A new poll put the popularity of Russia's leaders Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin at an eight-month low - but United Russia deputy Sergei Markov blamed the weather for the news.
Support for Putin fell from a mid-October peak of 72 per cent to 65 per cent on November 22, while Medvedev rated 54 per cent approval, down from 62, according to a Public Opinion Foundation poll.
Markov shrugged off the report as a symptom of November's miserable weather, telling Reuters: "They'll get better again in May when the sun comes out."
But other analysts saw signs of cracks in Russia's political stability if the leadership found itself under a cloud.
Nikolai Petrov, of Moscow Carnegie Centre, said: "This is extremely serious for the government. In the absence of any stable political institutions, Putin's popularity is the foundation of the country's political stability."