MOSCOW – Russian citizens have named Prime Minister Vladimir Putin the political figure of 2011, football player Andrei Arshavin the athlete of the year, and Sergei Bezroukov the best actor of the year, sociologists of the All Russian Center for Public Opinion Studies (VTsIOM) told Interfax on Tuesday.

38% of people interviewed in December described Putin as the political figure of the year, as compared with 60% in 2008. 19% of respondents named President Dmitry Medvedev, 8% named Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, 7% named Communist Party chairman Ghennady Ziuganov, 5% named A Just Russia Party leader Sergei Mironov, and 5% named businessman Mikhail Prokhorov.

Arsenal London FC and Russian national team player Andrei Arshavin was the athlete of the year for the fourth time in a row, although his rating declined from 18% in 2008 to 5% in 2011. He is followed by heavyweight mixed martial arts fighter Fyodor Yemelianenko (4%), biathlete Olga Zaitzeva (4%), and former two-time WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuyev (4%), who was elected to Russia's State Duma in December.

Like a year ago, Sergei Bezroukov was named by respondents the best actor of the year (9%). He is followed by Maksim Averin (4%) and Yevgeny Mironov (4%).

Boris Akunin (3%) and Darya Dontzova (3%) were the best writers of the year for the second time in a row. Top-selling detective author Tatiana Ustinova came in second with 2%.

Russia's best musicians of 2011 were Filipp Kirkorov (11% compared to 8% the year before), Nikolai Baskov (8%) and Stas Mikhailov (8%).