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Zubkovs Rating Rise After a Week

Published: September 21, 2007 (Issue # 1308)


The news that Viktor Zubkov had been promoted to the job of prime minister caught kremlinologists by surprise. But according to a recent poll, the former head of the Federal Financial Monitoring Service who was hitherto an obscure figure to most ordinary Russians, is already enjoying a staggering approval rating. Forty percent of St. Petersburgers polled by the Agency for Social Information on Sept.14-16 said they trusted Zubkov. By comparison, Sergei Mironov, head of the Council of Federation, is trusted by 36.9 percent of respondents, and State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov enjoys a 41.1 percent trust rating.

The same poll shows that 53 percent of those questioned hold a positive opinion about the efficiency of former prime minister Mikhail Fradkovs government. At the same time, 50.3 percent of respondents reacted positively to Viktor Zubkovs appointment as the new prime minister. Only 12 percent of those polled were negative about Zubkovs promotion.

The high trust in Zubkov demonstrated by so many people was not built on any knowledge about his activities, said Roman Mogilevsky, head of the Agency for Social Information. Rather, it is a sign of how impressive is the trust in President Putin, the man behind the appointment. The high rating really refers to the mechanism of appointment itself.

Maria Matskevich, a senior researcher with the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said embarrassment among political analysts and pundits over Zubkovs appointment was enormous.

Not a single kremlinologist had ever mentioned his name in any forecasts. Putins move shows that decision-making process in Russia is not the slightest bit transparent, Matskevich said. The analysts do not have enough information about those who govern us to be able to predict their next possible steps. Those forecasts we do get are rapidly losing their credibility.

But what some analysts find frustrating, their counterpart Valentin Bianki, a researcher in political psychology at St. Petersburg State University, attempts to interpret as Putins political flexibility.

When Putin appointed Anatoly Serdyukov as Russian Defense Minister six months ago, the president apparently had not thought of putting [Serdyukovs father-in law] Viktor Zubkov forward as prime minister; it would not have been logical, Bianki said. Yes, the figure of Zubkov seems to destroy the popular theory of some sort of secret plot to transfer power and indicates that important decisions can be made spontaneously in Russia. But this can only be a positive symptom.

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Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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