According to a recent public opinion poll, there are many people in the UK still asking the question: Who is Putin?
Alexander Oslon, the president of the Public Opinion foundation, yesterday gave a press conference devoted to the results of a poll carried out in Britain. The poll, which precedes President Vladimir Putin's to the UK, sought to establish what British people think about Russia. In Oslon's opinion, British people hold a very strong Soviet stereotype of Russians.
25% of British people think of the cold, snow, fur hats and warm clothes when they think of Russia; another 21% think of Communism, Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky. Around 13% associate Russia with long queues and poverty, and 8% with Moscow, the Kremlin, drunkenness and vodka. A superpower and space programmes were both named by 4% of those polled, as were literature and art. A large number of Brits (24%) think of the typical Russian as being poor. 11% thought of workers, 10% thought Russians were friendly, and 2% saw them as drunkards.
The most famous Russian among those polled was Stalin (named by 32%). Mikhail Gorbachev was named by 29% of people, Lenin by 25%, Vladimir Putin by 15%, Yuri Gagarin by 9% and Chaikovsky by 8%. Lev Tolstoy and Boris Yeltsin were each named by 7% of respondents, while 6% mentioned Rasputin and 5% Brezhnev. Less that half of Brits (45%) know that Vladimir Putin is President of Russia, while 50% were unable to provide an answer. Gorbachev and Yeltsin were each named by 2% of those polled.
In reply to the question: 'What does the name Vladimir Putin bring to mind?' 13% said he was a good leader, 8% said he was a good president for Russia, 8% said he was trained by the KGB, 5% said he was cruel and 4% said he was honest. Around 2% of British people think Putin is a bad leader.
The poll was carried out by the MORI organisation in partnership with the All-Russian Centre for Public Opinion Research.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused to go to the 77th UN General Assembly in September