Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Medvedev promises new arms, while approval of his government’s course hits 13-year-low

45 percent of Russians believe their county is moving in a wrong direction, a new opinion poll by independent Levada Centre tells.
February 03, 2019

Levada has made similar opinion polls since 1999 and not since 2006 have so many said the country is on the wrong path. 42 percent believes “things are going in the right direction” while 13 percent thinks its difficult to answer the question, Levada’s annual overview shows.

President Putin’s approval ratings are also dropping, from 80 percent in 2018 to 64 percent in late January this year. Dmitry Medvedev’s popularity is now down to 33 percent, which is all time low for him in position as Prime Minister.

Russians are increasingly concerned about their government’s performances. Here from a cold winter-day in Murmansk. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

The share of Russians who blame the Russian government for things going wrong has increased by 10 percent since last year. 61 percent disapprove the work of the government, the poll.

The poll shows a growing number of people blame Putin and Medvedev for falling household incomes, increased retirement age and higher costs for food and living.

Pensioner studies food prices. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

A challenge in times of domestic economic trouble for ordinary people, is how to find new funds for new weapons as tensions with the US and Europe are rising. 

Medvedev on Sunday promised to provide more money for new weapons. The statement comes in response to the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty (INF treaty) and response steps announced by Putin on Saturday.

In a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, Vladimir Putin said Russia would do the same as the US: “They said that they are engaged in research, development and design work, and we will do the same,” Putin said according to the transcripts posted by Kremlin.

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Putin said new missiles would be deployed. “I agree with the Defense Ministry’s proposal to create a land-based version of the Kalibr launchers and work on a new project to develop a land-based hypersonic intermediate-range missile.”

Putin, however, underlined that new weapon-systems should be developed within existing budget allocations to the Defense Ministry.

Sergey Shoigu said his ministry would propose adjustments to the 2019 budget in order not to exceed existing budget limits.

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