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Russian Poll: Medvedev Still In Putin's Shadow

Dmitry Medvedev (right) with Vladimir Putin -- is he president or just the weakest of a triumvirate?
MOSCOW -- A recent poll has found that only 22 percent of Russians believe President Dmitry Medvedev formulates his policies independently, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The poll was conducted by the Moscow-based Levada Center on May 7, two years after Medvedev took office.

The poll found approximately 70 percent of Russians approve of Medvedev's presidency. But 66 percent of respondents remain convinced that he is under the control of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin -- Medvedev's predecessor as president -- and his entourage.

Lev Gudkov, the director of the Levada Center, said that Medvedev "doesn't come across as an independent politician, despite all the pronouncements about the necessity of modernization, a legal state, the fight against corruption, and so on."

Gudkov added: "People very much like to hear these things, but they hardly believe them. The expectations that Medvedev awakened among the liberally inclined sections of society remain [merely] expectations."

Vladimir Pribylovsky, the head of the Moscow-based think tank Panorama, says that "the main result of Medvedev's tenure in office is that in two years he has not become the president and has remained something like one of the deputy prime ministers under Putin."

"There is no tandem," he said. "There is no 'duumvirate' -- it's a triumvirate: Putin, [influential Deputy Prime Minister Igor] Sechin, and Medvedev. But Medvedev is No. 3, the smaller partner. He's not even second."