Vladimir Putin’s approval rating is 89 percent

Vladimir Putin is one popular man. In a poll conducted late this month, Putin’s approval rating stands at 89 percent, a new record.

Putin’s popularity with the Russian people first made a dramatic leap upwards after the annexation of Crimea in March 2014. Since Russian troops invaded the Ukrainian territory, the President’s approval rating has been steadily increasing.

This is interesting given that the Russian economy is struggling, the Western opinion of Russia is deteriorating, and sanctions have been in place for a year.

The answer to why Putin’s rating is so high is most likely nationalism.

Many here say that the West took advantage of Russia’s post-Soviet weakness in the 1990s to disregard the Kremlin’s opinion in affairs in countries that Russia had long considered its strategic orbit. The events of the past year in Ukraine, these Russians say, have made their nation feared in the world again, and therefore more respected.

So any attention is good attention? According to the Russian people, yes, yes it is.

It should be mentioned that this is Russia, and while the poll was conducted by the Levada Center, the only independent polling agency in the country, it is not the same as a poll conducted in a free, democratic state.

Some critics of Russian opinion polls – even independent ones such as those from the Levada Center – say they have little value in a society where the government has a near-monopoly on information and no real political rivals.

Well, that makes sense. I would probably lie if the government could throw me in prison based on my political opinions. Even so, it is likely that Putin is still a popular guy. I just wonder what happened to the other 11 percent who chose option B.

[Washington Post] [Bloomberg] [Image via Maxim Shipenkov /Pool photo]