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The Russian authorities have seen widespread public dissatisfaction for the first time this year
The Russian authorities have seen widespread public dissatisfaction for the first time this year, a leading pollster told the political daily Vremya Novostei. Vladimir Petukhov, head of the analytical department of the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center, VTsIOM, says almost a third of Russians are ready to take part in mass demonstrations. However, they do not want to politicize their protests: not a single political force has managed to front the public discontent, and political parties are simply ignored. Sociologists say the polls for the first six months of 2005 show that public confidence in political parties is at an all time low. The general public is not entirely sure what the parties are doing for the country. Even prosecutors, the courts and the security structures enjoy higher levels of public confidence. VTsIOM says there is a gap of more than 20% between the ratings of the pro-government party United Russia and the Communist Party. After 18 months out of the parliament, the ratings of the democratic parties Yabloko and SPS have plummeted. Experts say that the problem faced by the political opposition forces is a lack of new faces and ideas. Yet society does need a political opposition. "The number of people who want to vote, but do not know who to vote for, is growing fast," says VTsIOM's director general Valery Fyodorov. Polls show that the public rates Mikhail Fradkov's government even lower than Mikhail Kasyanov's government. The government's image is being tarnished by economic ineffectiveness and publicly aired internal conflicts. Russians think the prime minister is incapable of formulating a common government strategy. Sociologists say that at present politicians and journalists are much more interested in the 2008 presidential elections than ordinary Russians, and that the outcome will depend primarily on the social situation in Russia
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