Most Muscovites don't believe the campaign promises of ultranationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and don't want him as prime minister, according to a poll released Friday.
Before Russia's Dec. 12 parliamentary elections, Zhirinovsky promised if his party won power, Russian men would get cheaper vodka, Russian women would get better lingerie and the nation would rise up and rebuild its empire.Voters responded by casting more ballots for Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party than for any other party or coalition. But it was not clear whether they really believed Zhirinovsky, or voted for him to protest the painful economic policies - and colorless campaigning - of President Boris Yeltsin's supporters.
The poll of Muscovites released Friday by the Mnenie (Opinion) research service lends support to the protest vote theory. It may not be representative of Russia as a whole, however, because Zhirinovsky's party was more popular in the provinces than in major cities.
Two-thirds of the 1,223 Moscow residents questioned by telephone last week said they did not believe Zhirinovsky could fulfill his promises. Just 10 percent said they thought he could, and 23 percent weren't sure.
Most Moscow residents apparently don't think Zhirinovsky should hold real power. More than 71 percent said they would not want him to become prime minister.
Top Russian officials, including Economics Minister Yegor Gaidar, have labeled Zhirinovsky a "fascist" and compared him to Hitler and Mussolini.