Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval rating has soared to a historical peak of 89.9% on the back of his proclaimed anti-terror campaign in Syria, according to a new poll.
The rating broke the last record of 89.1% registered in June 2015 as the Kremlin boss continues to defy Western opinion and sanctions over Ukraine and asserts Russia's position on the world stage.
The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), which conducted both surveys, said "such a high rating of approval of the Russian president is primarily connected with events in Syria, Russian airstrikes at terrorist positions".
The former KGB agent's rating has exceeded 80% for the last two years, driven largely by foreign policy that incurred EU and US sanctions and brought the level of relations with the West to their lowest ebb since the Cold War. Putin came to power in 2000 after Boris Yeltsin resigned as president.
"Putin’s rating started growing in spring 2014 against the backdrop of Russia’s reunification with Crimea and Sevastopol. In March 2014, the rating stood at 76.2% on average, in April - at 82.2%, and in May - at 86.2%," noted the sociologists, who conducted the poll on October 17-18 among 1,600 people from 130 Russian cities.
Putin's image is now so strong that he is regarded as a brand in his own right, surpassed in Russia only by Yandex, Europe's most valuable internet company.
In a survey conducted in Russia in July by the branding agency Landor, 100% of respondents assigned the following character traits to the 63-year-old president: "Distinctive, cutting edge, leader, energetic, estimable, reliable, straightforward, superior and trustworthy."