The poll by the independent Levada Center said Putin won the accolade from 26 percent of respondents, RIA Novosti reported Saturday.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was second with 7 percent.
Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden tied with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for third place with 4 percent each.
Former Yukos oil head Mikhail Khodorkovsky, pardoned by Putin last week, was chosen by 3 percent of those polled.
The poll was conducted Dec. 20-24 among 1,603 people age 18 and older in 45 Russian regions. The margin of error was 3.4 percent.
A recent poll by the state-run Russian Public Opinion Research Center found Putin was the most popular politician of the year, with 40 percent of those asked ranking him at the top.