overall, the Levada Center found 64% of Russians approved of the president while 34% disapproved — unchanged from his score in the previous October 2020 poll.
But in a separate question, Levada found that the president’s trust rating — the proportion of Russians who unprompted named Putin as the politician they most trust in the country — slipped from 34% in October to 29%.
Navalny was named by 5% of respondents, ranking behind Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and the nationalist leader of the Liberal Democrats Vladimir Zhirinovsky, as well as Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
But social scientists and analysts caution that getting an accurate reading on public support for the Kremlin critic is difficult.
Levada conducted the survey among 1,616 respondents from 50 regions between Jan. 29-Feb. 2.