In only three of 25 countries polled in the 2009 Pew Global Attitudes survey — excluding Russia — is the balance of opinion on Russian President Dmitri Medvedev mostly positive. But despite worldwide skepticism of Medvedev, he remains popular at home — though not quite as popular as his predecessor, Vladimir Putin, now prime minister. Strong majorities of Russians express confidence in both their president (76%) and prime minister (81%) to do the right thing in world affairs — but just slightly more express confidence in Putin than in Medvedev. Moreover, the high-profile role Putin appeared to play in international and domestic issues over the last year is reflected in Russian opinions over who is in charge. Almost six-in-ten Russians (58%) believe that Putin has more political power in the country than President Medvedev. Fewer than one-in-five (16%) believe that the president has the most political power, and just about a quarter (23%) volunteered that the two leaders share power together. By contrast, last year following the 2008 presidential election in Russia, roughly half of Russians (48%) expected Putin to have more power than Medvedev. But roughly equal percentages felt either that Medvedev (22%) would be more powerful or volunteered that both (24%) leaders would share their hold on the reins of power. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.