A poll from the Public Opinion Foundation found Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating is slightly down, but still “extremely high” despite a failing Russian economy.
At least 72 percent of Russians told the company they “would have voted for Putin in August, down from 76 percent in May.” A Levada Center poll revealed that “83 percent of Russians approved of the President’s actions, down from an all-time high of 89 percent in May.”
Putin’s approval rating skyrocketed to 80 percent after he invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea in March 2014. His rating was at 61 percent in November 2013.
But while patriotism remains high, the Russian economy continues on a downward spiral. The U.S. and EU passed numerous sanctions against Russian companies and oligarchs after the invasion. Low oil prices also harm Russia since the country relies on oil and gas.
However, Russians do not blame their own government for their problems. To them, the West caused all of Russia’s problems. Food prices are high and inflation is at 20 percent, but through propaganda and censorship, the Kremlin convinced “Russians that much of their economic pain is a result of Western ‘enemy action’ rather than bad domestic policies.”
“Putin is not perceived as being part of the bureaucracy, but a higher, independent leader who tries to make them work properly,” explained Alexei Grazhdankin, deputy director of the Levada Center. “The mass media does everything to maintain this image, by displaying him inspecting regions, giving instructions officials, prodding them. People see on their own level how things actually work out, but they don’t blame Putin.”
There are no signs of recovery for Russia, either, as “the ruble lost more than 13% of its value against the dollar for the past month.” Analysts state the Bank of Russia “will allow the ruble to weaken to 80 per dollar before selling foreign currency.”