Most Russians Want Medvedev's Government to Resign, Poll Shows

(Bloomberg) -- More than half of Russians want Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s government to resign amid discontent over declining living standards, according to a survey by the independent Levada Center.

Some 53 percent support the removal of the government, the first time a majority has backed dismissal, the poll published Monday on Levada’s website showed.

Medvedev’s cabinet is unable to tackle rising prices and falling incomes, according to 57 percent of respondents, while 46 percent said the government can’t provide people with jobs. The Dec. 13-19 survey of 1,600 people had a margin of error no greater than 3.4 percentage points.

Amid growing public pessimism over economic prospects since late 2017, people see that “the government doesn’t change anything and even Putin doesn’t change the situation,” said Denis Volkov, a researcher at Levada. Even so, support for President Vladimir Putin started sliding only recently, and he’s likely to weather public anger sparked by an unpopular pensions reform “because there simply isn’t anyone else,” he said.

Putin has shown no sign of unhappiness with the government, saying at his annual press conference last month that he was “overall” satisfied with Medvedev’s team. Having soared above 80 percent following the 2014 annexation of Crimea, the president’s own rating has taken a hit in recent months as Russians have felt the pinch from rising inflation and sluggish economic growth after the longest recession this century. A separate Levada poll published last month found that 55 percent of Russians blamed Putin for the rising cost of living and other problems in the country.

After he won a record 77 percent support and a fourth term in March presidential elections, Putin’s approval rating fell to its lowest in more than seven years in September as he pushed through an increase in the pension age by five years for men and women. Public trust in Putin fell to 39 percent in that month from 48 percent in June, according to Levada.

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