Public trust in President Vladimir Putin has fallen to its lowest level in 13 years, according to a Russian state pollster.
The new figures will be considered a setback for the Kremlin, which works hard to burnish Putin’s image as a wise father-of-the-nation-style leader.
The poll, by the Public Opinion Research Centre, found that trust in Putin had fallen to 33.4 percent, its lowest level since 2006, according to Reuters news agency.
The results do not pose an immediate problem for the President, who won a landslide election victory and a new six-year mandate in March last year, but could embolden would-be successors to begin what is likely to be a long game of jostling for position.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin, 66, donned ice hockey gear in December for an exhibition match in Moscow’s Red Square, playing with fellow politicians and sports stars
According to Russian state broadcaster NTV, Putin scored the first goal in a 14-10 win
In November Russian leader Vladimir Putin greeted the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman, with great affection at the G20 in Argentina
Putin’s overall approval rating, which is different from his trust rating, is still high at just over 60 percent.
That too however has slipped from a peak of nearly 90 percent amid dismay over falling household incomes and unpopular government moves to raise the retirement age and hike value added tax.
Putin’s trust rating hit a high of 71 percent in July 2015 after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea the previous year.
On the eve of last year’s presidential election, it stood at 55.3 percent. Since then, it has dropped sharply, falling to 38.3 percent three months later, ending 2018 at 36.5 percent.
Putin remains far more trusted than any other politician in Russia however, the same poll showed.
The second and third most trusted politicians in the poll were Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who received trust ratings of 13.7 percent and 9.3 percent respectively.