One in six Russians more negative on Putin after Navalny palace video, poll says

Reuters
Moscow, Russia Published: Feb 08, 2021, 09:16 PM(IST)

Alexei Navalny and Vladimir Putin Photograph:( AFP )

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Businessman Arkady Rotenberg, Putin`s former judo partner, said the palace was his after Putin told students that the palace did not belong to him or his family.

One in six Russian adults takes a dimmer view of President Vladimir Putin after watching a video investigation by jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny that links a luxury palace to the Russian leader, an opinion poll indicated on Monday.

The video, which focuses on a sprawling palace in southern Russia that boasts its own theatre, ice-hockey stadium, and casino, has clocked up 110 million views on YouTube since it was released on Jan. 19 and has been used by Navalny`s allies to encourage people to take part in anti-Kremlin protests.

Businessman Arkady Rotenberg, Putin`s former judo partner, said the palace was his after Putin told students that the palace did not belong to him or his family.

A poll released on Monday by the Levada Center, which is not affiliated with the authorities, found 26% of adult Russians - or one in four - had watched Navalny`s investigation, while 31% had not heard of it.

Seventeen percent of those surveyed said their opinion of Putin had changed for the worse after watching it, though 77% said their view of him had not altered.

The same poll, part of which was released last Thursday, had Putin`s approval rating holding steady at 64%.

Russians were split on the veracity of the palace allegations, Monday`s findings showed. One third said they were sure they were not true, 38% said it looked like they were true but it was hard to evaluate, and 17% said they were sure they were true.

Leonid Volkov, a Navalny ally, hailed the findings.

"When people watch, it works," Volkov wrote on Twitter. "17% of those who watched it saying they took a more negative view of Putin is a lot. We are talking about millions of people. It`s a battle - in a direct sense - for Russians` minds."

The Kremlin has dismissed the video as nonsense and as part of a scam to get people to make donations to Navalny`s allies.

Navalny was jailed this month over parole allegations he denied in a criminal case he said was trumped up to stymie his political ambitions.

Navalny allies have put anti-Kremlin protests on hold for now until warmer weather and say they are focused on trying to achieve a breakthrough at parliamentary elections in the autumn.

The Levada poll, conducted among 1,616 adults across the country, was carried out from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2.

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