Wednesday, September 06, 2006

[russia] putin's approval rating high

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday for the first ever visit to South Africa by a Kremlin leader, a foreign ministry spokesperson said.

The president’s plane landed at the Cape Town airport, and the visit is to begin with talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki. The Interfax news agency also said that Putin will then meet with the country’s parliamentary officials and with the vice president, and will afterwards hold talks with the chairman of the De Beers diamond corporation, Nicholas Oppenheimer. The Russian and South African presidents will also attend a bilateral business forum.

The visit is expected to be crowned by the signing of a treaty of friendship and partnership between Russia and South Africa. The key issue on the agenda of the visit is further economic cooperation with the Republic of South Africa. Putin is being accompanied by a large group of Russian businessmen, among them Vnesheconombank head Vladimir Dmitriyev, Renova Group Chairman Viktor Vekselberg and Alrosa diamond monopoly president Alexander Nichiporuk.

As many as 51 percent of Russians would vote for President Vladimir Putin if they were to elect their leader this Sunday, the latest public opinion survey has revealed, according the Russian news agency Interfax. The poll was held by the Public Opinion Foundation across 63 Russian regions July 29 — 30.

6 percent of the 3,000 respondents said they would vote for Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov; 5 percent would support Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the Liberal Democratic Party; 2 percent would cast ballots for Russian Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu; and 2 percent for First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, seen by observers as the most likely successor to Putin; and 1 percent for Deputy Prime Minister, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.

Eighty-six percent of Russians are positive about Putin’s work, compared to 9 percent who disapprove of his performance. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they trusted Putin, and only 12 percent said they do not. When asked to name a Russian politician who could be trusted, 35 percent of respondents named Putin, 12 percent Zhirinovsky and 7 percent Shoigu.