The Russian people regard Vladimir Putin's foreign policy achievements as his main success as president, according to the results of a poll carried out by the Public Opinion foundation. In particular, the respondents were satisfied with the facts that the president 'is improving relations with Europe,' 'is resurrecting ties with former Soviet republics,' 'is opposing war in Iraq,' and has managed to 'raise Russia's status in the world.' In addition, 12% noted Putin's social policy achievements. Among these, particular mention was given to raising the pay of public sector workers and state pensions. 'On the whole, people have begun to live better,' those questioned said.
12% of people named the 'endless' war in Chechnya as Putin's biggest failure. 8% of those polled criticised his social policies (a year ago the corresponding figure was 4%). They said that in Russia 'there are a lot of beggars,' 'there is unemployment all around,' 'no attention is paid to the social sector,' and 'military personal are paid peanuts.'
Around 66% of Russians believe that Putin is aware of the current mood of society. Among people with a higher education this figure rises to 72%. A quarter of people (26%) believe that Putin is not in touch with the public mood. This opinion is expressed most often by rural inhabitants (32%). 53% of those questioned believe that Putin's actions are governed first and foremost by Russia public opinion. However, 29% believe that 'Russian public opinion is not the most important thing for Putin.' This position is most commonly held by Communist Party supporters.
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