VTsIOM: Putin has highest ever results in annual Russian elite rating

Russian President Vladimir Putin heads the annual domestic elite rating of the All Russian Center for Public Opinion Studies (VTsIOM) for the tenth consecutive year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin heads the annual domestic elite rating of the All Russian Center for Public Opinion Studies (VTsIOM) for the tenth consecutive year.

Every year, VTsIOM sociologists ask Russian citizens to name ten people who, in their opinion, are the most outstanding representatives of the Russian elite and are most notable for their services to Russia today. Respondents to such a survey can name political figures, civil servants, governors, business people, military officials, clergymen, scientists, people in arts occupations, athletes, journalists, etc.

According to the center's poll, this year a record high percentage of respondents (88 percent) gave the first place in this rating to President Putin, as compared with 66 percent in 2013.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev came in third (36 percent) in last year's rating, but this year he is in second place (28 percent). Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu follows Medvedev with 26 percent of support, as compared with 43 percent in 2013.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov significantly improved his standing this year by securing 21 percent of support, as compared with 8 percent in 2013. Businessman Mikhail Prokhorov's rating declined from 13 percent in 2013 to a mere 4 percent in 2014.

The top ten representatives of Russia's elite also include Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky (11 percent), Communist Party chairman Gennady Zyuganov (8 percent), film director Nikita Mikhalkov (7 percent), singer Iosif Kobzon (7 percent), and TV presenter Andrei Malakhov (7 percent).

They are followed by Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko (6 percent), presidential chief of staff Sergei Ivanov (6 percent), Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia (6 percent), Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin (4 percent), composer Igor Krutoy (4 percent), pop singer Filipp Kirkorov (4 percent), actor Dmitry Nagiyev (3 percent), figure skater Yevgeny Plyushchenko (3 percent), journalist Vladimir Solovyev (3 percent), and Chechnya's head Ramzan Kadyrov (3 percent).

TV presenter Maxim Galkin, composer Alexandra Pakhmutova, actress Alisa Freindlikh, singer Nikolai Baskov, TV presenter Ivan Urgant, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin, A Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov, and St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko were each mentioned by 2 percent of respondents.

Other participants in this rating, among them Olympic figure skating gold medalist Yulia Lipnitskaya, ice hockey player Alexander Ovechkin, figure skating coach Tatyana Tarasova, opera singer Anna Netrebko, film director Stanislav Govorukhin, and actor Mikhail Boyarsky, were each named by less than 1 percent of respondents.

The survey was conducted in 46 Russian regions on December 13-14 and involved 1,600 people.

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