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Half of Russians now say Vladimir Putin is responsible for the country's problems, according to new poll

For only the third time in Putin’s presidency, more than half the country currently holds him responsible for Russia’s problems and the rising cost of living, according to a new poll by the Levada Center. Late last month, 55 percent of the country said Putin is to blame for these trends. (Sociologists recorded previous spikes in August 2012, at 51 percent, and in August 2014, at 65 percent.)

Only 37 percent of the country says Putin’s cabinet is responsible for the nation’s problems, 21 percent blame Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev specifically, 13 percent blame the governors and local officials, and just five percent blame big business.

Ironically, the same number of Russians — 55 percent — also credit Putin with the country’s economic success and rising prosperity. Just 13 percent attribute this progress to his cabinet and only four percent credit Medvedev.

Nearly two thirds of Russians say they doubt the country is likely to see mass protests against falling living standards or political repression, though 30 percent of the Levada Center’s respondents claimed that they’re currently ready to join demonstrations. Eighty percent of Russians say they’ve noticed protests in their neighborhoods in the past three months.

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