Paul Robinson wrote a post titled ‘Alexei Two Percent‘:
As for Navalny, an opinion poll published by the Levada Centre today gives him almost imperceptible levels of popular support. According to the poll, if a presidential election were held this Sunday in Russia, 48% would vote for Vladimir Putin, 3% for both Zhirinovsky and Zyuganov, and just one percent for Navalny. Several other candidates would also get one percent, while 42% replied that they either don’t know or wouldn’t vote at all.
If you discount this last 42%, then the result of a Russian presidential election this week would be:
Putin – 83%; Zhirinovsky – 5%; Zyuganov – 4%; Navalny – 2%; Others – 6%.
That rather puts into perspective all the recent hype claiming that Navalny has fundamentally altered the Russian political dynamic. It also makes one wonder whether the media has its priorities right.
The Western media, as Paul shows, is clearly obsessed with Alexey Navalny. There’s nothing new here: I would argue that Navalnocentrism is just the other side of Putin’s coin. Nevertheless, showing Navalny as the embodiment of Russia’s non-systemic opposition is more or less true – at least, compared to Nemtsov’s case who became the relatively popular leader of the Russian opposition only after his death.
That said, I have to point out the fact that Navalny’s one or two percent says nothing of his potential and political prospects; so I would advise against taking these numbers too seriously (even if they are completely true). Mind you, Vladimir Putin was unknown to the people when Yeltsin chose him as his preemnik, but Yeltsin’s cunning plan TV-spetsoperatsiya worked miracles for Putin. The rest is istoriya.