Many residents of the Kemerovo region have already given up on the presidential vote.
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A new person is unlikely – 65-year-old Putin is the overwhelming favorite in Russia's March 18 presidential vote. But the dim view taken by former supporters such as Chekh is notable in a city like Novokuznetsk, part of the Kemerovo region in southwestern Siberia where Putin tallied 77 percent of the vote in 2012 .If Putin's 18 years in power have induced apathy and a sense of helplessness among Russian voters, that's the big issue in Navalny's view.Of seven residents approached by an AP reporter, only four said they supported Putin.A survey by the independent polling agency Levada Center suggests that enthusiasm for Putin is in decline countrywide. It found that 51 percent of those questioned said they were tired of waiting for Putin to bring "positive change," 10 percentage points higher than a year ago.Many of those who showed up at the Novokuznetsk rally say Putin does have support there, but nowhere near as overwhelmingly as the last election figures indicated.Navalny told the Associated Press after the rally that he is encouraged by the warm reception he is seeing in Russia's regions.Sergei Maslyukov, 40, watched his daughter slide off a mammoth mound of snow on Novokuznetsk's main square. He did not go to Navalny's rally Saturday and has not heard much about the popular activist.
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