Vladimir Putin's popularity back at 82% high

Vladimir Putin's popularity back at 82% high
Russian president Vladimir Putin's popularity returned to 82% in July
By bne IntelliNews July 27, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin's popularity has returned to its historical high of 82%, according to independent pollster the Levada Center, after dipping briefly to 80% in May.


Putin has been riding high on his various successes in his stand-off with the US over Ukraine's future and his short but sharp military campaign in Syria last year. More recently he scored another success after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan capitulated in an eight-month row with Russia after the shooting down of a Russian bomber on the Turkey-Syrian border in November. Erdogan was forced to eat humble pie and apologise for the incident under economic pressure from Russian imposed sanctions and the now manifest death of Turkey's aspiration to ever join the European Union (EU).

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also saw a slight uptick in his approval rating, which rose to 51% as of July but is still down from the 58% he enjoyed at the start of this year. Medvedev is nominally responsible for the government's work and gaffed in June by admitting in televised remarks to a pensioner in Crimea that "We have no money", and that the government could not index pensions to inflation.

In good news for the Kremlin, the approval of both the government and the regional governors was up in June to 51% and 55%, respectively. With parliamentary elections coming up in September, that bodes well for the Kremlin's ambition to reinstate its proxy "party of power", United Russian, with a clear majority. As Russia has changed its voting system, a party that wins some 35% of the vote will likely get more than half the seats after the votes cast for those parties that fail to pass the 7% threshold to enter parliament are redistributed to the winners.

The strong showing of the governors is especially important as regional battles will be more important in this election than in the last due to the changes in the voting system that makes less use of party list and places more emphasis on single-mandate seats.

Finally, unlike all the other poll results above, approval of the State Duma remains disapproval, with 58% unhappy with the performance of the lower house of parliament against 42% that think it is doing a good job. The approval rating is also down on the start of the year when it stood at 45%.