The majority of Russians have no confidence in President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to tackle corruption, according to a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center.
While the majority of Russians trust the country’s strongman leader when it comes to world affairs, the economy and energy policy, his approval rating for dealing with corruption has slipped from 62% to 49% over the course of the last two years, the poll showed.
Overall, 58% of respondents said they felt political corruption is a major problem for the country, ahead of terrorism (54%), crime (52%) and corrupt business leaders (50%).
In all, almost 90% of Russians believe corrupt political leaders pose a problem for the country at some level.
As well as viewing the issue of corruption as more problematic than younger Russians, older Russians are also less satisfied with Putin’s handling of the issue, Pew found.
Fewer than half (46%) of those aged 50 and above approve of Putin’s handling of corruption, compared with 57% of 18 to 29 year-olds.
Speaking with the Washington Post, Margaret Vice, a Senior Researcher at the Pew Research Center, said: “Our data indicate that although Russians have a high level of confidence in their President when it comes to global affairs, they nevertheless point to serious problems within their country that affect their daily life.
“Corruption is also Russians’ second-top concern, second only to rising prices, with almost 9 in 10 saying corrupt political leaders pose a problem for Russia.”
The poll involved 1,002 respondents, and was conducted across Russia from 18 February to 3 April.
A separate study conducted back in March by the Levada Center revealed that 65% of Russians described corruption as absolutely unacceptable.
Publication of the Pew study comes after a string of anti-corruption demonstrations in a number of Russian cities this year, the latest of which took place earlier this month.
Coordinated by leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny, the protests were intended as a direct challenge to Putin’s leadership ahead of the country’s presidential elections in 2018
Navalny, who hopes to stand against Putin next year, has been arrested and charged on a number of occasions for organising unauthorised demonstrations and embezzlement, making it possible he will not be allowed to participate in the poll.
Under Russian law, anybody convicted of a crime cannot stand for public office. Navalny claims his convictions have all been politically motivated.
At the end of last month, a court ordered Navalny to take down a YouTube video that accused Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of running a secret property empire, backed and facilitated by a number of wealthy cronies.
In the video, Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Committee claimed it had seen evidence that Medvedev had used his alleged empire to accept bribes.