More than half of Russians want President Vladimir Putin to continue serving in the post after his current six-year term finishes in 2024, the country's largest independent pollster revealed.
Putin was inaugurated to his fourth term as president this year. The constitution would have to be amended for him to keep the helm in 2024 because it would be the end of a second-consecutive term. Putin would be 71.
"There are no successors. People are viewing this pragmatically," the pollster's director, Lev Gudkov, said in comments carried by the Vedomosti newspaper.
The spectre of political change evokes a fear of instability, he said, and Putin is seen as "preserving the status quo."
Fifty-one per cent of respondents to the nationwide poll, conducted last month, said they would prefer Putin to remain president, while only 27 per cent said they would prefer otherwise.
More than half of respondents have wanted Putin to remain president since 2014, when the indicator jumped from 33 per cent the previous year to 58 per cent, pollster Levada Centre said in a statement on its website.
Russia in 2014 annexed neighbouring Ukraine's Crimea region and then supported a pro-Russian rebellion in Ukraine's east, in response to Ukraine ousting its pro-Russian president.
Western powers have widely condemned Russia for those actions, and relations with Ukraine have plummeted to an all-time low. Patriotism surged in the face-off with the West.
"The effect of the Crimea mobilisation is ending," Gudkov said, "but that was slowed down by the presidential campaign and a new inflation of support."
Australian Associated Press